How to Not Settle for the Wrong Job

 In Career Change

If you have been looking for a new place to work for a while, or you really hate your job (or you are in the middle of a pandemic), it can be hard to resist taking an offer at the WRONG company and culture. Most of us were raised with the old proverb: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, which can be roughly translated as, “take that job, you idiot!”

If we can just slow things down a bit, there are some important things to consider when looking for a new job.


Is the culture a fit for you?

Wouldn’t it be great if a company’s values and mission statements were all you really needed to know about working in their culture?  Unfortunately, job seekers have to be a little bit more clever and aware to observe the culture during the interview process.

Example: One of my clients at the VP level who was fairly desperate to get out of her current company was being pursued by a competitor. The competitor was offering higher pay and better benefits. The only problem was that the culture at the competitor’s company was setting off her internal alarm bells. First off, there were no other females in the top three levels of the organization, which was pretty surprising in this day and age. Also, in the FOUR peer interviews she had, the other VPs seemed to be trying to trip her up in the way they asked the questions—she described the interviews as aggressive and competitive, which she handled well, but she felt weird about these guys being her peers. When she asked about collaboration, she got no clear answers from them. She did receive a solid job offer and was really conflicted about what to do.

When this happens to clients, I try to guide their decision making by asking them this question: Which would be worse: working a few more months to find the right thing, or being right back in this spot a year from now because you settled?

It’s a tough question, and I can fully empathize with the pain of continuing to pursue a better offer, but as a professional career coach, I can testify that being back in the same spot in a year or two can be a huge setback psychologically. Imagine having to pursue a new job all over again, only now your confidence is shot after a year or two of feeling outcast and stuck. Not ideal!


Time to move into high gear!

Instead of settling, it’s time to double-down on your search efforts. Use the offer you got to energize your search. Improve your interview skills, search efforts, and networking. Let your network know that you are ready for any introductions they can make and be clear with them about what you want. If you were not currently devoting 20 hours per week to your search, find a way to do that (sometimes this means cashing in some vacation days if you are currently working).

Most importantly, reassure your loved ones (and yourself) that you know what you are doing, and ask them to keep their well-meaning questions and advice to themselves for a few months.


Click here for more of Brenda’s blogs about career:

DIY Career Search – 4 Steps To Success

Navigating The Mid-Career Crisis

4 Common Myths About Networking

Five Tips To Doing A 180 With Your Career

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