Is It A Mistake To Turn Down A Job Offer If You're Unemployed?

turn down a job offer

Lately I've received more calls than usual for job interviews. I'm very happy about this; but after one particularly promising interview today, I'm surprised that I'm also feeling a little unsettled.

I think this employer may be on the verge of making me a job offer.

You know how they say, "Be careful what you wish for?" I've been looking for a new job for almost three years now. So what's my problem? Maybe thoughts of a daily commute and working in an office again are making me anxious.

No, it's not that. What's really making me feel a bit on edge is the possibility of making a bad decision.

Starting a new job is one of those big life events. It affects not only your life, but the people and even the pets in your life too.

What if I accept a job and then a better one comes along tomorrow or next week or next month -- a job that pays more or has a shorter commute or lets me write more or offers richer benefits? This job isn't "perfect" -- should I wait for one that is? Is there even such a thing? I don't believe there is, but the thought can torment you if you think you've chosen the wrong job.

During my lengthy unemployment, as much as I've wanted it to end, I've created an interesting and fulfilling life. My daily routines and activities have become habits after all this time. It's nice to do part-time freelance writing at home and not have to dress up and commute every day. I've gotten used to my life the way it is. Working full-time outside the house would require a big adjustment, a big change. I just want to make sure that it's a positive change.

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Believe me, I realize how fortunate I am to be able to even consider the possibility of not taking a job because I don't think it's right for me. Is it foolish to think this way? If I receive an offer after 34 jobless months, shouldn't I just grab it? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, isn't it?

Something that's affecting my thinking about this is the very fact I have had a promising run of interviews recently. There are things about a couple of the other jobs in the pipeline that I like better. Still, nothing's really "promising" until it's a concrete offer.

The only time I've ever had two job offers at once was when I first graduated college (more than a few years ago). I took the one that paid more and that choice undoubtedly set the course for my career.

Of course, I'm not 22 and just starting out anymore. On the other hand, because I'm not 22 anymore, I want to find a job with as many features that I like as possible. I suspect that things I dislike -- such as a lengthy commute or work I don't enjoy -- could adversely affect my physical and mental health more now than they would have 30-something years ago.

I'm looking for a job whose positives far outweigh its negatives at this stage of my life and my career. The employer, the work and I should be a great fit. I don't want to just "settle" for the first job offer that comes along. Yet I don't know for sure if I can afford to be so picky. What if another offer never comes along?

While I've been writing this, I've received an email inviting me to interview for another job. This is great!

It's great, but it adds to my worry, my concern about the consequences of making the wrong choice. But what am I worrying about? Right now, I have zero job offers!

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