Evaluating a Job Offer – Know Your Personal Bottom Lines

Beyond Salary & Benefits


The long awaited job offer has come – and now you have to decide – to take it, or, keep looking.

It can be difficult to turn down any offer while job searching, especially if you have family and/or financial pressure. However, I want to encourage you to learn how to evaluate every offer (link to related post) according to your highest needs and desires in your career, and personal life (we know how they inevitably intertwine!)

The how & why you might turn down a job offer, even when you really need one can be a tricky & difficult decision to make and follow through with, but ultimately, I believe, it does lead to better things, when you trust it will – and act accordingly, too.

It’s so much more than just salary & benefits – or whatever the most expected and obvious considerations may be for any big decision you need to make – about a job offer, or otherwise.

I want you to know – and stand by – your own personal ‘bottom lines’.

I’ve long encouraged my clients to do this – to remember they are also interviewing the company (link to related  post).  Therefore, they need to know what they want, what they have to offer and their value, and – to hold out for it. It can be a challenge to not to settle for the first job offered if it doesn’t fit what they want & need (and this can be tough when we really need income!)

Over the years, I’ve had to practice what I preach here!

I’ve been offered a variety of opportunities, and having options show up, usually unanticipated, is really nice, of course, right? I have wanted and needed ways to expand my businesses and income from time to time, and often re-evaluate and think about how & what I want.  Sometimes, things started showing up!

One of these time I ended up turning down 3 out of 4 of them, and changed my mind about a service I used to offer, which I don’t anymore, even though I’ve had steady inquiries about that service.

Here’s why:

I know what my bottom lines are (and they don’t have to be JUST money, people! Really, they don’t!). Yes, sure, the income amount IS a factor I consider, and a big one of course, but you know what’s equally, if not more important to me?

My peace, my balance, feeling good about both what I do (the tasks, the work itself) and who I work with (clients, business partners).  For me, I also highly value my work-from-home (wherever home may be at various times!) freedom (you all know I love to travel!)

I’ll share a bit about my decisions in hopes there is something here that gives you that “permission” to set – and stick to – your own priorities.

What ARE those personal “bottom lines” for  you?
  • What matters MOST to you when you make important choices, like which jobs to apply for, interviews to take, and offers to consider and ultimately accept?
  • What are you – and are you NOT – willing to bend on (and how much)?
  • How have these things perhaps changed (or stayed the same over time) – and why (family considerations, health issues, time priorities, stress factors that affect other areas of importance?)
  • What’s most important in your work life  (link to related post) (work environment? the people? opportunities to grow?)

But…..What if it’s a FRIEND? One opportunity outside my biz focus but within my personal interests got turned down because the communication style of the potential partner just didn’t work for me. (It is a friend of mine, too – double hard to turn down, with the added tricky bit of maintaining the personal relationship.)

I found myself constantly frustrated, and wasting time/energy in our business related interactions. So in evaluating the situation, realized my options were to either 1) accept this & deal with probable (based on months of experience) ongoing frustrations, or, to simply not get involved. I had to remember, the other person was not going to change (and they weren’t ‘wrong’, just different than me!) And I could not expect any changes, either – very important here in biz and any relationship, right?!

“When people show you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou quote). One biz opportunity that had approached me twice in recent months I passed on again due to what felt like lack of respect for my time and value with multiple rescheduled appointments they were then late to finally arriving to, because, basically, someone that mattered more than I did (to them) kept them on the phone (they allowed that person to encroach upon the time set aside for an appointment with me).  Also, though, the clientele of that gig just were not within my preferences for clients, nor my areas of expertise.  Delivering quality, and knowing I can do so in whatever role I except, matters to me. So does working with people that treat me well, communicate well, and value me & my time as much as theirs (see a theme here so far?)

I also stopped doing a service I’ve done for years, because with recent changes to my life, and just realizing the limiting impacts of doing this service over time, it became not worth it to me continue. I turned down multiple inquiries, including one from a local and national figure, because the requirements just don’t work for me anymore.

