Too paralysed by indecision and fear to make up my mind whether to accept a job offer.
February 28, 2007 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Seeking advice on whether to take a job, and experiences of those who did or didn't accept job offers.

I work in statistics/performance management. I've been offered a post in a different organisation at about £3.5K more, though I still have to negotiate the actual starting salary. There's an increased travel cost of about £1K. The post has fairly similar responsibilities to my current one, though in another area of work so I would have some learning to do, and probably managing more staff. From what the interviewers said, there are problems with the technical set-up in my new team and there are likely to be a lot of headaches for me working with the new system.

My problem is that I am in my comfort zone in my current post, and can't decide whether to make the shift. I know my work very well and am respected in the organisation, though workload is a real issue and I am constantly trying to meet crisis deadlines. I work flexible hours in order to do research in my own time - I think I would be able to do that in the new post, but it would be harder for the first year until I was up to speed with the work. I find any change very difficult to deal with. The main pros for accepting this post are the money, not wanting to regret turning it down (which could spiral into depression), and that at some point working in this organisation would be a good move for me. The cons are the inevitable stress of new responsibilities, new systems, new people and a new environment, and fear of not being up to the job (I think I may have over-sold myself at interview, having read too many AskMe posts about interviews beforehand).

I would appreciate advice about and people's experiences of accepting or not accepting posts. What issues did you consider when making decisions like these? Do you have suggestions about how best to cope in a new job (I have read this thread)? If you have turned down a job offer, are there ways you managed not to regret too much the lost opportunities?
posted by paduasoy to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Cognitive dissonance can be a powerful force, especially when it comes to major life decisions, so you're wise to consider the impacts before making the decision.

I think you've already done a fair job of weighing the positives and negatives, although sometimes listing them in 2 columns and weighing how it looks on paper can really help. You could consider giving items on either side a weighted score (1 for small impact on your life, 3 for huge, 2 for medium, etc.) and then do the math, as well.

Many of your cons play into a subtle pro, however: challenging yourself is good at points in life, especially when you've reached a level of comfort. Getting out of your comfort zone is key to growing and even *further* expanding your horizons. In the end, even if you did oversell yourself, this could be a great opportunity to grow into that actual person that you portrayed yourself so skillfully to be.

I definitely oversold myself for more money when I came into the consulting industry, and I have not yet (after almost 2 years) ever felt very qualified for the work types and load that has been constantly thrown my way since day one, but I wouldn't for the life of me go back to the comfortable status quo I had in the industry I was previously in.

If you do decide to turn it down, living without regret (be it job-related, or any other type) is mainly a conscious decision you have to make not to dwell on what might have been. What might have been, never will be, and there is simply no point or benefit in wasting your time wishing it had.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:22 PM on February 28, 2007

Best answer: My Dad used to say, once you've made a deal, stop looking around because sooner or later you'll find a better deal. Dad was more that a bit pessimistic but the concept holds some value regarding whether (or not) you accept this new position. Whichever way you go, do not regret it and don't sweat it.

If this is such a tough thing to imagine doing, why were you inteviewing in the first place? Just wondering.

Job interviews are like dating. Everybody oversells themselves. It is understood and accepted, unless you outright lied about your abilities (I've seen it done).

If your biggest fear is regretting missing this chance then damn the torpedoes! Regret is something you can't go back and fix later. Mostly.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:28 PM on February 28, 2007

Best answer: Growth is moving from one set of problems to a better set of problems. Is that happening here?

Have you been 'type cast' at your current job? My experience is that the first 6 months at a new job set the tone for the rest of your tenure. If you are having steady increases in responsibility, challenge, income, and status, then you are not done with your current job. If you are a mere "functionary", you are.

Is the current job making it possible for you to have a life outside of work? Is it morally rewarding? Are there fundamental dislikes present about the industry, management, co-workers, corporate culture?

What about the new job is intriguing? Can you present that to your current employer and tell them they have a chance to keep you if they provide it? You have nothing to lose, you know?

In general, the earlier you are in your career, the better it is to change jobs. Things get stickier in your 50's, so if you have wanderlust, the time to do it is now.

Good luck.
posted by FauxScot at 6:03 PM on February 28, 2007

Best answer: For all the USian's here £3.5K ~= $6800us.

>There's an increased travel cost of about £1K.
Does this mean you will have a longer comute to the new job too?

Another thing to consider is how much of this extra money will you take home after taxes and your additional costs?

For example, if your going to pay 25% (a wild guess on my part) of that on income taxes (that leaves you with £2625, after your additional £1000 in travel costs that work out to about £1625 more. (So £31 a week or so more?)

So here's a question I think you need to ponder:
Will the additional workload & responsibilities advance your career so that you can get an even better paying job in a few years? And is that extra work load worth the additional money and the (possibly) longer commute (& work-day)?

But, do your sums and see if the what U think is the additional money is what you'll find in your pay cheque at the end of the week. Also, could you end up in another tax bracket?

posted by zaphod at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks to all of you. I finally accepted the job. I took FauxScot's advice about seeingwhat my current employers could offer me, but that was just fair words and promises, so in the end I felt I needed to leave to keep some dignity. All your responses were helpful, so - much as it looks a bit sad - I'm going for best answer on all. Now I'm going away to panic and make lists.
posted by paduasoy at 11:47 PM on March 2, 2007

Response by poster: Returning after a month of negotiations and changes of mind, just to let anyone who's interested know that I didn't take the post in the end (my current employers made a better offer and I was concerned that the new post wasn't right for me).
posted by paduasoy at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2007

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