When you finally land a job offer, the initial feeling is often one of exhilaration. After all, you chased down this company, landed an interview, and then clearly managed to impress them. Now it just comes down to accepting the offer.
But you may find your elation is closely followed by an unsettling feeling of hesitation.
So what gives?
The reality is that applying for a job and actually accepting the offer are two completely different things. Changing jobs is a big life-change, so a little bit of “job offer jitters” is to be expected.
Then again, what if it’s more than that? The job may look great on paper, but that alone isn’t enough to determine if this job is the right career move for you.
So before accepting the offer, here’s what you need to ask yourself.
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Is this job what you really want?
It’s not just about fiscal compensation and how many weeks vacation you get. Pay attention to the other details like work hours, benefits, and probation period. If there’s anything you’re not 100% clear on, now is the time to ask, not two weeks after you’re on the job.
But further to that, ask yourself if you actually want this job. Even if it’s a good company and good pay, if the idea of doing the actual job every day fills you with dread or anxiety, it might not be the right role for you. Yes, we’ve all got bills to pay, but it’s not worth taking the wrong job out of panic. Because you’ll only find yourself looking again a few weeks later, which is a waste of your time, and your soon-to-be formal employer’s.
Did you actually like your potential employer?
Here’s a secret: When your potential employer is interviewing you, you’re actually interviewing them, too. Even if you don’t realize it! After your interview, you will have gotten an impression about your potential boss an what it might be like to work for them. Did they seem like a competent manager? Can you get along with their personality type? Can you see yourself respecting this person as their report?
It’s true that it’s difficult to adequately gauge this isn a couple of twenty minute interviews, but listen to your gut. If something about them rubbed you the wrong way in the interview, think about how that irritation might manifest once you’re their employee!
Do you fit in with the office culture?
“Office culture” is a term that Millennials (and we self-proclaimed “Xennials”) use a lot, but there’s a good reason why! Office culture is greatly influenced by the company’s vision, goals, management style, and employees. A heavily structured work environment might feel “too corporate” for some, while a more laid back atmosphere might be too unstructured for others.
Is the culture noisy and full of extroverts? Pin-drop quiet and full of introverts? A combination of both? Is it somewhere you feel you can be professional, but still be yourself?
What about your workstation? Is it spacious or are there three people crammed to a desk? Is there lots of natural light or are you working in a gloomy room with no windows? And how do all these factors make you feel?
Some of these questions might seem a bit much, but it’s really important that you are comfortable where you work.
How about that commute?
On the way to your job interview, it took you 20 minutes to get there, so you’re thinking that 30km drive is no big deal. If your offer is for a typical 9-5 job, that transit time is likely to triple during rush hour traffic.
An hour each way may not sounds like a big deal to you, and maybe it really isn’t. Many people commute that long and even longer for years and are okay with it.
But it’s definitely not for everyone. Commuter stress can really wear you down over time, and even lead to some pretty serious physical and mental health issues.
The bottom line? Be honest with yourself about what you can handle!
Is there potential for professional growth?
Millennials are no stranger to “job hopping” and it’s not uncommon in this day and age to switch jobs every few years to pursue career growth and professional development. But your job changes should be strategic. Changing jobs just for the sake of changing jobs can actually set back your career growth.
Maybe the position pays a little more than what you’re currently making. But is it really a role that’s going to help you grown your skills or reach your long-term career goals? Or is it just more of the same of what you were already doing? Unless you’re moving to escape a toxic work environment or to achieve better work-life balance, avoid taking a job that is exactly the same as what you’re already doing just because it ads a few extra dollars onto your paycheque.
Are you listening to your gut?
If you’re really honest with yourself, you can probably determine if the hesitation you’re feeling is “job offer jitters” or if it’s something more intuitive.
Even if you’re mostly excited about the role, you should always take a couple days to mull it over before accepting the offer. (A professional employer should give you at least 48 hours to accept an offer, and if they give you a hard time about that, it’s another sign that this probably isn’t the gig for you!)
If your hesitation stems more from fear of change and not the role or company, than that’s usually a good sign that you should be accepting the offer. We can only grow when we venture outside of our comfort zone.
But if something about the job or company just doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition; it will always guide you to make the best choices for your career, and in life!