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Is a one-year contract worth risking my future?

Published on Thursday, 12 Jul 2012
Rebecca Cheung

I'm working for a public organisation on a three-year contract. It's a permanent position and I recently received an offer from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for a one-year non-civil servant post that is subject to renewal depending on the needs of the department. The salary on offer is HK$6,000 more than my present post and I wonder whether I should accept it. baby

Without having further background information, it seems the key incentive in considering the offer is the additional HK$6,000 each month for a year. Understandably, the extra income is very tempting, considering that the published statistics on median monthly household income is HK$18,000.

So, let's consider your possible gains from the additional income: does it allow you to pay for further education or training that will give you the qualifications for an even better job? Does it make up for a lump sum down payment on a property or enable you to live independently?

If the offer cannot meet these or similar short-term objectives, is it worth the risk to forgo your current longer-term contract for an even shorter one? Ask yourself a question: are you enjoying your current work? If the answer is yes, and the feeling is mutual, it seems advantageous to stay because you have a greater chance of getting your contract extended for another three years.

If, however, you find your current job unbearable or see no chance of a renewal, and you don't want to wait, then take advantage of the offer. But be prepared for the following: unknown job prospects after one short year in a volatile economy; and a less stable job history if you leave again.

As we see rounds of lay-offs, more than ever, it is important to manage our careers with deliberate thought. Avoid changing or accepting jobs for mere immediate gratification of financial gain without considering suitability, career prospects (in terms of skills and knowledge development), and possible future repercussions.

Rebecca Cheung, managing director Greater China of the cut-e Group, is an expert in assessment and psychometric testing for talent selection, leadership development, succession planning and career guidance

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