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How to Walk Away from an Opportunity thats Wrong for You
Q. I just finished a job interview. Everything went well. But I can't get excited about the job. The people were nice but frankly, I got bored.
Should I withdraw my application or hang on to see what happens?
A. Let me share a secret. I love country music especially the classics. Your question reminds me of Kenny Rogers's big hit, The Gambler. I can't quote even a line due to copyright laws, but you can Google the song. Know when to stay. Know when to put down your cards. And above all, recognize when it's time to walk away and time to run.
I believe that everyone in business should create a goal, "Be able to walk away." Be able to let go of a customer who's a pain and a job that's creating pain. Be able to recognize a business opportunity that's all wrong for you, to say, "That's not a good fit."
Feeling bored sounds like a signal to me. If you (or your interviewer) has trouble staying awake, that's like a red light flashing and a big siren screaming, "Go away!"
So...what's the best way to walk (or run)?
1. Expect your interviewer or client to say, "Thank you! We appreciate your honesty."
They probably won't add, "Frankly, we agree you're not a good fit here." But most likely, that's exactly what they're thinking
2. Plan for the unexpected. On very rare occasions, you'll hear, "Oh no! What can we do to make you change your mind?" or, "We have another option that may interest you."
But don't count on it.
3. Create a neutral explanation that's mutually face-saving and final.
Good reasons: "We don't have room to do justice to your project," or, "I've decided to pursue another option that seems to be a better fit for me at this time."
Bad reasons: "The chemistry didn't seem right," or, "I don't see room for my career growth."
Your contact person might be searching for a new job herself and you may be a terrific match for an opportunity in her next position.
4. Recognize that you will (most likely) be burning bridges.
Be sure you aren't acting out of short-term emotion. Wait a few days after the interview (if you have that luxury) and consider talking to a coach, consultant or other trusted sounding board.
5. Revive your networking, sales activity and application process. Often saying "no" will clear the decks for you to clarify what you really want. Some folks believe you're reflecting abundance and making way for newer, more appropriate opportunities to enter your life.
Bottom Line: Being in a position to decline opportunities means you hold a winning hand. You're well along the road to whatever you define as success and prosperity. Use this option sparingly and wisely.
In any relationship, I've found that saying "yes" to the wrong proposal inevitably leads to a bitter, expensive divorce.
About The Author
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First step to a Second Career. http://www.cathygoodwin.com.
"Ten secrets of mastering a major life change" mailto:email@example.com
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