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8 careful considerations for when an unexpected job offer comes along

Sometimes when you least expect it a job offer comes along.

It could be from within or from outside your existing organisation, either way it shouldn’t be ignored. It can be surprising. Random. Out of the blue. But it’s also a great compliment.

It means that someone somewhere thinks that you are worthy of the position that they need to fill (although remember to take what recruiters tell you with a LARGE pinch of salt).

But on the spur of the moment and often with not much time to respond to the request it can feel like you’re being pressured to make a decision. It can throw you off guard and make you worry about doing the right thing or not.

About passing up a potentially great opportunity, or avoiding a disastrous career move.

I know how this feels and the short term emotional turbulence that this can cause as I encountered this exact scenario a couple of weeks ago. A new and innovative project was dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick and I needed to make a quick decision on whether to change course and start something new or stay put with the same team and role.

What I discovered is that it’s quite normal not to be sure straight away, but you can make the decision a whole lot easier for yourself by pausing to consider the following:

  1. Longevity – Does the new shiny team / project have legs or is this a potentially short term change that could leave you high and dry looking for something new in 6 months?

  2. Development – What will you learn from the role? Is there an opportunity for you to develop on a personal and a professional basis? What skills will you be able to gather /finesse?

  3. Risk – What are you leaving behind? How is the timing with your current role? Do you risk losing integrity or damaging your legacy? Will you burn bridges? Piss someone off? Leave your current colleagues in the shit? Do you care anyway?

  4. Culture – In a job interview you should be asking as many questions as the interviewer. Some of the key ones (after you’ve established that it’s a good fit) are: ‘What’s it like to work here?’; ‘Do you enjoy coming to work?’; ‘How is a healthy work life balance encouraged?’; ‘When was the last time the team had a social event?’

  5. Colleagues – Who will you be working with? Who are your stakeholders? Who will you be sitting with / talking to each day? Will you be joining a small cross functional team, or a large siloed dysfunctional one? Do you even like the people you work with at the moment?

  6. Location – Where will you be working? What’s the commute going to be like? Will you have the option of working from home? Where’s the closest gym?

  7. Gut feeling – Do not underestimate the power of the gut, more often than not it’s directing you down the right path. Trust it (but be careful it’s not just wind)

  8. Pros / Cons – The simple act of writing down the good and bad points of making a switch vs staying where you are is sometimes all it takes to make your mind up. Remove emotion and apply logic. At the end of the exercise the answer is often right there in front of you in black and white.


These considerations helped me to make a decision to stay where I was. For a couple of days I was back and forth on what to do, but then I took a moment to slow down and work things through.

When reviewing my current role I came to the conclusion that I like the people. I like the location. I like the ethos. I’m still growing and learning in the role. My manager is pretty cool. The new project is high risk and potentially short term. When you look at all that I’d be stupid to move. These nine considerations turned it from being a dilemma into an easy decision.

I hope they help you. Good luck on making your decision over the next job offer. Let me know how it goes, and let me know what else you consider that’s not in the list.

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