Not Every Great Job Offer Is the Right Fit

Know when to make a move ― and when to stay put

 This article appears in print in the April 2020 issue of the magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

Q: I wasn’t out looking for a new job, but I just got recruited by a very large company for a lot more money. The job would be a ton of work and very demanding in terms of time and schedule. I know my current company can’t pay as well, but I really love what I do, and I will feel guilty if I leave. Any suggestions on how to choose?

Dear No Sudden Moves:

I get asked this question all the time, but what I don’t hear very often is someone who says they love what they do. That’s huge. It’s no secret that there is a talent shortage in the Seattle-area market. Experienced professionals are getting recruited heavily, and there is a lot of money getting tossed around — especially by large, well-capitalized companies.

But be careful. You are in a classic tug-of-war dilemma, and it is just as important to know when to make a move as it is to know when to not make a move. Be thorough as you evaluate the new offer. It’s great that you are loyal, but you cannot let guilt be your guide. Listen to your gut when you think about being happy in your job and weigh these five factors instead.

  1. 1. Timing. A new job requires attention, focus and putting your best foot forward to start off on solid ground. For example, if you have a lot going on in your personal life, now is not the time to make a career move.
  2. 2. Goals. You should always have written goals to use as your “career North Star,” so write down where you see yourself in the future and use that to assess the pros and cons of the new company and opportunity. Don’t get distracted by offers that can sidetrack your plans.
  3. 3. Benefits. It is nice to get a pay bump but make sure the entire package is comparable, including intangibles like flexibility, commute or travel demands.
  4. 4. Fit. Make sure you interview with as many members of the team as possible. Find out who had the role before you and why that person left. Talk to key clients and supervisors so you don’t land in a negative environment.
  5. 5. Satisfaction. You said you loved your current job, so ask a lot of questions about this new role to make sure you aren’t trading money for a ton of work you won’t enjoy.

Do yourself a favor and don’t try to renegotiate to get more money from your current employer. It is never a good strategy, and I guarantee you it will create bad feelings. If you decide to take the job, just own it. Pursuing opportunities for growth, especially when they align with your career goals, is usually easily understood and respected.

Q: I recently took over leading a team and my predecessor left the company. What are some ways I can encourage and build teamwork with a crew that is used to being run as a dictatorship?

Dear Trust Builder:

That’s a loaded question. I can’t help but wonder why you are using such a strong label but my guess is the morale is deflated, the team shows no initiative, they are used to being told what to do every step of the way and show signs of being afraid to speak up or share their ideas. Or they’ve checked out. Let’s face it. They are traumatized.

The best way to build confidence is with an abundance of positive recognition. Set a clear vision for what success looks like on your team and tell them you trust them — so you won’t be micromanaging them. They won’t believe you at first, and research varies, but try a 5:1 ratio to undo damage and create positive change. That means you need to dole out five compliments to a ratio of one criticism or negative feedback. It’s important that you look for the little wins and don’t be shy with praise.

Beth Halvorsen spent decades as a nationally recognized leader in commercial real estate. As a management consultant, speaker and facilitator, she offers no-nonsense solutions to navigate tricky, complex workplace issues.

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