BY LISA SWAN
You got the job! Those can be magic words no matter what your situation in life is. Whether you are just out of school and eager to work, suffering through long-term unemployment, or just ready for a job change, you may be excited after hearing those words. However, there are times when you shouldn’t accept the job offer, even when it seems like you should. Here are some of the most common situations where you ought to think twice before taking the job:
- The position is not a good fit with your skill set: Nick Saban is the best college football coach today, winning three national championships in eight years. Yet he was a flop as an NFL coach, suffering his only losing football season ever with the Miami Dolphins. Saban’s skills are much more suited to recruiting and motivating college students than they are for a professional football team. It’s great to grow and reach outside of your current job, but before you do, make sure that your new position will fit with what you are great at doing.
- Nobody can succeed in that role: Before you take any new job, it would behoove you to find out about your predecessor – or predecessors. If the position is one in which multiple people have held the job over the past few years and been forced out, beware. Chances are that you could be the next person to fail at the job. It could be that the expectations are too high, or it is a position that is impossible to succeed at.
- Your future boss may be difficult to deal with: There were plenty of lucrative jobs available in Leona Helmsley’s hotel and real estate empire, but at a price. The Queen of Mean’s staff would literally tremble in the presence, and suffer both on and off the job over the verbal abuse she would hand out with relish. You don’t want to work at a place where you tremble and shake when your boss shows up. Therefore, it’s imperative that you pay attention to how management acts when you go for interviews, and check around to make sure you won’t be working for another King or Queen of Mean.
- The offer sounds too good to be true: If you are offered a salary and benefits package that is above and beyond what anybody else in the market is paying, you may think that you have lucked out into a sweet deal. However, it could be that the money isn’t really there, or that the job is going to be much tougher than you think it will be. It also could be that the salary package is legitimate, but because of all the money you will be getting, you may not get support staff. If you think the job offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Beware.
- You will not fit into the workplace culture: Remember Andrea Sachs, the protagonist in “The Devil Wears Prada”? She was a good writer, but culturally, she wasn’t a fashionista, which made her a poor fit to serve as fashion editor Miranda Priestly’s assistant. That was a work of fiction, of course, but in real life, if you are very different from a future employer’s workplace culture, you may run into problems feeling like a part of the team. If you’re a vegan, you are not going to be happy or successful working for Omaha Steaks, no matter how talented you are.
- The position is not what you want to do in your career: This is probably the most difficult type of job to turn down if you are unemployed. No matter how much money you get, if it is a job you are going to be unhappy at, you are not doing anybody any favors in taking the job. Of course, you may have to take the job if you have no alternatives, but if you can hold out and wait for something that would fit you better, please attempt to do that. Turning such a job down is most critical when you are just out of college, because taking a job in a field you do not want to work in could send you down the wrong career path.
- Your gut tells you not to take it: Oprah Winfrey continually exhorts viewers to listen to that inner voice telling you something is not right, even when it seems like it should be. There’s a difference between normal jitters about a new job and a strong feeling telling you that something is amiss. If you literally feel sick when thinking about the job offer, it is critically important to examine your intuition and see what it is trying to tell you. It could save you much potential heartache.