The job is fine, but the location is not fine
November 4, 2016 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Previously, I asked this Question about taking a job you may not stay in long. Well, I interviewed for the job and just received an offer. Another possible opportunity popped up, but I don't know if I'm being a silly, idealistic recent grad.

Very grateful for the answers to the last question! In the interview, I tried to be upfront and emphasize that this job is not my MO, and that public health is my focus. However, I think they sort of ignored it (they kept mentioning how it would be great when I stay long-term. One of the interviewers even reached over and held my hand as she said this. Well now I feel real bad if I leave within 6 months!)

There were also little red flags in the interview, such as describing their managing style as "really cool", and that their team is very small and I would have to fit into the "family", and if I attend bible study regularly (I think I was asked this because I went to college with the manager and she's comfortable with me?)

But, lo and behold, I just received the offer and it's ok pay! I am already resolved to not stay in the position for more than a year if I did accept.

I've come to the conclusion that clinical work wouldn't be bad at all for my future, in fact this job may be OK (barring the semi-weird comments about family and manager style), but I HATE the location. I've tried for the past month and a half to find things to do here or people to meet, and I've found that not much has changed since middle school. I'm resigned to do what I did in high school--stay home with my parents or drive 5 hours to visit friends.

Now, there's a possibility for a job in a city I love. I've lived there before and I have some family and friends there (and am not too far from my parents.) I think it's about the same pay as this job, and it's uncertain if I'll get it, but I have a recommendation from someone who works for that company. It's also closer to the line of work I'm aiming for. Part of me dreads so much working in my hometown that I'm willing to bank on this uncertainty.

Talking to my parents, they are willing to have me at home searching for a job for 4 more months, which is extremely kind of them. I know once I get my credentials this month a lot of more opportunities will open for me!

I'm conflicted because now that I do have a job offer, I feel like I should be desperately grateful and hop right on it--especially when a few friends are still struggling to find jobs. I also think that sure, staying in this job for a year may not kill me, but I'm already depressed and anxious in my town--I can't imagine it's going to get better with a full time job. Another part of me knows that I *will* find another job, I just don't know when, and it may be worth it for me to hold out in order to have a happier personal life (aka dating prospects, diverse people and things to do, not living with parents, etc.)

They asked me to start in a couple of weeks, and to let them know my final decision in a couple of days--so the pressure is on. I think I am leaning towards rejecting this first job offer and continuing my search (while starting a blog, networking at local chapters, teaching myself some extra skills and doing CEUs). But am I being a little...stupid? Or maybe too idealistic? I feel like everyone tells new grads to snatch up whatever is offered to them, no matter what. And I would do that for sure! If it wasn't in my tiny, rural, Southern hometown.

Have you been in this situation where it's OK job and bad location vs possibly same or better job and better location?
Thanks for your patience and advice!
posted by socky bottoms to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Im not sure if it's a factor as well, but I don't have too much student debt because of financial aid and fellowships, so I'm very lucky to not feel the fire of Sally Mae upon me while I look for a job.
posted by socky bottoms at 8:13 AM on November 4, 2016

I think there are enough red flags here that you can reject this offer given that it's your first one and you've been searching for less than two months so far.

You hate the location, it's not the type of work you want to do, you have some very valid concerns about the work and management culture, you have some leads on what sounds like a specific better opportunity, and you have another four months to keep searching before you seriously have to start worrying about things like rent and food. I think it's fine to keep looking. If it's three months from now and you haven't found anything better, you might have to take a job like this. But it's not, and you sound like you have a reasonable chance of finding something much better for you.

The only caveat that I would throw out is that you might be able to take this job and actively keep searching for a better one. If you think you have the time and energy to take this job without letting up on your existing job search, do that. You can quit anytime if you get a better offer, even after your first week—don't feel bad about that, they can fire you at any time too. It's a business relationship, don't let your emotions take the wheel. Compartmentalize.

Whatever you do though, don't let up on your job search. I know it's exhausting and draining and psychologically attriting, but you sound like you're doing great. Until you either have a job offer in hand that you feel good about or you've exhausted other options and are running out of time, you need to stay on that horse and apply for jobs as much as you possibly can.

Good luck!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Why can you not take the job and keep looking? It's always good to have income. You don't have to quit looking just because you're receiving a paycheck.
posted by something something at 9:28 AM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I thought about taking the job and keeping on looking, but isn't it way harder to interview for jobs secretly? And I know I could leave after a month, but I would really burn some bridges there. Especially because I personally know the manager. Would it be better to just turn it down now rather than leave abruptly later?
posted by socky bottoms at 9:39 AM on November 4, 2016

Turn it down and keep looking. This job is not a good match to your goals, which are currently pegged at a point somewhere north of "a job, any job." You have family support, pending credentials, and interviews, so this is not a situation where you need to gain employment at any cost.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:44 AM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

If there is literally nothing in this job for you except money and you really think you can forgo money and keep searching then do that. If you take the job, yes, it is a little harder to look for other work while working but people make it work every day and often having a little less free time on your hands can focus your search. If it were me, though, I'd identify things that I want to know and learn in this job to make me a better candidate for my dream job. You'll need a couple months to get the lay of the land and a feel for the work and to identify how it can help you in your next steps in life. Then a couple months to dig in on topics or skills that you are interested in and can help your resume. But, if you really can't stomach the time this would take, then just don't do it. And when you make this choice, one way or the other, do it with conviction. And make sure that you are truly focusing and making progress on your other dreams. If you don't focus and do that, you'll regret this decision but if you can push forward, you'll find a way and you won't regret.
posted by amanda at 9:49 AM on November 4, 2016

I would be very wary of accepting this job, given that it sounds like it's not a fit for where you want to go professionally or in terms of location.

Also, if you're a recent college grad, you haven't had much experience in the workplace in terms of observing what are appropriate behaviors and boundaries to expect from yourself and others. This is really normal as usually, you learn by watching how others behave, and that takes time. Your anecdotes here make me worry that not only would your managers/coworkers overstep appropriate professional boundaries, they wouldn't have much compunction about taking advantage of your inexperience in the workplace to manipulate you into agreeing to things that aren't in your best personal or professional interest. I'd give these people a pass.
posted by superfluousm at 9:54 AM on November 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Consider the worst possible scenario has happened. You turned down the offer, kept looking and fast forward 4 months from now you haven't received any other bites. How do you feel? What do you do now? Do you regret your decision? If so, does your regret outweigh the depression and anxiety of having worked for 4 months at a job you don't love in a place you despise?

I agree with taking a pass on the offer. Like DarlingBri said, this isn't a do or die situation. You have some wiggle room and a fairly promising outlook on finding something better.
posted by bologna on wry at 10:02 AM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Is the organization a religious one? If not, their bizarre question about bible study would cause me to reject their offer out of hand.
posted by MsMolly at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

I would take the job and keep looking. There are two issues working here. First, it really IS easier to get a job when you already have a job. There's just some little quirk in the hiring process that works this way, especially right out of school. It seems as if the sure-fire way to get the job offer you want is to take the one you don't especially care for. I think one reason is that you are much more confident and relaxed during interviews when you already have a regular paycheck coming in. Also keep in mind that you are in a much better position to negotiate with a second offer if you are communicating from a position of relative power by already having a job.

The second issue with the difficulty of leaving so soon after taking the first job is usually overblown in the mind of the recently employed. This happens all the time, and employers are rarely surprised when it does. A decent employer will completely understand and wish you well. Only a crappy one will give you a hard time over it. you really need to stop worrying about this, as long as you deal with it in a professional manner you will be fine.
posted by raisingsand at 1:28 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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