I’ve mentioned before in an earlier post that I received a job offer before accepting my current job. At the time, I had no other offers on the table and was still living at home with my parents in NJ. Saying no was not an easy decision, so in an effort to explain this choice, I thought I’d write a post about it!
First things first, last summer I spent hours applying to job after job. I made multiple trips into New York City for both interviews and informational coffee meet ups. I made countless phone calls with family friends’ connections, to help me get one step closer to finding that great first job. After what felt like forever (which in actuality was only 4 weeks after graduation) I was extended a phone interview with an organization that is dear to my heart. I excitedly took the interview and afterwards was extended a follow up Skype interview. Both went extremely well, and I was hopeful that something seemed to be moving forward in my career search. At that point, I was just glad that after throwing so many applications against a wall, it looked like one was finally sticking. It was evidence of progress in a way that I so desperately needed at the time.
Within a week of the Skype interview I was extended an offer. The position was located in Columbus, Ohio. When I initially applied for this job, I thought it was a remote position, but quickly learned after the Skype interview that I would be expected to relocate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against Columbus, Ohio. I actually have a significant amount of family who live within an hour of the city. So I knew that if I decided to move there I would have a great support system nearby. The other comforting aspect of the job was the opportunity to be alongside many other recent college graduate women. I reveled in the idea that I would have an immediate group of new friends in this new place as I started this next chapter of my life.
However, after receiving the written offer that laid out my salary and expectations, I started to second guess this job. I think the main reason I was so excited initially, was that this again was the first true sign of progress in my job search. It showed me that I was capable of finding a great opportunity. That being said, deep down I knew that this wasn’t something I wanted to do in the long term. It wouldn’t help me reach the lofty career goals I’ve set for myself, and would in all honesty make it trickier for me to get back on track towards those goals. At the same time, I was scared that nothing better would come along. At the time it had only been a month since graduation, but I was going nuts and I was afraid to say no to this opportunity.
Thankfully, I have incredibly understanding and supportive parents. They have always pushed me to work hard and believed in me no matter how many obstacles have come my way. I owe a lot of my inner drive and determination to the two of them. I had promised myself senior year, that I would get out of my parents house as soon as possible after graduating. And I was determined not to let it get to the point where they felt the need to kick me out. When I received the offer, I remember sitting on the front porch steps reading everything over. Right then and there I knew in my gut that I shouldn’t take the offer.
I called my Dad, who listened to all the pros and cons of this job offer. I think he knew in my voice that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. He also reassured me that this position was not going to advance my career, and that it was in a city that I did not desire to live in. He had faith in me that I was qualified enough to find a better fit for me. Although I cried during that phone call, scared that I would not ever find a job that fit me, deep down I knew he was right. It also reassured me that both he and my Mom knew I wasn’t just sitting around waiting for the “job fairy” to extend me the perfect job, and that I was actively working towards it. I think my parent’s belief in me gave me the strength to say no. It also gave me the piece of mind that I could keep searching and living at home, instead of jumping at the first opportunity to leave just so I would be out of their hair.
Saying no was by no means an easy decision. But at the same time, I think it gave me the dose of confidence I needed to find a great job fit for me. I kept at the job search for the following three months. I cannot tell you how many break downs and freak outs I had during that time, but I think that is all part of the process. Questioning the offers I was extended and interviews I went in for reminded me that ultimately this was my decision. I kept thinking of tip #3 from my sorority recruitment post, that even though I am going in for the interview I still had the ultimate control in where I ended up. I was holding more cards than I realized.
Saying no to that first job offer was just the beginning of the journey. Had I said yes, I would not be anywhere near where I am today: living in NYC on the Upper East Side working at a job I truly love. At the end of the day I went with my gut and it (as always!) led me in the right direction.