What would you do if the kind of career opportunity you’ve been eagerly seeking suddenly appeared–but it came with a “catch”? That is, it carried some baggage that wasn’t what you wanted. Would you walk away in disappointment or take it and hope for the best? Career opportunity decisions can force choices you’re not sure how to make.
Let’s suppose you’re targeting advancement from your current position as a sales department manager to a role as sales director–within your current company or at a different company. You’ve been discreetly looking at job possibilities for several weeks and finally get an opportunity for a higher role in your existing company, along with a decent compensation increase.
What’s the catch? The company wants you to relocate from your current location in Pennsylvania to its new headquarters in California. In fact, the job offer is contingent on your acceptance of the move.
The problem with this is that your family is nicely settled in Pennsylvania. Your spouse has a great job there, and your kids are happy in their schools. Also, you’re aware that the cost of living in California is higher than in Pennsylvania, and your current home wouldn’t sell for enough to make up the difference in California’s exploding housing market.
So where do you go from here? How do you make the best choice and avoid one that’s going to cause you grief?
Before you can seriously consider accepting the offer, you need to talk things over with your spouse and children. (The children might not be given a final vote, but they do factor into your decision, because you’ll all have to live with it.)
If the outcome is a decision to go ahead and make the move, that raises all kinds of other decisions, arrangements, etc., that need to be addressed. As anyone knows who has done it, that’s far from an easy task. It requires a major effort to reestablish yourself, both geographically and professionally.
On the other hand, if you decide to walk away from the offer, it could adversely affect your current job. It might send the message to your employer that you’re not interested in career advancement or aren’t flexible about it. Turning down such an offer could also cause you to become dissatisfied with your current situation but without an immediate hope of rectifying it. This can have a demotivating effect on you and, potentially, on your ongoing job performance.
The only really dumb career decision would be to make a choice without carefully considering the ramifications–the pros and cons–insofar as you can identify those. In other words, acting too fast and mainly based on emotional impulse.
It’s important to recognize that all choices can involve trade-offs. In a perfect world, you could “have it all,” but who lives in that world? Sometimes you just need to evaluate your choices and decide what makes the most sense overall. If all goes well, you’ll find that the career opportunity you accept will benefit you and everyone else, while the one you decline will turn out to be a best-fit for another candidate.