Boost or blip? Job offers that could haunt you
During a routine LinkedIn profile review, Sheldon Cooper came to mind: “I need answers. I need to determine where, in this swamp of unbalanced formulas, squatteth the toad of truth.”
The Toad of Truth was that this was not a routine review. This client had already been headhunted, had an interview lined up, and was feeling a bit lost.
We reviewed the job description, which was pretty generic; more money, bigger company, new experiences. We prepared for him to grill the company reps, to be the interviewer (not the interviewee) and to be strong enough to say “No”.
As much as I like to boss people around, I promise there was no malice here. I don’t like to crush dreams, demotivate others or put people down to make myself feel better. But I also don’t like seeing people make bad decisions and, as enticing as such as offer may sound, you should always look at opportunities in context.
This client was already working for a massive international company. He likes this company. He likes most of the people he works with. He loves the location, the salary is good, he’s become great friends with some of his colleagues and the company provides lots of support for employees. There was really only one reason he was looking to move – fear of being trapped. To get a promotion in his current work area, he would need to stay there for another two years. If he took a secondment, he would probably have to wait three years. Three years isn’t that long if you enjoy what you’re doing. The added problem was that although he knew his current area wasn’t for him, he wasn’t sure which area would be better.
So when a charming stranger came up to him and offered him more money with a bigger brand name, he was very tempted.
We’ve all known that feeling – comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. You might not be able to articulate exactly why you are unhappy, but you know you don’t want to be where you are.
In this situation, he reached the best decision not by looking at what the new opportunity offered but what it didn’t. The job security wasn’t clear; there was no mention of the contract details. The employer, although a huge name in the industry, had a reputation for pushing workers to their limits with extremely long work hours. Finally, the role he wanted was not the one they were offering first. Instead, they were first suggesting he apply for a role that was higher paid, but completely lacking all the things he liked the most about his current role. He quickly realised that the offer in front of him wasn’t that tempting at all!
Instead, he needed to go op-shopping within his current company, and he had to do it leisurely. Sure, he was feeling irritated with his work life right now, but if he made a drastic change he could regret it. In fact, he would probably regret it within an hour of working in an environment that didn’t match his strengths – long before the next big juicy payday.
I gave him two action plans:
- By the end of the year, meet with a manager from every work area that he thought could be interesting – openly. Tell these managers, and his own, about the outside offer. Tell them that he didn’t see himself in the same area in two years’ time but that he loved the company and wanted to find an area that was more suited to his strengths. Instantly, the fear and irritation became a networking opportunity – and an excuse to go out and have fancy coffee.
- Go to the interview anyway, and interview them. Ask why they headhunted him, why they thought he’d be suitable to this role, what are the working conditions like, what length is the contract, how quickly can he access professional development, etc. etc. We’re talking about really drilling them for information! If they truly wanted him with the company, they would have to put much more on the table. If they just wanted (experienced) bums on seats, they would have to look elsewhere.
The new job was a good opportunity. It was a good opportunity to have a chat with friends and get motivated to take some useful steps forward, instead of blind steps sideways.
What happened? Our friend went for the interview, and was just as bored by the interviewers as he would have been by the job! No deal! Do you need help making with a possible career move? Get in touch!