Why do I regret turning down this job opportunity?
October 28, 2014 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Four months ago I was laid off from a company where I had worked for almost 15 years. I received a severance equivalent to 30 weeks of pay. About half of that was paid to me in bi-weekly paychecks while I could still technically be called an employee of the company. The other half will be paid in a heavily taxed lump sum check in the next week or so. more inside...

I have been looking for a job since I was laid off. I have had a few recruiters call me to ask me about my interest in working as a contract employee for my former employee. I have a cooling off period of about 6 months before I can even consider that. I had a phone interview for another company recently. I got an e-mail the next day saying they weren't going to proceed with me as a candidate.

I had a face to face interview with another company last week that went really, really well. I interviewed with the hiring manager and the supervisor and felt an instant rapport with them. I could actually see myself working for the company...until they told me about the hours and pay. My previous job was in a union environment and they paid extremely well. For people, like myself, without a degree, it was phenomenal. There was also flexibility in my work hours in my previous job.

The HR manager of the face to face interview company has been great about communicating with me. Yesterday she and I talked and I had to decide to decline the opportunity. The hours conflicted with my ability to make sure I was home at a decent time for my school age kids (my husband works too, his commute is brutal and he travels about once a month for his job.) The pay would have been a little less then half what I made previously. I have worked for a long time and I am not getting any younger. I am at a crucial time in my children's lives where I need to be available to them and still work to help support my family. I also survived cancer a few years ago, work/life balance is very important to me.

Although I've applied for too many jobs to count over the last several months, I haven't exactly been deluged with interview requests. I am feeling this offer I declined may have been my one real mirage in the desert. I have been torn about it since yesterday. My husband says I should move forward and keep looking.

I have never been laid off or involuntarily out of work in my entire life. This lay off has shaken my confidence in myself and I am starting to feel somewhat depressed.

Although I feel the decision to decline this opportunity was best for my family, why do I have regrets about doing so? Should I keep plugging away until I find a job that checks off most of my needs?
posted by getyourlife to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When I was laid off from my job a couple of years ago, I spent five months looking for work. I declined a job offer several weeks after I was laid off for many of the same reasons you cite. As months went by without finding a job, I regretted deeply passing up that opportunity.

Until I got the job I have know. And I've realized in the years I've had this job, which has provided good wages, professional growth, and social rewards, that if I hadn't followed my instincts and turned down a job that wasn't right for me, I might well be stuck in a unpaid, dead-end job that I didn't like.

Good luck with your job search! You may not get the exact job you are hoping for, but I think you are right to pass on opportunties that fall short in several areas that are important to you.
posted by layceepee at 4:03 PM on October 28, 2014 [7 favorites]

You've already written the answer to your own question - the layoff has shaken your confidence and this was your only big bite since then. It's also only been one day since you turned the job down. It's totally normally to feel as you do. Cut yourself some slack - it doesn't sound like that job was the right job, right now.

Good luck with your search!
posted by sm1tten at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Unless there's a new skill to learn, there is NO reason to take a job for half the pay and terrible hours.

Keep applying, I know it's hard and BELIEVE me, I know how it feels. I got laid off a few months ago, and I was a mess for about 12 hours. Then I applied for jobs and got hired.

So it'll happen, and it'll be better. Just keep the wheels turning.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:09 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

You've got money coming in. You declined the offer for a reason. Wait a few months and then start you can start worrying. In the meantime, keep your head up and continue applying for better opportunities like you've been doing.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:24 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Although I feel the decision to decline this opportunity was best for my family, why do I have regrets about doing so?

Because you took a risk. There is uncertainty in your life - you don't have a job and you don't know when you will get one - and here was a job, and you said no.

You said no for good reasons though. You don't want to get into the thought process that runs "I need a job, this is a job, therefore I need this job". That way, poor decisions lie. You want to accept the right job.

Should I keep plugging away until I find a job that checks off most of my needs?

Yes. You have time and money on your side. This is an incredible luxury. You can make the most of it by using it to find the job that will be right for you. If you absolutely have to, you can compromise later.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:40 PM on October 28, 2014

Well, you got a really great severance package, I assume you are collecting unemployment benefits after that and your husband makes an income. Why would you take a job that doesn't really work out for you if you aren't desperate for a job?

However, I will say this: Without knowing what you were paid or what your hours were, I do think you have to accept you may not be able to find a job that offers the same level of compensation and balance as you had before. That's not to say you take a job that pays crap and requires you on call 24/7, but I do think you need to be flexible here and have a good sense of what your cut off is. In that sense, this rejected job will set you up for the idea that you may need to adjust expectations slightly and help you navigate future job offers a bit better.

As for your question about. why do you regret it?: Because they were going to hire you and you haven't been hired yet. It's that simple. I rejected jobs and the whole time I was still looking, I worried whether I had made a mistake. But deep down, I knew I didn't want the jobs I rejected. And if I had taken those jobs I rejected, I wouldn't have been available to take the job I eventually accepted.

What you're feeling is normal. Hang in there!
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:58 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

FYI Depending on your location you can collect unemployment even while receiving regular severance payments. Please check it out.

As far as declining a job that has lousy hours and terrible pay... really, that bothers you? You have mad skillz in your specialty. Someone will see that and appreciate that. It will take time, don't be discouraged, and don't compromise ( too much).
posted by Gungho at 9:03 AM on October 29, 2014

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