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To Stay or Not to Stay, That is the Question: How to Handle a New Career Opportunity [By Dan Coughlin] Shakespeare did not have to deal with this, and my father’s generation rarely did either. During my father’s working days, employees basically had one option: stay. Much like Major League Baseball players used to be, employees in the 50s, 60, 70s, and 80s rarely left one organization to go to another. Today that concept seems antiquated.

Assuming you’re going to face a career-

and ways he could add more value to

Values are beliefs that determine behaviors.

changing decision within the next six months,

customers. He was exhilarated, and he was

This is a very straightforward concept. If

here are seven things to consider.

promoted twice within 18 months.

integrity is one of your values, then you will

Seven Career-Changing Considerations

2. Will you make more money or have the

each day. If honesty is one of your values,

realistic capacity to make more money?

then you will tell the truth. As I said, pretty

do what you think is the right thing to do

1. Will you grow?

simple stuff. “No money, no mission.” Here’s the hard part.

Work is a transfer of value. You contribute value to an organization, and in return you

I actually learned that phrase from an

receive value. Part of the value you receive is

executive at a not-for-profit organization.

You’ve been offered a job with a great salary,

the degree to which you will grow while doing

Every organization and individual needs

great benefits, and exciting challenges. You

that work.

a flow of dollars in order to continue to

tell a few key family members and friends

contribute value. As you consider this new

about the job. Now more people are excited.

Will you develop your leadership and

career opportunity, find out as much as you

And then you start to spend some time with

communication skills?

can about what you will earn in the next 12

the employees, and you realize their normal

months and how much you can realistically

behaviors do not fit with your values. What

Will you learn about the latest

earn in the next five years. Don’t be shy

are you going to do?

technologies and how to use them?

about finding out about this. It doesn’t have

Will you learn to be more effective at

to be a dveal breaker, but you need to know

For what it’s worth, here’s my suggestion.

what is realistic.

Explore some more, and see if you uncover the same pattern of behaviors among other

strategy or planning or execution? •

In other words, will you be

3. Will you work with people you want to be

employees. If you do, walk away from the job.


I know that sounds harsh, but once you let go of your values, you lose yourself. And that is

challenged? The vast majority of your day will be spent

a very expensive and painful journey to go on.

Mark had been a successful employee within

with coworkers. Before you take a new job,

a major hotel chain for more than 15 years.

spend a few days with the new group. See

5. Will you be allowed to use your strengths

By the time I met him, he felt he was no

them in action, and watch how they treat

and passions the vast majority of the time?

longer challenged. He had an opportunity

one another. Ask a variety of the employees

to take a job with a supplier for a number of

what it’s like to work there. Do this in private

You can achieve greatness when you

hotel chains. In this new position, he would

conversations, and see if any common

deploy your strengths and your passions

be traveling more while receiving only a

themes emerge. Are these people you really

into meaningful work that matters to your

small increase in salary. However, his desire

want to be with every day for at least the next

organization and to your customers.

for growth and challenges was so great that

five years? That could go into a Chinese fortune cookie,

he took the new position. And he flourished. He told me that he was constantly learning

4. Will you be expected to behave in ways

more about himself, his skills, his strengths,

that are congruent with your values?


as long as it’s a really big cookie.

continued on back




1. 800.973.1177

If you spend the vast majority of your day

effect on crucial relationships. The same is

can lead to an unfulfilling career. It’s never

doing stuff you are mediocre at and have

true of relocating. It can generate great life

easy to make this decision, so consider your

no passion for, you’re going to produce

experiences, but it can also have a damaging

next career move as carefully as a world-

mediocre, passionless work. That is not the

effect on your children’s future. Consider

champion chess player.

ticket to career acceleration, no matter how

these factors carefully. About the Author

much you might be earning right now. 7. Are you excited to take this job? 6. Are the amount of travel and the reality

Dan Coughlin, business performance

of relocation appropriate for you and your

Now that you’ve thought about this situation

management consultant and keynote


rationally and discussed it with your family,

speaker, is the author of Accelerate:

what are you going to do? Time for the old

20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum. He has provided more than 1,500 executive coaching sessions and invested more than 3,000 hours on-site observing executives and managers in more than 20 industries working for companies and organizations including Coca-Cola, Toyota, Marriott, McDonald’s, AT&T, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He can be reached at or

Some issues go beyond just you.

gut check. Do you want this new job or not? If your answer isn’t immediate and emotional,

Two of those are relocation and travel time.

then hold off and take more time to think

I’m not just talking about traveling back and

about it.

forth between your home and your office, although that is an important factor. I’m also

I recently met a CEO who turned down the

talking about the amount of time you will

job of COO four times before he felt he was

be traveling around the country and around

truly excited to take the position. Once he

the world. Relocating is another variable to

took it, he did such a great job that he was

weave into the family situation. I encourage

promoted to CEO when the former CEO

you to take these two items very seriously


and to talk them over with your family. To stay or not to stay? That question A career with no travel would not be the

oftentimes is the inflection point that

right thing for a lot of people. On the other

determines a great career. Never moving can

hand, too much travel can have a devastating

lead to a stale career, and moving too often


To Stay or Not to Stay, That is the Question: How to Handle a New Career Opportunity