Before you Decline the Offer…

by sysop in Looking for a Job

by Kristina Burroughs

The job market and economic climate have changed but have you changed your perspective? A real delicate balance exists between taking a job with potential and waiting for the perfect fit. The last decade of college graduates could afford to be picky about job options – but can you? While it is not a good idea to take a job you know you will not like, don’t overlook good opportunities because they require some necessary “grunt” work until you can take on more responsibility and grow the role.

There is something to be said about taking a few jobs early in your career that will teach you some intangible and yet extremely valuable virtues for the longevity of your working life. Here are a couple key take-aways from taking a role that is not exactly what you want to do long term.

  • RELIABILITY & HUMILITY: Even though detailed administrative work is not something I would say I enjoy, one of my earlier jobs out of college was as an executive assistant. I can honestly say that job taught me necessary skills that have sustained me through my career to date.  The work was tedious and required a high attention to detail, which I did not have at the time.

The role and the organization helped me to develop those skills that propelled me into better roles as time went on. I learned how important filing documentation, scheduling, and taking good notes were to my supervisor’s success. These skills provided me a foundational building block that helped me to be a team player.  I learned to be reliable, dependable, responsible, and trustworthy with confidential information. Again, these are intangible skills that are hard to measure but employers definitely notice when they are missing!

  •  ACCOUNTABILITY & DILIGENCE: When you’re not exactly passionate about a set of tasks that a job requires, it is difficult to muster the motivation to give your best each day. Even your dream job may require you to be accountable for tedious tasks like balancing your company credit card each month. Again, not the most exciting task but a necessary one that makes doing what you love possible from day to day! Your employer will require you to be accountable and diligent with the menial tasks that seem unimportant but are crucial elements to developing a strong work ethic. Being diligent and persistent when no one is watching breeds integrity to get the job done. Employers describe this quality as a “whatever it takes” attitude. For most nonprofits, this attitude is necessary to survive in a culture where your responsibilities change constantly and going the extra mile is not optional.

As you’re job hunting, do not underestimate the intangible qualities that may be gained in a job that will require you to do some of what you don’t enjoy doing. So yes, it is fair to expect less of those tasks that drain you in your job description as time goes on.  However, there are some intangible qualities that are required of every career. It is better to learn them early than late, when there is more at stake in your career ladder.