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By: Jamie Collins & Anonymous TPS Member

Today, we’re sharing a recent exchange, which took place between yours truly and an anonymous TPS member. Maybe you find yourself pondering the same question: “Should I take the job?” If not, perhaps one day you will. Maybe you should take the job, and maybe you shouldn’t!

Read on to find out…

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Dear TPS,

… This week was quite interesting and ended with an offer from the [firm name] for a legal assistant job!

It is a job I didn’t apply for, and I thought I did horrible in both interviews, but I got the call Friday with the offer!

I have until Tuesday to decide. It is a bit of a pay cut and is the exact opposite of what I really wanted to do. I initially applied for a job with [name of firm], but I was not selected, and then a week after they rejected me, I got a call to interview with [name of firm].

It’s been quite odd, it’s one of those things where I’m not even trying and everything is falling perfectly into place. I’ve been wanting to make a change from my current employment for quite some time, and nothing else has worked out, but for some reason this job I didn’t apply for and don’t even know if I want seems to be lining up perfectly for me. It has me wondering if it is just meant to be. 🙂

If you have any wonderful words of paralegal wisdom, I would appreciate it!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Anonymous TPS Member

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Dear Anonymous,

My advice is to think long and hard on this decision. Strategic career moves are VERY important. That was the one thing I always managed to do right, and it served me well. Maybe this job is for you, and maybe it’s not. You need to really consider it. Every opportunity that comes your way is not necessarily something you should take (and maybe you should take this…I don’t know). But you kind of have to think of job fit a bit like dating. Just because someone wants you, doesn’t mean you always want them back…or should. It’s definitely always flattering, but make sure it’s really what you want in your next position, and a sound decision for your career.

I once was offered a position somewhere new. I was so flattered. They wanted me, and had sought me out when I wasn’t even looking for a new job! Wow…how cool?! It made me feel wanted, and like I should, in turn, want to take the opportunity. But then I realized it didn’t really seem like an ideal fit for me. It didn’t line up with where I was ultimately headed. I didn’t want to lead myself down a stray path that didn’t line up with my career aspirations, so I said no. I never regretted my decision. It was a valuable lesson.

This job may be great for you. Just make sure you can justify to yourself that it really is. I would recommend doing a 2 table chart of your current job and the new one, listing out the pros and cons to see how they line up against one another. If a cut in pay now could lead to better pay later or room for mobility, additional job skills, perks, etc., it may work out. Really think through each element and where you want to be headed as you move through your career. Make sure any move you make keeps you on that path. You always want to step up or into a lateral position.  Granted, you must consider not only pay, but the atmosphere, perks, reputation of the place, supervising attorneys, office staff members, etc. You should think of it in a career path building sense.

Again, not trying to steer you one way or the other. Just want you to approach the decision with both eyes open.

Kind Regards,
Jamie

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Thank you Jamie. That is great advice, I’m doing my pros and cons chart now. It’s a difficult decision because I really want to get out of where I am at currently, but do not want to just jump at the first opportunity that comes along.

Your advice is exactly what I needed. This needs to be a logical decision, and I was viewing it as an emotional decision – hating where I’m at vs. [entering specific area of law].

I’m still not sure what my decision will be, but I am sure my pros and cons list will help get me to the best decision for me and my future career.

Thank you again, I really appreciate your advice, and as a new paralegal I value your input tremendously.

Hope your Sunday is relaxing!

Anonymous TPS Member

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Jamie –

I just wanted to thank you again for your advice on the job offer for [insert name of firm here]. I declined the offer and I know it was the right decision for me. Your comparison with dating was perfect, I couldn’t agree more with the analogy – just because they wanted me, did not mean they were right for me.

Also, I think your advice on making strategic career moves would make an excellent article for TPS. Perhaps there already is an article on that subject and I just can’t recall it, but if not, I found what you wrote to be exactly what I needed.

Sincerely,
Anonymous TPS Member

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In summary, it’s important to know when to accept the position, and when to feel flattered…and walk away.  Just imagine if you’d dated every person who ever expressed an interest in you! That would be ridiculous, right?! A new job isn’t really much different. You will be courted by many, but only some of them will be right for you. 

Take a moment to bask in the flattery of the grand approach, make a two-way chart to strategically weigh the pros and cons, assess it against your intended career plan, and decide (with a sound mind…at least what’s left of it) whether it really is a great fit for you.

Wishing you much success as you walk down the future path of your career, TPSers!

If you have a question you’d like to send to The Paralegal Society for response by one of our Mentors, send it to: jamietheparalegal@yahoo.com with the subject line “Dear TPS.” You can remain completely anonymous! We’d love to help, so ask away.

Remember, you only get one October 31, 2012 – make it a great one! (And enjoy those chocolate bars!!!)