Updated: Jan 12, 2019
It’s easy to commit to an offer you’re thrilled about. But when you’re reluctant, yet you know you need to accept it, it’s tough. Most people know when they need to move forward with a less ideal offer, because supporting their family, paying their bills, getting back into the swing of things, whatever it is...is most important in the moment. It's not settling. For the kind of people I work with, really high-integrity, loyal folks, accepting a less-than-dream offer has another layer of complexity than it does for most people.
If it happens, and you need to accept an offer, I hope you remember that you’re not marrying a company. Knowing the level of value that you bring, it may violate your own personal integrity to accept a role that feels like a step back, but your highest integrity goes to your highest priority. You know when the right thing to do is to accept.
Part of the reason you resist accepting a role that is less attractive is because you know you’ll honor your commitment. You like that aspect of your character. The downside is that you’re worried about getting stuck in the role, because you’re so committed. You may not even just be worried about getting stuck in the new role, you may be unconsciously resigned to it.
This is your official permission to have a different attitude than you’ve ever had before. You know that if the organization hires a consulting firm to come in for a re-org, or if the board decides a fresh perspective is needed, or if the new CEO decides to brings in their own people...you could be out fast. This is just part of business. The company is not committing to you forever. It’s only reasonable to reciprocate by not marrying them, either.
You can position yourself for what’s next while maintaining your integrity.
You have more choices beyond:
a. being a real dirt bag who is applying to other jobs while on the clock.
b. being stagnant and resigned to a role that doesn’t really use your strengths.
This isn’t an either-or situation. Do the work you were hired to do. That’s being in integrity with yourself and you know that’s non-negotiable for you. You’re not a Cs-get-degrees type. And then, consider the perspective of acting in integrity to something or someone that’s greater than the company; greater than yourself.
Is commitment to any of the following more important to you than commitment to a company?
Your innate, individual potential?
The actions of your people/community/ancestors that have paved the way for you?
The global community?
The message you send to the generations that will follow you?
A higher power?
For most of us, the answer is a solid “yes” to at least one of those. Those other, bigger-picture things are more important. More important than being unnecessarily “loyal” to a company at the expense of disrespecting the gifts you were given or the potential you know you have. If you are a human, there is likely something tough that you’re going through. And still, if you’re reading this, you likely have a greater level of privilege than most others.
I think of it like voting. Yes, I vote because I want to share my voice in politics. I am inspired to vote, though, because of the women who paved the way for me. They did not do what they did for me to be so disrespectful of their effort that I don’t get my act together enough to drop off a mail-in ballot. In the same way, when you consider the talents you were gifted with, without needing to do anything to receive them, who are you to not be as fabulous as you really are?
If you need to accept a less ideal role, do so.
You know you’ll do the job well. And then, engage in ongoing networking, keep yourself inspired, and don’t stifle your strengths, regardless of the environment. Your talent will either be welcomed and cultivated, or another choice you can’t refuse will present itself. Then, move on with gratitude for the bridge and clarity the experience provided you...right on the way to where you’re going.
In your corner.
Emma Garrett is an Executive Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. If you're ready for your next chapter, consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals.