Can I Start at a New Company If I Don’t Plan To Stay?

Dear J.T. & Dale: For the past 12 years I have been running a manufacturing facility. The company is closing its local operations, and I have been looking for a new position. I’ve just received an offer from a company that makes hospital supplies, at a 30 percent increase in pay. The issue is that this would be a management position on a rotating-shift basis, which I’m not sure I could get accustomed to. It goes against my principles to start at a new company, knowing that I might not stay. Any thoughts? — Nic

J.T.: Worrying about accepting a job you might leave is pretty rare these days — after all, the younger generations haven’t had the experience of staying with one firm for decades. In fact, the average job tenure for younger workers is less than two years! Here’s the big picture: Companies no longer offer a lifetime of employment, which means that you no longer need to offer a lifetime of service.

Dale: What J.T. says is absolutely true. On the other hand, just asking the question suggests that you have set high standards for yourself, which means that you probably were raised the way I was, with a mother who said things like, “Just because everyone else is jumping off a cliff, does that mean you’d jump off, too?”

J.T.: Well, I happen to be a mother, and in this case I say, “Jump!” Take the job.

Dale: I won’t argue. However, what I’d like to do is reframe the issue, because I don’t want Nic to go in feeling small, like he’s compromising his values. It’s not that kind of decision. Here are the questions I’d like you to ask yourself: Will you be grateful to get the job? Yes. Can you go into it intending to be a valuable part of the team? Yes. Can you give the company its money’s worth? Yes. Will you stay with it? Maybe. And, here’s the real clincher: Knowing your answers, would they still hire you? Absolutely.

J.T.: And who knows? You might enjoy the varying schedule and the ability to do things during the day. If not, you might want to shoot for a job that has regular work hours, and it will be your right to do so. Instead of merely being loyal to your employer, be loyal to your skills and contributions, and you’ll end up with an employer worthy of them.

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