Career Advice: When NOT to Take The Job

A bad sign?

It’s a sour economy and the unemployment rate is still uncomfortably high. Does this mean your job choice should be any job that’s offered to you? Not so fast. If you have been out of work for a while, you might be feeling a little desperate. However, the unlikely career advice might be not taking a job. Even rough times require you to think strategically about the future.

You don’t think you will stay there long. If you are so enthusiastic about this job choice that you know you will continue your job search and leave the moment something better comes along, don’t take the job. Sure, the salary will be nice, but the headache of having to deceive and manipulate the good people who hired you might wear you down. Not to mention, it’s bad karma.

The commute is prohibitive. I keep hearing on the news that gas prices will rise to about $4.00 per gallon this spring. This does not bother me because I work from home and walk everywhere I can. However, if an employment offer involves a one hour commute each way every day on a congested highway where anything can happen, you might want to think twice about that job choice.

The job does not promote your career goals. Don’t waste your time, or the employer’s time. It takes a lot for them to hire you and train you, and it will take a lot to replace you if you leave because you are not interested, qualified, or able to fulfill the job requirements. You should have an idea of what you want to accomplish in your professional life. If this job does not somehow take you one step closer, politely decline and make another job choice.

Your personality does not fit. Everyone is on their best behavior during an interview, but if your instincts tell you these are not your people, you should probably trust that. Skills and knowledge are important, but the best career advice I ever received while hiring and interviewing is that personality counts just as much in the workplace.

The pay. Do not take a job you can’t afford. Sometimes, it’s fun to hope that your salary will magically double after your three months of probation. That rarely happens. If the salary barely covers your childcare expenses or your commute, take this career advice: pass on the job because it will cost you too much to work there.

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