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Job Offers: Listening to Your Intuition

Rather than talk about really granular and technical stuff today, I want to talk about something that isn’t brought up enough – our intuition.

While we talk about our ‘gut instincts’ in the other areas of our lives, it’s rare that the concept of intuition receives the credit it deserves when it comes to our work. And when it comes to the job search?  Seems like it’s nearly out the window.  For those looking for a new opportunity, or to escape their current role, it’s more about “do they like me?” and often forgetting the other side of the equation!

“Do I like them?” is vital to ask yourself.  And not just the company’s product.  Do you like the person you’d be working for?  Do you feel you can trust the group you’d be working with and the manager you’d report to?  Do you understand the expectations for the position and what will constitute success – in their minds?

Think about it.  Have you been in a situation where you’ve been annoyed in the interview process, but proceeded anyways?  Then after starting the job, realize why you should have thought about it further before accepting the offer?  Oh, and by the way – do you know why you are the top candidate for the position at the time of the offer?

And finally, can you articulate to yourself why would you accept the offer?  Is it the work, the people, the benefits, or…?  Make sure you know WHY you want a job and what you will and won’t sacrifice. It doesn’t have to be the greatest job ever, that’s not what I’m saying.  You just need to make sure you’re being honest and fair to yourself when assessing the employer.

I remember a job that I took once that was more out of desperation to pay my mortgage.  It was exactly the opposite of what I said I would do, and I remember in the interview, I asked about the team, and the answer was really vague.  Afterwards (but before the offer), the hiring manager said he’d invite me to meet the team.  He never got around to it, and I accepted the job only having met my manager in a panel interview side by side with two people I never would actually work with during my time there.

What is still bugging you at the end of the process that you haven’t asked about?  Be honest with them, and with yourself.

A lot of people I know are in a tremendous phase of their lives where they are about to start a new chapter, contemplating “what direction should I head?”  I completely know that feeling, and can offer these bits of advice:

  1. Listen to your intuition.  It’s there for a reason (men AND women!).

  2. Allow yourself to evolve as a professional.  You only live once!

  3. It’s OK to change your mind – don’t let decisions be black & white.

  4. Not sure what you want to do? It’s okay.  Ask others what they see you doing, where they see you excelling – you might be surprised at what they come up with as you contemplate your next move.

  5. If something doesn’t seem right, ask the questions you need to ask BEFORE you commit.

  6. And if feasible?  Don’t accept the job if something just isn’t sitting right.  I promise, you will find out after you start and, well..ugh.

Something I’ve had the opportunity to learn is trusting myself more deeply.  I’ve had some great mentors (some unbeknownst to me at the time I’d be calling them that, haha) who have been fantastic at the gentle push.  It’s rare to find that combination of someone who will help you get stronger, while also ensuring your safety to react and deal with change that, for most, is not a smooth process.  So you know what I’m going to say next, right?  Yep.  Find that mentor.

I cannot stress enough how finding someone you can trust, who can be objective yet still understand where you shine the brightest, can change your life.  We all have our insecurities, but in the end, intention is not always enough when it comes to the people we work with.  Mentors will help you get to that place of understanding how to make that crucial decision of whether to take or reject that offer, whether to stay or leave that job, whether to trust or avoid that individual, and so on and so forth.  They won’t tell you what to do.  They won’t dismiss or criticize your thought process.  Instead, good mentors (and good leaders) allow you to still be yourself, while giving you the tools to help yourself be successful.

As someone asked me recently, “do you think it will get better?”  Ask yourself that question.  Like the movie quote, what if this is as good as it gets?  Seriously!  That’s a question a therapist asked me eight or nine years ago when I was contemplating filing for divorce.  She then followed immediately with the next question – IF this is as good as it gets, can you make it work?  Will you be able to find a way to be happy?  If not, you know what you need to do.

People come to me  frequently in my career, at all levels and stages in their careers.  I allow them to vent, I empathize with their frustrations.  We’ve all been there, and we’ve all got the right to express our hurt at a situation.  My duty, both to others and myself, is to ask the question at the end of every ‘what do I do’ type of conversation, and see what the first thing is that comes to mind as a reaction...

Yep…What does your gut tell you?

"Man will have replicated his own intelligence not when he teaches a computer to reason but when he teaches a computer to have a nagging feeling in its circuits." ~Robert Brault


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