Getting a job offer, particularly if you’ve been out of the market for a while, is exciting. You might think: “I can do this, I’ve done it before and they’ll pay me more than my last employer …what have I got to lose?” A lot, actually.
If you work in banking, there’s a high chance that you’ve lost your job at some point. It’s part of the culture, and bankers have their own ‘unique’ coping mechanisms, but it’s still a blow. You can step back and reassess. There’s a good chance that if you were unhappy in your last position and you don’t make a conscious effort to carefully consider your choices before accepting the next job offer, taking the first offer on the table is just a waste of time.
You might think of your next career move as an investment in yourself. There is always a tradeoff between risk and return so. How much risk are you willing to take to achieve your goals? Will the job you’re considering stretch you enough so you’ll expand your skill-set or increase your reputation? If it’s too great a leap and the job volatility too high, will you be willing and able to recoup your mojo and regain your previous standing in the industry?
When we invest in more valuable yet volatile job opportunities, we have to consider if our personal risk tolerance leans toward being conservative, moderate, aggressive or very aggressive. In other words, how much are you willing to risk in order to accelerate your career growth? If stepping outside your comfort zone will keep you awake at night, then carefully consider your next move.
Ask specific questions about job responsibilities. Will you be responsible for managing team outcomes or working as an individual contributor? Are deliverables tied to tight deadlines requiring considerable overtime? What percentage of time will you be traveling, attending conferences and work events, and how will you be compensated for working on weekends or for unexpected time away from family? Will you be considered for additional compensation for outstanding performance or going beyond team targets for new business? Is the organization open to bold ideas or asking employees to march to the same drummer?
Finally, consider if that job offer is firmly aligned with your purpose and, if you don’t know what that is, begin there. Does the job support your passion … the thing that lights you up, gets you out of bed in the morning, has you brimming with new ideas? Do you see your job as part of your life mission or vocation or simply as a means for earning money? Will the job give you an opportunity to showcase what you’re great at and what you love to do? Will doing your part change the world even in some small way? And, not least of all, will you be fairly compensated for the work you do? Of course, not every job will tick all the boxes, but it gives you something to consider before jumping in.
Diane Baranello is the former global training director for the Private Bank at Citi, a career coach and the founder of Coaching for Distinction.
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