Should I Take a Job I Don’t Want?

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Searching for a new job can be hard and exhausting. And if you finally received a job offer, you may be tempted to make the leap to a new position. However, if you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that the job offer that you received is one that you’re not particularly excited about.

In this post, we share five rules to help you decide whether or not you should take a job offer that you don’t want. We start by walking you through situations when you should probably take the job, and then move to situations when it’s better to decline the offer.

When to Take a Job You Don’t Want

When You’re in a Position of Financial Need

Ideally, want to be searching for a new job while you already have a job. In that case, you’re searching from a position of strength and can be selective.

However, that often is not the case, and you may be in a position of financial need during your search. If that’s your situation, and particularly if you have a family that you need to provide for, re-establishing a source of income ASAP should be your priority.

So if you really need salary and/or benefits to put food on the table for you and/or your family, you should probably take the job. And if it’s one that you really don’t want, you can continue searching from a better job while you’re earning income in your new position.

When It Takes You Down a Path You Want to Go

We all want a job with a great title, good pay, at a great company, with minimal stress, etc. However, it takes a while to get to that point.

So if you have a job offer that may not meet the title and salary that you ultimately want, but you think puts you on a strange path towards that, you’ll want to strongly consider taking the job. Situations where you may receive a job offer like this are if you’re switching careers, if you have the opportunity to join an amazing company, or you’re early in your career.

When to Decline a Job You Don’t Want

If You May be Labeled a “Job Hopper”

Like it or not, bouncing around from job to job with a variety of stops that are less than one year can be a red flag. It’s something recruiters look for, it’s something that I look for as a hiring manager, and it’s something that you may get asked about. 

If you’ve bounced around a variety of jobs, and have a new offer that you’re not particularly excited about, I would recommend not taking the job. It may be different if it’s a fantastic job offer and a place that you think you would want to stay long term, but if there’s a decent chance you would leave again soon, the risk of long term damage to your resume isn’t worth it.

When You’re Already in a Good Position

As discussed above, you ideally want to be searching for a job when you already have a job. That way, you’re looking from a position of strength and can be selective about the opportunity you take.

And if this applies to you and you’re already in a good job, then there’s no reason for you to take a job that you’re not excited about, and you’re better off waiting for something better to come along.

If You Think It Will Make You Miserable

Your job plays a massive role in your quality of you life. It’s where you source the bulk of your income. It’s what consumes a lot of your mental energy. And your co-workers are who you spend a lot of your time with.

If you hate your job, then it cascades into multiple aspects of your life. So even if you have a job that provides a great salary, title, or other benefits, but you think it will make you miserable, in my view then it’s not worth it.

Conclusion

It can be tempting to want to take a job offer after a long job search and interview process. And there are some cases where you may need to. However, ideally, you’re looking from a position of strength and, in most cases, can say no to job offers that you’re not excited about.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and a marketer and business professional with over 10 years of experience. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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