Aristotle once said, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” While the famous philosopher probably wasn’t offering career advice, I’m going to make the stretch and say it’s just as applicable in this arena.
Being happy with our careers shouldn’t be a lofty goal—it should be the foundation that we base our career choices on. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the numbers speak for themselves; the average worker will spend around 100,000 hours working in their lifetime!
Whether your current job doesn’t feel like the right fit or you’re just starting out on your first job search, landing the right position is of the utmost importance. Yes, a hefty paycheck is where most of us focus our attention, but don’t lose sight of the fact that to continue getting those checks, you need to spend a lot of time working. All too often I find myself in conversation with individuals who, in hindsight, wish they had seen the warning signs. Before you pen your John Hancock on that dotted line, here are 10 signs that you should not just walk, but run away from the offer.
- The Blind Interview. If the person who has been interviewing you is ready to make an offer even though they haven’t reviewed your resume, think twice. Sure, the interviewer may have a legitimate reason (schedule, family emergency, etc.), but it could also be a sign of a larger issue. If the person conducting the interview is the person you’d report to, I would have the greatest concern—what kind of business doesn’t do their homework?
- Lack of Clarity. As you progress through the various stages of the interview process, the details of the role you’re applying for should become clear. Yes, it is impossible to fully understand all the day-to-day details, but you should have a good sense for where you fit in within the organization. Wallowing in the unknown is painful—outside of a few exceptions, you should know why you are being hired.
- The Ex Roast. The interview should be about you and the job being offered—period! While Betty or Bobby may have been terrible employees, any sign of badmouthing former personnel is not only unprofessional, it also offers you some insight into how you’ll be judged should you leave.
- High Churn Rate. If it’s a new role, you won’t be privy to this without further questioning, but if you’re going to be the third replacement in the year, lace up your Nikes!
- Lack of Chemistry. Your new boss and colleagues don’t need to be your best friends, but within the workplace, the ability to collaborate is highly important.
- The Late Date. At the end of the day, people are the most valuable capital for which an organization spends resources. If your interviewer shows up late, or there is any lack of consideration of your valuable time, it may be indicative of how you’ll be treated as an employee.
- Culture Mismatch. Even if you love the idea of working for a particular manager, remember that leadership can, and does, change. The person you report to today may change roles in six months. What you’re left with is the core culture of the organization. Is it a good fit for you? If not, you should consider an about-face.
- Poor Reputation. You should be researching the organizations for which you apply. All companies get some negative feedback, however if the perception is highly negative, you may want to avoid thrusting yourself into an uncomfortable position.
- No Gusto. If the thought of accepting an offer doesn’t trigger some sense of internal glee, then you will likely be looking for a new job in the near future. Avoid the “blah” opportunities.
- Your Gut. Trust your instincts! I cannot stress this enough: Your 7th grade math teacher was right when they told you that if you’re unsure, go with your first thought. If, after all you’ve heard, it sounds too good to be true—well, it probably is.
Getting a “hit” during the job search is an exciting time. Knowing that someone is interested in you is a great feeling! Don’t let your emotions drive you into a situation that is ultimately not right for you. Remember, your career and the jobs you choose to accept will make up a large part of your life. Do your elderly self a favor today, so that in the future you can look back at a lifetime of work that is satisfying to you.
Michelle Kruse is the Recruitment, Editor, and Content Manager at ResumeEdge, where she manages a team of 40 professional resume writers to make sure her clients achieve career success. When she’s not helping job seekers land their dream job, Michelle enjoys spending time with her three little girls, traveling the globe and going to concerts.