Overwhelmed by a job offer
July 18, 2011 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I previously was working at a job for a long time. That job ended (due to company shutdown) last week I was offered a similar job today. Would it be crazy to turn it down?

Since finding out I was going to lose my job a few weeks ago, I've had 13 interviews, which I think means my resume is working for me, at least.

Today, I got my first offer. I'm in the interview stage with two other organizations that I would much prefer working for, but won't find out about them for a few days, or a week.

If I take this job, I will be employed (yay!) will have control over my hours (a rarity for a corporate salary job, I think), and won't have to look for a job anymore. I wasn't offered a great salary, but it would be fine.

But it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life. And, as I'm in my mid-30's, something makes me want to turn this job down, no matter how bad the market is right now.

My wife is on board with waiting for a better job. I just filed for unemployment, and we have some savings. Wife has an excellent job, we've got no problems paying the mortgage, no kids.

Should I take the job, or be dangerous, and wait?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Why don't you stall them for a week or two while you wait and see what happens with the other jobs?
posted by echo0720 at 4:30 PM on July 18, 2011

You'll have to check the rules, but turning down a job offer may affect your unemployment benefits.
posted by ShooBoo at 4:39 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stall for a week, then take the bird in the hand, but keep looking for something new.

Go on, be an outlaw. (They probably have a probationary period anyway.)
posted by tel3path at 4:40 PM on July 18, 2011

It sounds like you are getting tons of interviews, so sure, hold out for something you really want.

ShooBoo does have a good point about Unemployment though. I don't see how they would ever find out, but if you do turn down the job, there is usually a box saying "did you turn down any work?" and lying on the form would be bad news if you got caught.

Your best bet is probably to stall.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:45 PM on July 18, 2011

Stall them. If they want you, they'll wait an extra few days to hear back from you. (It always feels a bit outrageous to do this when you previous job-search experience is as a young leverage-free job hunter, but the reality is that as a mid-career professional you are one of many interviewees who have asked HR professionals for extra time, and they probably won't look askance at the request.)
posted by Kololo at 5:13 PM on July 18, 2011

I agree with the suggestions to stall, especially if you think the salary is below what you could command. If you're going through an active hiring process with other companies, it is completely natural (and in fact, polite!) for you to go back to the first company and tell them you want to be respectful of the other folks you've interviewed with who have a slightly longer process.

They should be understanding of this, as long as you give them a reasonable timeframe. 1-2 weeks is a perfectly reasonable window. Do thank them for being so prompt in making the offer. Don't be vague about "other opportunities." Tell them you've done multi-round interviews with 2 other companies, that you've had a lot of interest and expect to get other offers, and that you want to compare them.

Be aware that they may come back and offer you more money.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2011

^1-2 weeks is a completely reasonable window in my field, at least (professional services). A lot depends on the speed of their process and the specifics of the opening, but there's really no reason to do their job for them. Let them turn you down, not the other way around.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:17 PM on July 18, 2011

Take a little more time to interview the company. Ask to go visit, check out the vibe at lunch, tell them you need additional time, or whatever. Or just tell them that you really appreciate their offer, feel that you just aren't ready to make a decision yet, that you understand that they will likely fill this position, but you hope that perhaps you could contact them in the future. If you make it positive and respectful, I think you can leave the door ajar.

Whenever you look for a job, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If more applicants truly understood this, the process would be more effective. Great candidates are not thick on the ground, even in this tough economy.
posted by theora55 at 5:42 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go with the bird in the hand. The time to Make Big Changes In Your Life is when you have the time and resources to do so, not when you're unemployed in a terrible economy and living on your savings and praying you don't get badly ill because COBRA runs out soon.
posted by ErikaB at 9:19 PM on July 18, 2011

ShooBoo's comment is right on. If you turn down the job and your unemployment office finds out your benefits will be in jeopardy.

If your wife is supportive, and you are getting so many interviews already, then I would stall as others have recommended. If no job opportunities show themselves, take the job, but continue to look. Should something better come along take that job.

As someone who has been laid off several times in their career I have learned that it is better to look out for #1 (you and your family). If someone better came along for the company they would do the same to you. One company I interviewed with years ago offered me less pay than what they originally quoted. Jobless at the time a friend said to me - "What would you do if you weren't scared?" I called the company up and asked that they "withdraw my application from consideration." When asked why I said, "I don't think the company is as excited for me to come aboard as I am." I worked as a temp technician for a few months and found a better paying job later. It was very hard going from being an engineer to a technician, but I to this day (6+ years later) do not regret that decision. Lowering their salary offer was a sign of more problems to come.

My question to you is - "What would you do if you weren't scared." It sounds like you have that answer.

Gook luck to you.
posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 7:37 AM on July 19, 2011

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