Should I stay or should I go? Deciding whether a job is right for you
Job searching. It’s not exactly anyone’s favourite activity – looking for jobs can be draining, stressful, and disheartening, especially if you’ve been searching for a while with no concrete results.
So when it finally happens – when you get your application in on time, are offered an interview, get your references checked, knock the interviewer’s socks off – when you finally land a job offer, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to accept.
But should you? Of course there are some things that might force your hand, like financial needs or your previous role coming to an end, but if you’re in a position to consider your job offers before pouncing on them, you’ll be in a much better place.
So how do you decide whether a job is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering whether accepting an offer is the right choice.
What are you looking for in your new job that is not present in your current job?
This is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. The answers will be different for every person and every role.
- Maybe you’re a student whose current job doesn’t allow much flexibility around your uni timetable, so you’re looking for a role that allows you to work independently, from home, or on your own schedule.
- Maybe your boss is more bureaucratic than supportive, and you’re keen to pursue a new job that will allow you to climb the ranks with the backing of a mentor.
- Maybe you don’t get to flex your creative skills much, so you want your next role to be one based on originality and collaboration.
- Maybe your current role is fine, but you’re just not that passionate about it.
Whatever it is that’s lacking in the job you have should be present in the one you’re going after, or at least a stepping stone to the future you want.
Will it progress your career?
Think of each job you take as a level in a game you’re playing. Some jobs provide you with a bit of lateral movement, allowing you to learn at your own pace and gain the skills you need to thrive. Others are more like save-points: somewhere you spend a bit of time to rest, enjoy the experiences it provides, and forge positive working relationships.
So when you’re offered a new role, ask yourself whether it:
- Advances your career
- Has further opportunities for growth within the company.
These two considerations will help you figure out whether it’s the right choice for you, and whether it’s somewhere you’d like to stick around and rise up the ranks.
Does it fuel your fire?
It’s all well and good to take the practicalities of a job into consideration, but if it isn’t something you’re at least a little passionate about, it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy waking up for work each day.
This isn’t to say every job is going to be your dream job, but the job you’re considering should have an aspect that inspires you. That could be the industry itself, some new training in the role, a soft skill the job will help develop, or even something new you want to experiment with.
Whatever it is you’re passionate about, or a new passion you’d like to expand on, should be reflected in your new role. If you find yourself getting excited about the prospect of this new job, it’s probably a good sign!
Does it have a good company culture?
This one can be hard to answer with just a fleeting glance of the new workplace, but it’s a really important one. Company culture governs the way people within an organisation act and interact with each other.
In workplaces with good company culture, employees know the expectations their higher-ups hold for them, as well as how to respond to any given situation. They can rest assured that their hard work will be rewarded, and feel comfortable representing their organisation’s values.
There are a couple things you can do to discover the company culture of a given organisation:
- Ask! Either in an interview or by reaching out to employees of the organisation on LinkedIn.
- Look up the company on Glassdoor, an online tool that rates companies via anonymous employee reviews.
- Think about how you were treated during the recruitment process. Were your interviewers direct and polite? Did they respond to your questions satisfactorily? Did you feel ghosted? You can learn a lot about an organisation even from quick interactions like this.
- Consider the expectations your employers will have. Are you expected to be “always on”? Will you be properly compensated for overtime work?
What’s the pay like?
Salary is a key part of any job, but a common career myth is that every new role should be a step up in pay. Sure, it’s nice, but if you’re making a career change, going out on your own, or your new job has different kinds of benefits (to name just a few reasons), a pay cut might be worth it for this new role.
That being said, if you’re going for a job with less pay than your current one, you might have to be ready to make some lifestyle changes. Get your budget in order, and make sure you are realistic about your finances.
How does your gut feel about it?
Finally, it’s not the most scientific of questions to consider, but the vibes of a new job can help you decide one way or another. If your gut doesn’t feel right about it, chances are you’re not going to feel good accepting it anyway, even if all the practical signs point to yes.
As Derek Sivers says: “If it’s not a ‘Hell yeah!’ it’s a no.”
I’ll leave you with a couple of Dos and Don’ts to think about next time you’re offered a role.
- Research the company and find out as much as you can about what it’s like to work with them
- Be reasonable and realistic about your prospects when applying for various roles
- Ask questions about anything you’re concerned about along the way
- Say yes to a job you don’t want (unless you really really have to!)
- Say yes because you feel desperate or want to appease anyone else
- Be rude if you have to decline an offer
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.