You've been working hard, getting things done and demonstrating how prepared you are to take on more responsibility at work. Finally, the day comes: you're offered a promotion. On one hand, it's exactly what you've always wanted: a better title and more money. Before you accept the position, stop and think: do you really want that promotion?
Take the following factors into consideration and answer these questions before you accept that fancy new job. Depending on your responses to these questions, it may make sense to turn down that promotion.
1. Will you need to work a lot more hours?
Everyone works long hours now, but when you take on additional responsibilities, it's more likely that you'll have more hours and less flexibility with your time. Consider if the better title and additional money will compensate you for having less free time.
2. Can you handle more stress?
In most organizations, the bigger the job, the more stress you can expect at work. That's not to say that jobs lower down the corporate ladder aren't stressful, but when you're closer to the top, you're the first line of defense when there is a problem. Make sure you are prepared to handle any additional stress in a new job.
3. Can you do the job?
Have you really stopped to think about whether or not you can do this new job well? The "Peter Principle" accurately describes a lot of managers today: they were promoted to their level of incompetence. In other words, many terrific employees win bigger jobs with more responsibility, only to find out that they aren't really cut out for those jobs. They might have been better off sticking with the work they were successfully doing. Make sure you are not setting yourself up to be responsible for things you can't quite handle. It can be detrimental to your morale and self esteem if you bite off more than you can chew – or more than you want to chew – at work. It might be better to wait for a different opportunity in the future, once you are better prepared for a more responsible job.
4. Will you be doing work you enjoy?
If you are happy at your current job, and your new position will change your responsibilities, make sure you'll welcome those new responsibilities. For example, if you're a teacher and have an opportunity to be a principal, but you love daily interaction teaching students directly, perhaps a promotion will make you miserable, even if you'll earn more money and prestige.
5. Is the job's location suitable?
Location, and your commute, matter when it comes to your daily work life. If the promotion means a new work location, consider how that will affect you and your family. Do you want to move or take on a longer commute?
6. Does it help you achieve your career goals?
Have you thought out your future plans, and does this promotion fit in? While you can't always predict a career path, it's a good idea to do some research and identify a reasonable track you can expect to follow to reach your target job. Think about how this potential promotion will fit in to your plans.
7. What people will you have on your team and as your supervisors?
If you're thinking of a promotion, make sure you learn as much as possible about your team (especially if you'll be supervising them) and your new boss. While you cannot always rely on reputation to learn if someone is difficult to work with or for, if everyone says your new boss is a monster, you can probably expect some rocky times ahead. That's not to say you should always make a decision based on the people you'll work with, but at least be informed about what you should expect in the new position and steel yourself accordingly.
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