When to Turn Down a Job Offer
I recently got a call on the Bossed Up Podcast hotline from Christina in Seattle. She had just turned down a job offer and wanted to hear my take on whether or not she made the right choice.
It got me thinking about when turning down a job offer is your right next move. And in my opinion, there are lots of instances when saying ‘no’ despite the FOMO is your best call.
Here are 5 ways to know that a job offer isn’t for you:
1. When you love the organization, but not the role.
We all know that millennials are on the hunt for purposeful work. And really, who isn’t? But don’t let the organization’s mission blind you from the role you’re signing on to. Are you deep down happiest when you’re writing and focusing on independent creative work? Then a middle manager position might not suit you, even if it is at your dream company!
I watched one Bossed Up Bootcamp alum I worked with over the years ping-pong from one cause-based organization to the next, always frustrated by how day-to-day operations didn’t seem to live up to the ideals of the organization’s overall mission. Only once she focused specifically on the role she wanted most did she find a fulfilling and sustainable job that was the right fit for her.
Don’t be blinded by the big-picture vision of the organization if the details of the day-to-day role they’re offering you are going to leave you feeling out of place.
2. When you’re just feeling flattered or obliged.
There’s a difference between saying “hell, yes!” to a new opportunity, and feeling like you have to say yes. Perhaps someone went out on a limb for you to help bring this job opportunity your way and now you feel obliged to agree to it. Or maybe your prospective new employer has gone out of their way to flatter you and taken you out to fancy dinners to try and woo you away from your current job.
Take a quiet moment of reflection to ask yourself deep down: if you didn’t feel obligated or indebted to anyone, would you still say yes to this job?
3. When your gut says “no!”
Maybe you got a bad vibe when you went into the office for your interview. Or do you find yourself creeped out by how your prospective new boss is conducting themselves? Something about the team is leaving you feeling uncomfortable.
Just because you can’t put your finger on it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to your gut. Close your eyes and try to actually imagine yourself taking the job and starting on your first day. Do you feel the excitement of butterflies in your stomach? Or something more like dread? Listen to your gut.
Now, if you’re a person who always gets a bit anxious at the prospect of change, you might be best served by talking it out with a trusted friend or ally to make sure you’re not just psyching yourself out. But either way, if your gut is telling you “no,” you’re better off listening to it.
4. When the grass is always greener…
Are you a frequent job-hopper who finds a new place to work every year? If so, ask yourself if you’ve got grass-is-always-greener syndrome. Do you always have one eye on job boards? Do you send your resume out year-round? Are you never quite invested in your current place of work?
While I’d never fault anyone for being ambitious, if you find yourself constantly pining for a better place to work, it might be a sign that you’re not holding out long enough for the right opportunity. You’re running from workplaces instead of finding the right job that makes you want to run to it.
Give yourself time to really make a mindful next move so that you’ll be able to invest yourself fully into your next job, not be constantly looking for something better.
5. When you got 9 out of your 10 must-have’s met
And finally, if you’ve heard me talk about negotiation before, you know how much I believe in making your list of must-have’s and your nice-to-have’s. If the offer that’s made to you meets 9 out of 10 of your must-have’s – that’s not enough!
If you know that the salary, benefits, commute, or other conditions of the job you’re offered just isn’t going to work for the long haul, taking it just sets you up for fizzling out.
Unless you’re looking for a bridge job, hold out! After all, sometimes being willing to walk away from the negotiation table is the best boss move you can make. You might even call their bluff, and have them come back to offer you more.
Have you turned down a job offer before?
How did it go down? Do you regret your decision, or did it all work out for the better? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
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