Things to consider before accepting a new job

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Rey Elbo

In The Workplace

I have a “happy problem” because I received a very tempting job offer (triple of my current pay and perks) made by another company. I’d like to consider it except that I’m comfortable with my current boss and my colleagues, whom I’ve known for more than 13 years. Could you me give advice? — Can’t Decide.

God gave us two ends: One to think with and one to sit on. Heads you win, tails you lose. With your head, you need to fully understand yourself and what you want. With that alone, you’ll readily understand if the new job is the right one for you.

You sit it out, and you may never know if the same opportunity will come again.

Sure, you’re old enough, but unless you’ve applied Johari Window model — a technique to better understand an individual’s relationship with oneself and others — then it could be difficult, particularly, if it falls under a blind spot and the “unknown.” But at least, you’ve only two choices.

Judging from your question, it appears to me that you’re torn between two choices — material things (triple pay package) and relationships with people. Would you take the risk of working with people you don’t like inside a company that offers the best material package for you? Or, would you rather remain in your current job where you’re happy with your boss and colleagues at work? Which is which?

The best approach for you is to conduct an inventory of what you want in your work life and if you can live with it till kingdom come. The inventory may include the “people chart” as prescribed by Richard N. Bolles in his annual edition of What Color is Your Parachute?

Bolles’ “people chart” has four columns: One, the places (or organizations) that you have worked thus far in your life. Two, without naming names, describe the “kinds of people there who drove (you) nuts in those organizations.” Describe their character and why you dislike them. Three, “kinds of people (you’d) prefer not to have to work with, in order of preference.” Rank them according to who is the “best” and “worse” person to work with.

Four, describe the “kinds of people (you’d) like to work with, in order of preference.”

Now, if your current job is your first job, then you can make do by simply defining the best character of people that you’d like to emulate and worse characters that you hate.

Now what? Assuming that you accept the new job, then how do you intend to proceed? Remember that in a new work environment, there will be challenges involving your new boss, unfamiliar colleagues, coping with their style, the new demands and responsibilities that come with it, new things that you need to learn, and the pressure of wanting to do a good job right away and make a positive first impression.

But what if you can’t avoid making a mistake? What, if in your desire to harvest low-hanging fruit, you stepped on the toes of some people, including your boss? After all, we learn by making mistakes. Then, how would you minimize the impact of making those mistakes? Obviously, by knowing what could happen to you if you accept that new job.

This can only be done by asking the following questions directly to the HR manager, who can give you an objective view, because he’s also interested in reducing early turnover within the first year of hiring which can be disastrous for you as well. If you agree with this, then the following questions are very important to explore:

One, what is the reason for the vacancy? Was the former occupant fired or volunteered to resign to accept a new job elsewhere? If the previous job holder was fired, then explore the reason or reasons. The same thing applies even if he moved elsewhere. With these questions, you can get a preview of what could happen to you, if not provide you with some ideas on the expected perils of your new job.

One more thing. Beware if the HR manager is mum on this issue. This alone would be a red flag. Whatever the answer, probe for the reason and pursue the logical conclusions.

Two, why can’t the company promote someone from within? It’s the logical thing to do for a dynamic organization that knows the value of business continuity, risk management, and if only to guarantee the value of employee morale, among other things. If they can’t promote someone from within, then why not? Is there an updated succession plan? If none, what prevents them from doing it? Or if they have something, then why can’t they implement it?

Three, what’s the management style of my prospective boss? The boat matters more than the rowing, so to speak. A toxic boss is difficult to manage even if you have the best of intentions. Is he an insecure type? Is he the type who would not mince words and curse people even for minor mistakes? Is he the type who is equally interested in your career advancement?

Next on my mind is   your 13 years of service with your current company. Are you superstitious? How well can you handle the number 13? I remember happening it to me close to 25 years ago when I was pirated by the big boss of one company, who tripled my current pay and topped it with a new car and housing loan – all to sweeten the deal.

I got a flat tire when I was on my way to my prospective new office to sign the employment contract. It happened despite the fact that I was using a one-year old car with brand new set of tires given to me by my employer at the time. It’s good that a taxi driver helped me change the flat tire so that I managed to arrive on the appointed time with my future boss.

Looking back, I’m constrained to reflect on that incident. That’s because I didn’t stay long (only about 15 months) with the pirating company as I had a serious disagreement with my boss on certain principles. So what can we conclude from that incident? Was my flat tire a sign that I should not have accepted the new job? I’m not sure.

In your case, your 13 years of service may be telling you something. Is this the year when bad luck could happen to you in your current company? We can’t tell. One thing is sure though, you can always pray that it does not happen to you.