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5 reasons why accepting a job offer out of fear will back-fire

Laura Berman Fortgang, Special to CareerBuilder

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Despite all the talk of economic recovery, things are not yet a normal we are ready to accept. However, in a tough job market, you might be tempted to say yes to a job offer, any job offer, out of fear that there won't be another one following behind it.

In a shaky economy, that sounds wise, but here are five reasons why you'd be deluded to follow this conventional wisdom.

1. Low interest means low performance: If you are lukewarm about your new job it will be tough to give it your all. Once your learning curve is over, you may have a hard time staying engaged and motivated enough to give the job your attention and effort. There's only so long you'll be able to 'suck it up' and you'll be out looking for another job before you know it.

2. Low pay means low satisfaction and resentment: Sometimes it's necessary to take a job just to pay the bills, but if you're taking a big pay cut or settling for sub-standard pay, it won't be long before resentments start percolating. Interpersonal conflicts, feeling undervalued or getting frustrated at how long it can take to get a raise or promotion are likely outcomes.

3. You are setting a precedent and it will be hard to change: In accepting a job out of fear, you are coming from a mindset that you better take whatever you can get. It's a bit of the "why ask for the pie when you'd settle for the crumbs" mentality. You may start to believe that you deserve less, which may mean that you'll settle for less again in the future.

4. Fear will become your M.O.: If you take a job out of fear, you'll also fear losing it. Can you make your most important decisions or most creative innovations from a fearful state?  It's unlikely. What is likely is that you'll be afraid to speak up, to take a risk , to stick up for yourself or put yourself out there. What will that do to your chances for good exposure, advancement and building a reputation?  Not much.

5. You may have stopped three feet before gold: There's an old story of a man who inherited an abandoned gold mine. He dug and dug with his small backhoe everyday for months, trying to dig up the gold that he was convinced was in his mine. Day after day he toiled to no avail. Finally, convinced he had a dud of a mine, he sold it and felt glad to have walked away with some profit. When the new owner took over and got into the backhoe, he got to work and struck gold within three feet of the first chisel. The former owner was three feet away from gold, but he gave up.

By taking that job because you were afraid there was no other, you may have stopped just three feet before your big, ideal prize.

If your time has run out, you have to do what you have to do. But if you can wait, please do. You deserve a job you can really bite your teeth into -- and the company you work for deserves an employee they won't have to replace in six months.

Laura Berman Fortgang is a twenty-year veteran of the career and life coaching field, the founder and owner of Now What?® Coaching. Her latest book is "The Prosperity Plan."

Last Updated: 08/02/2011 - 12:57 PM

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