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by Vault Careers | November 09, 2011


Here’s the situation – you’ve been working at a company for several years and at some point you realize it is time to go.  There can be a multitude of reasons why you came to this conclusion – you simply hate your job, you haven’t had a significant raise in some time, there is no room for movement, you just want to try something new – either way, you have decided that it is time to look elsewhere.  You go through the interview process and you are finally given an offer, but is it one you should take?  It's not as easy a decision as you might think. 

Just because you are looking for a job and exploring your options doesn’t mean you should take the first job offer that comes your way.  There are a number of different points to consider before making that jump to a new job. After considering them, you might end up deciding that sticking with your current position is the best option. 

How different is the salary?  You are getting paid $50,000 a year, but have been stuck on that figure for some time.  The job offer you have received comes attached with an offer of $53,000 a year to start.  That seems great.  You are making $3,000 more a year and can probably make more after a year.  You might be tempted to take the job, but maybe you should think twice.  What if you hate the job?  What if you don’t get a significant raise in a year?  And here is the big question – what if you kept looking and could find a job that pays $60,000 a year?  Wouldn’t that be better?  Remember, if you take a job, proper etiquette suggests you should stick around for a little bit – at least a year.  It might make more sense to look for a more significant raise in salary rather than take the first job that comes along that will keep you stuck in the same bracket for another year. 

How are the work hours?  Let’s take the salary scenario above and move it into this scenario.  Maybe at your current position, you get to enjoy a 9 to 5 schedule.  You’re getting paid $50,000 a year to work 9 to 5.  You want more, but if you take the current job, paying $3,000 a year more, you might actually be making less money.  What if the job calls for you to work until 7 p.m. each day and some weekends?  The average money you are making per hour shrinks significantly in this scenario.  Time is money and your time is valuable.  Your current job affords you the opportunity to go home and relax, enjoy a night out with some friends, spend time with your family or even pursue some freelance options.  The new job might eliminate some of these important factors in your life and if you have to forego freelancing, that actually means more money out of your pocket.  So, think carefully. 

What is the commute like?  Making a little extra money a year might not be as beneficial to you if you have to spend an additional 30 minutes to an hour on the train or even deal with transfers.  Again, this is a time factor, but it is also deals with your comfort.  Do you want to deal with the stresses of the additional commute time?  Do you have to travel through a bad neighborhood at night?  And do you remember how tiring it is to deal with a lengthy commute each day?  Starting or ending your day off on a bad note is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  The new job might not be worth the additional hassle. 

What about your friends?  If you got to your job interviews early enough, you should spend a lot of time getting an idea about the work environment.  Do people seem friendly?  Is it a work, work, work attitude or is there some lightheartedness involved?  Can you see yourself being friends with the people you come into contact with or see walking about as you waited for the interview to begin?  Yes, this is not indicative of all the people working there, but it’s a good first impression and if that first impression doesn’t compare favorably to your current work culture, you might want to stick around a bit longer at your current job. 

You don’t want to get too comfortable in one place, but you shouldn’t leave for the sake of leaving either.  Remember, your decisions affect your future and you need to determine if taking a new job is the right step along your career path or if there is a better move coming your way. 

--Jon Minners,


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