Since graduating from college last May, I have applied for countless jobs, interviewed for 8 (I think?) positions, and turned down 4 offers. Maybe this sounds crazy to you. Maybe you think I should jump at any offer in this struggling economy. Maybe you’ve been taught to say yes to every opportunity. Maybe that works for you.
I’m not saying that saying no is always the best choice, but when you know it is, I want you to know that it’s okay to say it. Interviews are just as much about you getting to know a company or position better as it is for the company to get to know you. I notice my interviewer’s body language (do they give me eye contact?), I get an idea of how employees feel about the higher ups (is there strong communication across the hierarchy?), I pay attention to how management treats customers (did they really just tell that women she was wrong? ONTD!). When I’m not impressed with the structure, ethics, and support of a company on the day of an interview, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be declining any offer, no matter how much they want to pay me. Knowing that I can’t thrive in a negative environment has saved me from getting stuck in jobs I would eventually hate anyway.
Knowing your value is a big part in getting the job you want. If you’re willing to work for anyone doing anything for any amount of money, you may not have a lot of confidence in your abilities or you may not have a sense of direction for what you want to do, but either way you’re likely settling on something that takes time away from your happiness and your future endeavors. This isn’t to say that there won’t be a handful of jobs that you’ll work that won’t be related to your interests or won’t make you jump for joy; what I’m saying is that it’s okay to be selective.
After assessing the reality of my financial situation, tossing out pros and cons, and being really in tune with both my personal and professional needs, I’ve been able to turn down 4 jobs that, for one reason or another, weren’t the right fit. I’ve been trying to find the right third job help myself cross the line into ‘financially stable’ territory, but I’ve had to be super selective as to not mess up the good things I have going for me. I know that both my skills and time are valuable, so I can’t just throw them at anything that comes along. Saying no reminds me that my standards come first. Saying no makes me appreciate my “yeses” so much more.