Will the job itself be a better fit for you? And what are your values, and will taking this job honor them?
Hi, I have a strange, “first-world problem” kind of question that I’m slightly embarrassed to ask. I have a good job that I really like. It pays well, I get raises, commissions, and bonuses, and I love the working environment. My boss is a wonderful person and the company is well respected.
My dilemma? There’s a well-known business group that deals in multiple ventures looking to hire someone with my specific background and experience for an exciting position. My name was suggested by no less than four mutual acquaintances to them.
I got a call from the owners of the group last week, and was invited to a meeting. I went, mostly out of curiosity, and heard more about the offer. It sounds good. Like, really good. The job description sounds like ideal work, and, without me even asking about salary, they shared a number that made me blink. It’s double my current salary.
I assume most people’s reaction to hearing this would be: grab it!
But I’m not so comfortable.
For starters, I’m thinking Don’t fix a good thing. If I’m happy where I am, why make a change?
Another thing that’s bothering me, and I think is the biggest deal, is the money itself.
I was raised by honest, hardworking professionals. I grew up with the mentality that you go to school, work hard, and slowly work your way up to a comfortable life. We always had what we needed, but being wealthy was never a goal. My parents never chased money or looked for a more lavish lifestyle. It feels wrong in some way to “skip up the ladder” so quickly, toward an ideal that possibly contradicts my beliefs.
I’m looking for an outside, unbiased perspective. What do you think?
Offered too much money
That’s a great question.
This job offer is making you question your core beliefs, values, and goals, and I’d say that kind of self-reflection is an excellent way to approach a job offer.
You’re grappling with a choice between two good things, one known, and one unknown. My questions for you focus on two areas: Will the job itself be a better fit for you? And what are your values, and will taking this job honor them?
Let’s start with the first point. Is leaving a good job for an exciting offer a wise idea?
I’d start by analyzing both the best- and worst-case scenarios at this new job. In the best-case scenario, you do work you love, for a huge amount of money, and you’re thrilled that you had this opportunity come your way.
In the worst-case scenario, we can imagine a number of things. Maybe you discover that the job is very different than it sounded, or the funding for your salary isn’t there. Maybe the venture you were hired for collapses, or what if you can’t perform at the level they expected? Worst-case scenario might have you left without a job.
Once we look at the worst thing that can happen, it helps to kill the thrill of what the job sounds like on paper, and it becomes easier to take a good, hard look at the options.
Now let’s move on to the second point — your value system.
Most people don’t wake up one morning and decide to write a personal values statement. Values are something innate that we recognize most quickly when they are threatened. Getting this job offer is making you question your values and your desire to uphold your family’s standards. Let’s take this chance to think about what your “Money Values” really are, and if this offer is in alignment with your higher beliefs.
You say that you were raised to value hard, honest work. It sounds like you feel like taking this job without having worked your way toward it slowly makes you feel like you’re doing something dishonest.
I’d suggest looking at things differently. Have you ever been to a shuk? You look at an artisan bowl and ask for the price. $200. You walk away. You return at the end of the season, at the end of the day, offer $50, and walk away with a beautiful gift to bring home. What happened? The bowl stayed the same, but the market changed. Did you “cheat” the market when you waited until the end of the season? Did the seller “cheat” you at the beginning? Of course not. It’s a marketplace, and that’s how it works.
The career market is the same way. You’re the same professional you were before this call. The market for someone with your specific expertise and someone who comes with a specific recommendation is small, and so your value in the eyes of the new employer is large.
The next question is: Does your value go up at your current employer too, because of this?
The answer, often, is yes.
If you share the offer with your current employer, there is a strong chance he will offer you an increase to stay (although don’t expect your salary to double). Before you make a final decision, I strongly recommend trying this.
Another value question you brought up was “the pursuit of wealth” and a “lavish lifestyle” which you shared was never a goal for you or your parents. It sounds like you believe somehow that desiring wealth for its own sake is not respectable. Many people share this belief, and either don’t desire wealth, or wouldn’t admit to it.
Let’s question this as well.
I think that when people look down on wealth, they’re not looking down at the bank-account balance, but as you said, the lavish lifestyle that often gets flaunted alongside it. This is a choice.
Can you think of anyone who is wealthy but lives a simple lifestyle?
Can you think of anyone who is struggling who lives a lavish lifestyle?
I certainly can. Lifestyle choices can be made deliberately by you, not just by your bank-account balance.
If you do accept this job, I would suggest sitting down with your wife beforehand and writing down what kind of lifestyle you wish to have, and what values you wish to instill in your children. You can review this list regularly (or on your anniversary), and make sure that your values, not your income, determine the way you live.
How to evaluate an (unsolicited) job offer against your current (good) job:
-How long has the company been around? Are they financially and economically stable?
-Speak to employees at the potential company — do people usually stay there long-term?
-What will the work really be like? If you are taking over someone’s role, try to meet with them and find out.
-What do you enjoy most and least about your current job? Will this job have more or less of that?
-Assuming the initial salary is higher, what is the potential for growth over the next five years?
Shaina Keren is a career consultant who helps people discover and create careers that fit their best talents, interests, and life goals. She also advises businesses on hiring and keeping “the right people in the right seat,” in a win-win approach to growing businesses and careers.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 851)
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