With a tight economy, many people out of work and fewer jobs out there, why on earth would anyone actually turn down a job offer when they are unemployed? I’m guessing that you can come up with several scenarios on your own, but some include: low wages, unforeseen travel requirements, lack of child care options, a poor fit, pride etc.
Imagine though you haven’t been out of work for very long and you’ve got lots of enthusiasm for the job search, your attitude is positive and you’re looking to get something close to what you’ve just been doing at approximately the same salary. Being offered a job outside your desired profession, or at a substantially lower wage might not be in your best interests to accept. Of course if you are surrounded by others who have been out of work for an extended period of time, they’ll be telling you that you’re crazy.
So here’s the thing; when you are taking action that runs counter to what others are collectively doing or telling you to do, it can be empowering or unwise and it’s up to you to know the difference. If for example your last job paid $35.00 per hour, and you’ve just been offered a job at $15.00 per hour, you might rationalize that the $20.00 per hour drop in wages isn’t something you are prepared to take. Now if it’s only your pride standing in the way but you’d love the job itself and you could get by on $15.00 per hour, some would argue you should take the job because you’d be happy in the work and you could pay all your bills etc.
However, if you really believe that by taking that $15.00 job, you’ll constantly be beating yourself up over it and you’ll walk around with a huge chip on your shoulder on the job, you should decline it gracefully. All that’s likely to happen is you damage your self-perception, you hurt your image, you obtain poor references if any at all, and you may actually hurt your chances at getting a better salary the next job you apply to when they ask, “What did you make in your last job?”, and you answer $15.00 instead of $35.00 per hour.
Everything becomes relative. Much of what is right to do or not will depend on how long you’ve been out of work, your financial responsibilities and commitments, whether you are single or have a second family income, what the job itself would entail, your strength of character and more. And of critical importance is whether you have some long-term commitment or goal in mind related to your career. Many people just go along in life moving from job to job without ever having career goals, and some are exceedingly happy in this choice; they worry about other things you may not.
Turning down a job offer may actually lead to a counter offer made by the employer to attract you to accept; perhaps not more money, but other incentives that may woo you move. In order for this to even be contemplated by the employer, they must have full and accurate awareness of why you are declining their offer. In other words, what barrier exists that keeps you from accepting? There are instances where applicants negotiate moving expenses to go across the country or leave the country altogether. There are perks like hours of work, working part-time from home etc. that may not actually cost the company any money, but mean the difference between signing you on or having you work elsewhere.
Passing up a job offer can also just boost your self-esteem. You may have been frustrated being rejected by employers and lo and behold here you are turning down one of them! Of course this euphoria should be tempered because of course you are still unemployed and shouldn’t break out the champagne yet if you are still on a budget. A job just might be beneath you, or just a really bad fit for your skills. You might look down on a job that pays way below what you’ve been used to, but the people in those jobs are still people of value doing needed work. If you find yourself looking down on a job; never look down on the people performing it. Until you know their background histories, and why they are where they are, you should hold you tongue and reconsider any thought of spouting off your unsolicited opinions.
You know another reason to turn down a job offer? You research a company, and what you read on their website is not what you experience at the interview. You see people who are rude, unhappy, isolated or just plainly ineffective. The interviewer isn’t engaged, or seems desperate. Sometimes the cues you pick up on visiting the company and going through the interview tell you that you won’t enjoy your time there, or your reputation might be tarnished by working for a company.
Have you ever noticed that after going a long time with no offers, you suddenly get not one but two or three? This is yet another reason why you might turn down an offer of employment. Turning down an offer may mean your circumstances are turning around.
Something to think about.