Saying No to Job Opportunities

Our careers are one of the most important parts of personal finance to work on.  Especially at the beginning.

But what happens when you are offered a job that pays more BUT comes with several conditions that require trade-offs.  What are the trade-offs or conditions that would make you turn it down?

I was recently faced with this decision.

I was approached about a CFO position of a division of a company that is headquartered in the city I live.

Here are the upsides

  1. I would be an increase in salary.  I’m not sure how much because we didn’t get that far but it would have probably been a 20+% increase.
  2. It was a highly visible division that would have given me the potential (no guarantees) to quickly build a reputation that I could leverage to get a position at headquarters.
  3. IF I took the job and IF I could show an improvement in that division and IF there were opportunities at their corporate headquarters, it MIGHT result in a higher position at headquarters.  Which is what I really want.
  4. I would be working with someone that I like and know has a track record of being a good operator.
  5. The division of the company has several easy fixes that would improve performance in the next 3-5 years.  They are a partner of ours, so I see their performance on a regular basis and have been the one to give them advice on the basic processes they need to build to see drastically different results.

Here are the downsides

  1. It was a 70 mile commute each way.  And in the winter, with snow, it would have been rough.  They said I would have to be on-site each day for at least the first year and there would be potential for work-at-home or a transfer after that.  But the amount of time away from family and decreased energy from the drive were a big factor.  I’ve done that same drive in the past for a two year stretch and it’s exhausting.  [deal breaker]
  2. It is a turn-around project.  The division is losing a ton of money for the company.  There is a risk that it won’t turn around and it gets shut down.  Then I’m out of a job.
  3. I would be leaving a job and co-workers that I really really enjoy.
  4. It would be a step up in title, but step down
  5. I talked to the buy that my potential boss reports to.  He repeatedly told me the they require employees to be “emotionally confident” because “When you do good job, we’ll tell you all the things you did wrong.  If you save us $20M, we’ll tell you how you should have saved us $25M.”.  I wouldn’t mention it, but he repeated that message almost in those exact same terms twice.
  6. He said I would be working with the best, smartest people.  He said they hire young people who are very smart but then give them tasks that they have no experience doing and see how much they can accomplish.  I reiterated this emphatically a few times.
  7. I currently work with several people in their company and have more experience than 99% of them in my field of expertise.  Yet they tend to be young, smart and hard working.  But they are also brash, arrogant and
  8. Both of the two bullet points above are great, but they put more emphasis on intelligence and pride, rather than wisdom and humility.  [deal breaker]

I interviewed on the Friday and decided that weekend that I didn’t want to work with them.  Luckily the next week by Wednesday, they said that it wasn’t a fit, so I didn’t have to turn them down.

Financially it was appealing, but I’m happy with my choice.  Not all decisions are financial.


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