You wouldn’t think it could be a tough decision to take a job offer. If you’ve been out of work for six, 12, or 24 months, you’d probably jump at the chance to start working again. Earning money. Getting health benefits. What’s to decide?
The thing about unemployment is that life goes on. Not the one you had, but a new one takes its place. One of survival, or adventure or exploring new options. Your family and friends are a part of this new life as well. People begin to adjust, and after so many months things become routine again. Looking for a job is part of it. There is a new-found freedom in being unemployed, a freedom that you may have been afraid or reluctant to experience because of family obligations and bills to pay. Freedom from the clock that wakes you up every day to go to a job you may not have been crazy about. Freedom from the workplace drama and politics. Freedom to meet with friends over coffee during the day, or play tennis in the afternoon. Grocery shopping when everyone else is at work. Freedom from rush-hour traffic and gridlock.
If you’ve been off work for two years or more, your unemployment has probably run out and you’ve had to take on some part-time work or maybe even started a small business to bring in some money. Hobbies turn into businesses, and you may be having more fun making less money than you ever did working in your field. Whatever your situation, it becomes the new routine. Maybe your spouse or partner got a job and you’ve shifted responsibilities with the kids and home.
So there it is. A job offer, waiting for a response. Your decision is going to change this new life you created. Here are some things to consider:
1. Can you handle someone else setting your schedule again? Freedom is a tough thing to lose. You can’t just decide to take a few days off here and there when you’ve got an employee handbook loaded with rules and restrictions. Are you willing to give up your freedom?
2. Will it fit your new family roles? Who is going to take care of the kids when you go back to work? Will the new job pay for daycare, after school care and leave enough to make it worthwhile? How will the spouse or partner adjust to the new routine? Are they willing to give up a measure of freedom as well?
3. Will life be better with the job? If the new job requires relocation, will the salary, relocation, schools and opportunities match or exceed where you are now?
4. Can you make a new career from what you’re doing now? The Internet has created a whole new workplace in the Cloud. If you can write, create websites, write computer code, design online games, produce videos or teach others how to do those things, you may have a whole new career in a global workplace without physical boundaries.
5. Can you give an employer your heart and soul for a reasonable amount of time? If you are over 62, how many years can or will you want to work full-time for an employer? The title may be enticing and the salary amazing, but with social security and an exciting part-time or lower level, lower-paying job you can have a happy life and keep some of your freedom.
This decision is a happy one to have to make, since it reaffirms you’re still employable. Paying the bills isn’t the only reason to take a job. Life-style, family and freedom to do the things you love are worth considering as well.