Well, it’s finally happened. Perhaps your hard work of pounding the pavement has yielded results. Or, some kind soul has relented. Or, you just “got lucky.”
At any rate, you now have a job offer. Being employed is a good thing, and this is not a bad position. To be brutally honest, you could do worse… MUCH worse! But, continuing to be honest, this is NOT the job of your dreams. In better economic times, you would probably respond “Thanks, but no thanks” to their offer.
However, these are NOT better times and you’ve gotten used to eating regularly, having insurance and a roof over your head. Although not ideal, this position can assist in these areas. So, what do you do? To quote Jack Nicholson from a recent movie, “What if this is as good as it gets?” Maybe the job of your dreams, or even a more attractive opportunity is just not coming. In these challenging times, thinking about career development may be a pipe dream. Be happy that someone wants you! After all, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” right?
Maybe, maybe not. Let’s take some time to think through this situation. If you’re truly “sitting on” an offer right now, be smart enough to ask for some time to review it, talk to those you trust, etc., before you make a commitment. If you have other job searches in process, be sure to advise any potential employer that you’ve just been offered a position but you are still interested in them. Can they give you a sense of your chances? This may encourage them to take action, or at least let you know where you stand. I like to use language like, “Help me make the best decision here. Do you see me as a serious candidate? When will you make your hiring decision?” If they have no real answer, then it’s clearly time to move on.
Regarding the position “in the hand,” does it meet the criteria for what Barbara Sher calls a “Good Enough Job?” That’s a position that allows you, at least, to make ends meet, to keep your options open, perhaps to continue your search, to feed your better self with hobbies, other activities, etc.
I have three rules for such a position.
Rule One: Can you just go do it, without a lot of additional training or investment?
Rule Two: Will it allow you the time to work on activities that can create opportunities for a better position, or allow you to invest in building up skills, knowledge and experience to make you more marketable?
Rule Three may be the most important: Can you enjoy it at all? Even if the job isn’t part of your long-term career goals, will the duties bring some level of satisfaction? If not, you’re likely to find yourself bogged down physically, emotionally and spiritually, to the point that you better not interview for The Job of Your Dreams, because your performance as a candidate will place you in the Reject Pile.
Take the time to work through all of the pluses and minuses of the offer at hand. Seek to negotiate for a better offer, if you can. Seek to evaluate the offer in a comprehensive manner, talk to trusted individuals, then make your decision.
OK, let’s say you take the position. What’s next? Give them 110%? Eat, sleep and breathe the company slogan? Get a tattoo of the corporate logo? Commit your everlasting soul to the company mission statement? Oh, please!
Certainly, do a great job, learn all you can, forge positive working relationships. Demonstrate integrity, honesty and the good old Protestant Work Ethic.
And, one more thing: KEEP LOOKING! Yes, you read that right. Do the best job you can, but keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities. This position may work out for you, but there are certainly no guarantees these days. To quote the credo of the excellent site http://www.careerrealism.com, “Because EVERY Job is Temporary.”
I once read that the web portal YAHOO is an acronym for “You Always Have Other Options.” I truly believe that these days we all need to keep our eyes and ears open, continue networking, looking for the “two in the bush” even when we do have the “bird in the hand.” This is not to be disloyal to your new position (which I am SURE you would never do), but to keep your ear to the ground just in case.
Then, if things don’t work out with this situation, you have O.O. (Other Options).