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Many people are out of work, unemployment is high, there aren’t many jobs out there. I get it, really, I do. However, if YOU are one of the people looking for work, it’s still important for you to make wise career decisions. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they were out of work, landed a new job, but knew from the beginning that it just wasn’t going to work out, but took the position anyway.

Here’s the thing – you may be making your next career move decision in a state of “desperation” or perhaps the best of the worst, but remember, you are committing to a company for an indefinite amount of time. You need to be sure that you will be ABLE to work at the company and fit in – in other words, you don’t want to take a position that is completely wrong for you, only to have to be looking for a new role in a short amount of time.

Why is this coming up? I want to urge all of you to listen to your gut! I know times are hard, but if there is a red flag in the interview, be sure to fully analyze the situation and be willing to ignore that flag for the next three to five years of your life regardless of how much money/stability/benefits, you need right now. Let me tell you a little story…

I have been meeting with several companies for both in-house and external consulting gigs recently. In one of my meetings, it was clear no one had a clue what HR was – mind you, they had an HR director, who for the past four years, was “building” HR. She was still there, but had not yet accomplished anything of strategic value – the performance review process was not standardized (nor effective), they didn’t have any compensation guidelines, job descriptions, and HRIS system, and so on. Lots of great meaty work there – and the stuff that I am really jazzed about. However, I learned during the final stage of signing the contract, that they had an issue with THE COLOR OF MY NOTEBOOK that I brought into a meeting. It had color on it, it was not only black. This was a huge sticking point for them – seriously, and they continued commenting on it. RED FLAG – I enjoy color, I have an obsession with office supplies, and am more about the work needed than the fact that I had a black notebook with a little bit of blue on it. For me, it was indicative of a culture that was so ultra-conservative, that I would stick out like a sore thumb. Although the extra client would be nice, it’s not worth my comfort level, so I listened to my gut and passed.

Be sure you know when it’s time to let go of the opportunity in front of you, to explore greener pastures. You want to be employed AND happy, after all.