UNSURE ABOUT A RECENT CAREER MOVE?

Child knee with an adhesive bandage and bruise.

There seems to be a new trend in town but let’s hope it’s not here to stay.

Over the last few months, the number of candidates that have made a career move but then find themselves in the “wrong” job has dramatically increased. With my lens focused on the accounting and finance world, it surprises me how little attention is paid to the due diligence process, especially- at the senior end. Now I’m a believer that everybody is allowed one bad move but it never fails to amaze me how often the simple things are missed during the recruitment process.

Even in a tight job market, it’s not always in your best interest to accept the first job offer you receive. And what if you’re faced with more than one option? Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to score multiple job offers or maybe you’ve got one offer in hand and another opportunity (or more) that looks promising but is still at interview stage. TAKE NOTE This is a good problem to have, but a dilemma all the same! It’s important to prioritise what is most important to you and evaluate how the offer at hand aligns with your top priorities and the other jobs on the table.

Here are some suggestions for evaluating that job offer and making the “right” decision.

MONEY MONEY MONEY If cash isn’t a key issue for you, you are very fortunate. However, most people find that their financial situation strongly influences their decision making. When evaluating whether to accept a job offer, the money question can be considered in two different ways.

1) Can you afford to pass up an uninspiring offer and wait for something better? If you have been between gigs for a while, it may be necessary to compromise on waiting for your dream job and accept something that will help you pay the bills right now, after all we do live in the most expensive city in the world! If finances are tight, you may also be more likely to consider a less attractive package because some cash flow is better than none. Only you can decide if earning money right away your number one priority.

2) How does the remuneration offered compare to your other options? For every job offer, you must also consider whether the package offered is fair and attractive. Remember it’s not just about the dollars, it’s also about your quality of life. You could have a slightly higher offer for one role, but find that you are working 14 hours a day and have no flexibility around working arrangements, so your hourly rate is actually less than the slightly lower offer with a better work / life balance.

The best time to negotiate is at the offer stage as you’re in the bargaining seat (but don’t push it). Remember the base salary is only part of the equation, you can consider other factors such as holidays, health insurance, bonus, working from home etc. There may also be room to negotiate from the first offer, either for more money or for additional perks. 

THE JOB It’s a sad fact but the majority of us spend more time at work than we do with our family, so naturally you want to make sure that you know what it is you’ll be doing all day!

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you get excited thinking about the work?
  • Does the position allow you to use the skills you most enjoy?
  • Do you believe in the company and its products/services? Are you passionate about making a contribution?
  • What role will you play in the organisation?
  • Are there any quality of life considerations to consider? Think about commute time, expected overtime and flexibility options.
  • Is it important for you to have visibility, leadership or an impressive job title? And, to what extent does the position offer these things?

LEADERSHIP One of the most important things to ask yourself when thinking about a new job is about the management team and their leadership styles. Ask yourself this question and seriously think about the reasons behind your answer.

Who was the best leader you ever had, and how did that impact the work?

Some jobs look great on paper, until you meet the line manager! An awesome leader can make a tough job extremely rewarding, but a poor manager can make even a dream company / job stressful. Your direct leader will probably have the most influence on your work life.

  • Are they someone you can work with?
  • Do they show respect to team members?
  • Do they have a good reputation? Find out first – you can reference check them too via your network!
  • What is their management style and how does it fit with your preferences?
  • Do their expectations seem reasonable?

CULTURE ‘CLUB’ In our world of Skype, Zoom and informal coffee chats it can sometimes be difficult to get a true sense of a company’s culture until you actually start work there. However, if you look for hints and ask good questions during the final rounds of interviews, you can get a pretty good idea of how they operate. You can also learn a lot from seeking out current and former employees of the company from within your networks.

  • What are the company’s vision and values? Do they even have any?
  • Are the company’s values in keeping with yours? Do company leaders prioritise issues you deem important?
  • Does the company emphasise training, development and promotion from within?
  • What kind of personalities seem to thrive?
  • After visiting the office, does it feel like home?

THE FUTURE In the words of Dusty Springfield, “nothing is forever” and in today’s world no job is forever. With each step you take, you must evaluate how it will position you for the future.

  • Will this job keep you on the top of your game?
  • Will the day-to-day responsibilities let you hone skills that will make you even more marketable in the future?
  • Does this position come with increased responsibility?
  • Be selfish, does the job give you a “foot in the door” to make the career change that you really want? Will you have access to useful training and networking opportunities?

When evaluating whether to accept a job offer, obviously you need to prioritise these things according to you and your personal circumstances. Money may be your biggest concern right now or perhaps after years with one company, the most important priority is working in a more innovative and dynamic environment. Think about what is important to you and where you would be willing to make sacrifices. While the choice can be difficult, having a clear list of priorities and concrete answers can help guide you to the job that was meant for you.

YOU’RE NOT A TREE…MOVE If you’ve already made the move and found yourself in the “wrong” job then don’t panic! Although most of us come equipped with a sense of intuition when something doesn’t feel right, we also have plenty of ways to rationalise these feelings away and ultimately discount them. You certainly don’t want to turn down a great offer or miss out on a solid opportunity because you’re feeling nervous about moving. A big career move is bound to cause some butterflies, but an ongoing feeling of discomfort could be a sign that this career move isn’t the best option for you.

Try out the 10/10/10 test to slow down your thinking and separate fact from fiction in your mind. Will the concern that you have really matter 10 weeks from now? 10 months from now? or 10 years from now? Your answers will help you put things in perspective.

When you feel uneasy and panicky, it’s tough to maintain perspective, so consult someone who doesn’t share your emotional attachment to the situation. This may include a trusted friend, mentor or coach who can help you sort through options in an objective way. With big decisions comes uncertainty. No matter what you choose, move forward with confidence, knowing that your career is always evolving. The next positive change might be right around the corner.

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