Job offers are exciting and flattering. They can bring a sense of relief and confidence, and they can be the answer to worry, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. Or they can be the beginning of it. If you are offered a position that, either because of the role itself or the environment of the company, doesn’t quite fit, losing sleep over the decision is next on the list. Ask yourself these questions to find out if you should accept a great job offer from a bad company.
What makes you feel that the company isn’t the right fit? Is it the pay? The hours? The commute? The leadership? The role they are offering? The company culture? The product? If any of these things are deal breakers to you and will prevent you from being successful (or will promote your misery), it might be best to keep looking. If you are able to compromise and plausibly find other aspects of the job that meet your needs, keep looking for a job that you can feel optimistic and excited about.
Does the job align with your career values? Most people are happiest when their daily efforts align with their value system. Values are different for everyone, and could be: teamwork, quality leadership and supervision, ability to use skills and talents, pay and prestige, feeling challenged, doing good for others, believing in the company mission, or having autonomy. If you aren’t passionate about selling the company’s product, but can be motivated by the phenomenal staff and the corporate mission, the job can remain a viable option.
Will the job get you closer to your professional goals? Once you have identified your career aspirations or at least the direction you want to go (e.g. management of others or owning your own business), consider what the job offers you towards those goals. Perhaps it will add a new skill or industry background to your resume. Or maybe it will give you a higher title. Maybe you can observe and experience processes that will serve you in future positions. Consider the educational or training opportunities that are included or paid for while working there. Reflect on the valuable connections and business contacts you may make to further your future.
Are you making assumptions about the limitations of the job or company? It can be beneficial to consult with current or former staff to verify if your perception of the company or product is accurate. There may be more flexibility and room for creativity or autonomy than what first appears with the role. Perhaps you may discover that the “boring” industry might be on the brink of growth. The company itself might have incredible quarterly numbers allowing for expansion plans and the creation of new positions that might offer a better fit for you later on in your career.
Do you have (or can you wait) for other options? Avoid running from the frying pan into the fire and saying yes to a job you don’t like just to get away from your current misery. It is certainly possible to find a job that aligns with most of your needs if you have the patience to search for it. Listen to what your gut is saying about accepting a job. Some red flags to consider: the interview process is sloppy or too fast (they are just looking for a warm body and your needs will matter very little), staff seem uncertain about what the job position and responsibilities are (this indicates a chaotic structure without sound footing and is a threat to job stability), or you can’t get the job description, employee handbook, or compensation information in writing (either they are hiding something about the job expectations or they are making empty promises). Jobs that are worth the risk will allow you to have all the information you need ahead of time and in writing so you can make an informed decision.
If all else fails, gather your thoughts and make a pros and cons list about the job. Then meet a good friend or colleague for a drink and talk through your list. They will likely remind you of all your assets, your values, and your proven ability to manage what comes your way. This will be extremely beneficial when you make your decision about whether or not to accept a job offer from a company you just can’t get on board with.