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I’ve been offered a job do I take it or stay on unemployment?

Q. I lost my job eight months ago and have been collecting unemployment ever since. I have about 10 more months to go before my benefits run out, but I was just offered a job. While this would normally be good news, my new salary would be quite a bit less than unemployment is paying – should I take the job or wait for something better to come along?

A. Working as a career coach, I often hear similar questions. Should I relocate or remain here until ...? Should I go back to school full-time or should I wait until ...? Should I take a job that is not on my current career path or ...? Should I settle for good enough or hold for a great next step?

I wish there were quick answers to complex career questions. There aren’t. For example, is the job you are being offered with a large, growing organization? If it is, take the job now! Even a “lousy job” in a great organization with a strong future is one to pursue, since you will have a foot in the door and be able to demonstrate your capabilities. Is it a small, privately held company with low pay? Perhaps even that should be considered, if the owner is an individual who treats employees well and is likely to increase your pay as the company grows and profits increase.

Additional questions to consider include: Is it a job in an emerging industry, where your experience will pay future dividends? Does the job pay less, yet provide lifestyle options with limited stress and generous time off? Is the job a match for who you now know yourself to be? Does the job have a social service benefit or mission with which you are connected?

When working with our clients in similar situations, we begin writing key questions and a range of bullet-point answers on flipchart paper. Next, we highlight critical factors, re-sort and restate them until we have a collage of information that collectively begins to speak to the situation being evaluated. This storyboard approach is often highly productive in moving individuals from endless thought to well-thought-out decisions. (It is interesting to observe how the mind uses the eyes to think.)

One of the intriguing aspects of Jesus’ life is how he needed time alone to pray, and, we assume, to think. This is certainly an example of how we should live our lives. I, too, would recommend you spend considerable time in prayer and in thought before making your decision. The only thing I would add is that for us who often process our thoughts visually, I would take along a flipchart pad. Jesus is available to meet with you and help you to make the best decision.