Job hunting sucks. It sucks so bad and we all know it. Well, I had to do some job hunting myself recently and things were speeding up pretty quickly.
In a month and a half I had two offers. Woah baby! One was for a company in the city that was right up my alley. Here are the numbers…
$85k base salary with an 8% bonus. There was wiggle room with the base up to $90k and since I was their first choice and they knew I had another offer, I was confident I could get them up to $90k. That comes out to $97.2k and when you factor in your 3% yearly cost of living you end up at about $100.1k.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen that money in my life and never really anticipated it either.
In order to determine which way to go, I did a job comparison chart and both offers were neck and neck. Seriously, a dead tie when I weighed the pros and cons. It was a tough decision.
To give you greater insight, this particular position was a Sr. Marketing Specialist role where my basic functions would be to execute marketing campaigns for three of the company’s products. As the “quarterback”, I’d have to create infographics, eBooks, videos, brochures, website updates, emails, display ads, case studies, etc. To ensure their success, I would measure all analytics including ROI (Return on Investment). Overall the job seemed like I would get my hands on a bunch of things and learn a lot.
When I met with the hiring manager, she and I got along well. She appeared to be a nice woman and an experienced manager. She had me edit a press release and write up promotional copy for a webinar as part of the interview process.
Then I had four phone screens with other members of the staff. They all seemed very nice as well. Many of them are new to the company, including my would-be boss who has only been there for about a year and a half. Two out of the four others I spoke to were there less than a year.
Benefits-wise the company is extremely generous. They’ve got it all. 401k match, PTO, tuition reimbursement, healthcare options, the ability to travel to their international offices (pending the need), and you can even work from home one day a week!
So, what’s the problem and why am I not jumping for the Benjamins? Well, I read very recent online reviews that the company is not doing well. Now I know that you can’t always trust those, but there were A LOT of them. Statements about how people are mistreated, demanding leadership, how the company is behind on the times, etc. A few headlines read, “Just Don’t Do It!”, “A Terrible Company”, and “No Longer Investing in Employees”.
Another major downer of the role was that there was no room for growth within marketing. I could perhaps be a project manager or something else within the company but as far as marketing goes, there wasn’t really a set path for me.
I did also question the workload and thought to myself, “Well if they want to pay this much, how much will they expect of me?” Even a Marketing Manager role within Philadelphia averages about $77k, so this was well above market value.
I did some more due diligence and found someone on LinkedIn who used to work at the company in my role. Luckily, she was nice enough to call me that same night to give me the scoop!
She told me that she was there for around three years and left without another job lined up because she was so unhappy. While she learned a lot, she had zero work-life balance and was completely burnt out.
She reported to my would-be boss and stated that while she was nice and a good leader, she demanded a lot from her employees. Almost to the point where the person I spoke to felt that she couldn’t perform to the caliber expected of her, no matter how much she tried.
Numerous people had left the company in the past six months (hence the bad online reviews), many without backup plans because the culture was so toxic.
Did I mention that in the interview process, 20 people came out of a meeting and walked right by without acknowledging me? Others came from different directions and didn’t look at me either. No smile, no hello, no welcome. I notice that stuff. They say that’s a sign of an unhappy workplace.
Anyways, I asked her point blank, “Would you tell your best friend to work there?” and she said, “Absolutely not.”
So that’s all I needed to hear.
Why? Because I know what it’s like to wake up and dread going to work. One day can feel like a century when you don’t like what you are doing or who you are around. I know what it’s like to be on a sinking ship and what that does to morale. Stability and a healthy environment are extremely important to me.
I didn’t want to take my chances.
Even if her opinion was wrong, what if it wasn’t? Could I accept the fact that I was given that information, ignored it, and it turned out to be true? I think I’d be kicking myself. For all I know I could have avoided death from Karoshi!
Lets remember that in the interview process, candidates are always pressured to explain every move in their career. Oftentimes if you don’t ask the right questions, companies can hide their shortcomings. The last thing anyone needs is a terrible place to work. No money in the world can make up for that.
So while it’s great to know that I can earn that amount, I will have to pursue it at the next opportunity. Instead I accepted the other role that doesn’t pay as high but has its own advantages. And to be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself for not just chasing paper. A few years ago I would have given my right arm for that amount.
How do you know when an opportunity might be too good to be true? Watch the video below.
You can also read these tips from SophisticatedGal.com about how to turn down a job offer.