I have a friend that just doesn’t understand why I’d turn down opportunities to earn this money, but my priority isn’t JUST bringing in money. And, I believe that when we focus on and trust we CAN bring that money in ways that DO align with our needs and preferences, and do not compromise beyond a certain line in the sand, that the ‘powers that be’ realign with that clarity & present other, better suited offers to us in due time (often soon!)

I think the most common highest value (and expectation) is that money, the salary of a job offer, for example, is (and is always) THE most important – the commonly accepted bottom line – the road most traveled.

Luckily, I have a strong group of business colleagues/friends that intentionally run their businesses, and thus make their decisions, in alignment with their own personally defined bottom lines, too. That support helps me to travel the path and make the decisions that are best for ME.


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— Excerpt from Robert Frost, “The Road Untaken”**


And my friend means well, it’s just a reflection of her own fears – and top priority – income – no judgement here! But if I’m feeling wobbly about standing in my preferences, I just don’t talk to her about it. This preserves my resolve – select who you share with carefully! This is why like minded/focused groups are soooo helpful, too!

The last example was the hardest – and the scariest for me – because two choices – one “Wanted Option” t came from the same place as the another offer that I did really want. The “Wanted Option”  aligned beautifully with my needs and desires. So…. what would happen if I turned down the unwanted offer from the same company though??  I am susceptible to letting fear & insecurity get in sometimes, too!

What Do You Do, and Want to Do – and What Don’t You Want? What Don’t You Do?

I really wanted the “Wanted Option”! It was perfect! Similar to some examples above, I was also given a second option from this company,  and it made sense they did, because on the surface, it also fit in line with my former skills and experience.  But, I realized (after my initial consideration, out of habit of thinking that work fit for me), that it really didn’t fit anymore. My priorities and preferences have changed over time.

I could also tell (I wasn’t sure, but it felt like this), that the second, “Not What I Want Anymore” option, the thus less desirable one to me, was more of a need & priority to the company that was offering both options, though…. so, yes, I was a bit afraid I might be passed up for the “Wanted Option” if I didn’t agree to the “Not What I Want Anymore” option, too.  (That second one paid a bit better, too, by the way, just to make this challenge even more … interesting…! )

I had to spend some time getting back into my own clarity, my own commitment to myself & what I want & need MOST. I had to find my trust that if I stood in my integrity with quiet confidence and a bit of humility and gratitude for those choices, that my desires would be met and honored.

I also had to be ready to accept the worse-case scenario, too – that I might lose both options – which was, admittedly, tough to do!  (and in which case I’d have to decide again that something better would come along, that that was not, in fact, the right opportunity for me.) This is an important step, too, when being discerning in our decision making. Are you willing to accept that ‘worse case scenario’? Prepared for it, just in case?

>>>In the end, my commitment to myself and my own personal bottom line paid off.

I was welcomed into the “Wanted Option” and thanked for my honesty about the “Not What I Want Anymore” option not being right for me.  And it felt GREAT – not just to have overcome my fear and to have stuck to my preferences – but to be now working with colleagues that honored those preferences, too.  I’m SO thrilled with the one opportunity I DID accept!

Isn’t that the end goal anyway?  To feel great about your decisions, and, in so doing, you also by default contribute to the best outcome from all involved, too?   I do really love me a Stephen Covey “win-win” result! I do I do!

** Lastly – a literary note and closing thought: when you read the whole poem, “The Road Untaken”, the interpretation can (and likely would) change to not be an encouragement to take “the road less travelled” (as this piece is very commonly mis-titled – including by me at first!).

Instead, when you read it more carefully, you may see that both paths are equally worn; the author simply makes a choice that ultimately, he believes, ‘made all the difference’. In the context of this blog post, I think this interpretation of the poem still works to support the encouragement to make one’s own choices when presented with one path, or another (or another).

Which one do YOU want to walk?  Go that way…..