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25% Regret New Jobs: What to Consider When Considering a Job Offer


I have a colleague whose friend was one offered the head-writing job on the Fox-TV series America’s Most Wanted. He accepted the job, but was then told he would have to fly to a different location every week with the crime-fighting host John Walsh. The problem? His friend hated flying. Accepting the wrong job is more common than you would think, according to a recent article at about new-job regrets and what to consider when considering a job offer.

According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, about 25 percent of workers actually regret taking a new position within the first year.  It’s not just Joe Six Pack who’s getting cold feet; Katie Couric has suggested that her move from NBC’s Today show to the CBS Evening News might have been a mistake. Clearly, there are other factors just as important as negotiating job offer salaries.

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Deciding Whether or Not to Accept Job Offer

With so many workers regretting their new positions, companies are trying to help new employees avoid “acceptance remorse.” John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told, “It is natural to have second thoughts in the first month or two of any new job. Any type of major change elicits such thoughts, whether it is taking a new job, moving into a new house, or buying a new car.” I would add getting married to that list. 🙂

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However, if those regretful feelings continue after six months, Mr. Challenger says the employee should discuss the problem with a supervisor. Challenger also says employees should engage in “soul-searching about what matters most to you in a job and then listing where your current job succeeds and fails at meeting your expectations.”

Negotiating Job Offer Salaries AND Duties

One of the more common shockers at a new job is when you are asked to perform tasks that were not mentioned, or barely hinted at during the job interview. Herb Greenberg, CEO of Caliper, a management consulting firm in Princeton, N.J., says that businesses can help potential new hires avoid this disaster by clearly defining responsibilities and expectations during the interview.

Another problem may be a Jekyll and Hyde boss, who was charming during the interview, but a monster to work with. A warning sign may also be growing suspicions that the company is not solvent. During the dot-com craze in 2000, numerous people were duped into jobs where companies really didn’t have a business plan or actual income, and went under after the venture capital dried up.

I know this from first hand experience. In 1999, I looked around at dotcoms in the Durham, NC area. There were quite a few. My first question was, “how does this company make money?” It is amazing how few had an answer other than smoke and mirrors. I decided to take a job at Microsoft instead, and was glad I did when 2000 rolled around.

Consequences of Wrong Job Acceptance

Still, should you try to stick it out at a new job that you regret accepting?  If things have not improved after a year, Mr. Challenger says to leave. “There is nothing to gain by staying in a position you regret taking, but there is a lot to lose. By trying to stick it out, it is likely that the individual’s performance will decline and that his or her attitude will worsen, both of which could damage future job prospects.”

James Gardner of Aquent, a marketing staffing firm, told, “We’d never marry someone after two or four hours of dating, yet we accept jobs and fire employees after the same amount of interviewing.” Gardner says Aquent uses a “try-before-you-hire” model which places candidates in companies for up to 90 days. “If they don’t work out, or decide the job is not right for them, they can gracefully move on.”

Do you have any regrets about your salary? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale’s full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee

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