Something Happened on the Way to Accepting the Job

Well, today I turned down a job offer. I would have made more money and had a better commute, but I am absolutely convinced that the added stress of the new job would not be worth what they’re willing to pay me in return. I’ll stick with my current job, thanks anyway.

I had been anticipating this offer for a couple of months, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I was certain about my criteria for changing jobs—how much I would need to make, how much vacation I could get, and what type of job it would be.

Along the way, I encountered some tell-tale signs that sat in my gut uncomfortably (pardon the mixed metaphor; I am still on my first cup of coffee):

  1. If I accepted the new job, I would relinquish my office with a window that looks out onto a pretty wooded area (at my current job), for a cubical in a dark basement.
  2. I would have a large sales quota, but would not have the opportunity to make much commission (and the base salary is distinctly room temperature).
  3. The HR person was phony. Shallow, even. Probably not a valid reason not to take a job, but her insistence that their offer was so fantastic got on my nerves. “We’ve done a lot of research” about wages, benefits, etc. and she truly seemed to think their offer was great. But for me, it didn’t add up. A great offer to them does not necessarily equal a great offer to me.
  4. This prospective employer would perhaps be willing to give me raises moving forward if I performed well, but did not acknowledge that my own experiences are also valuable and would bring a lot to this job. I’m not fresh out of college, I have the perfect experience for this job. It doesn’t seem to count. Frustrating.
  5. No ability to work from home. (“We’re not set up for that.”)
  6. They work during snowstorms.
  7. I wouldn’t be eligible for the company’s 401(k) program until I was employed there six months. Why would I want to stay out of the market now?
  8. After 6 months, I would be eligible for 3 sick days. Gee, thanks. I’m rarely sick, but this type of policy just sets you up for wanting to be sick. It reeks of “we don’t trust you.”

On the other hand, I liked the company, products, people I’d work with directly, and responsibilities enough so that I’d be willing to work with all those tell-tale signs if the offer were better, i.e., if it met my criteria.

After four interviews with this company, over four months, and meeting with about a dozen decisionmakers (including 5 sales managers!), I got an offer. I thought we could work things out and, over the long holiday weekend, I settled into the idea that I would probably be accepting a new job. After negotiations that didn’t produce a reasonable return on my investment, I turned down the offer this morning. 

I would generally expect negotiations to last for more than a couple of days, but the employer didn’t budge much and didn’t show signs of being interested in how to get me on board. I sold, sold, sold, but they didn’t.

So, I turned down the offer this morning. It feels a bit anticlimactic after all those interviews, but the process was still good for me. I got some great interview experience and met some nice people. Maybe they’ll realize what great talent they’re missing out on and call me up in a few weeks with an offer I can’t refuse. Ha, ha!

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