How to Avoid a Great New Job

By Robert Goldman

December 5, 2019 5 min read

I know it seems impossible, but there's a chance that somewhere out there an employer wants to offer you an amazing job.

I didn't say there was a big chance, but when you're stuck in the mud, career-wise, it's good to entertain the thought that there is a teensy-weensy, itsy-bitsy possibility the phone will ring and you will be offered a great new job.

Which raises the question — what do you do if the call does arrive?

(Assuming you can move past the first reaction of your teensy-weensy, itsy-bitsy brain, which is to say, "I think you have the wrong number.")

Of course, any new job represents a risk. You may despise your current employer, but on the positive side, they know you and seem willing to keep you around.

There's no guarantee that a new employer won't come to their senses when you actually show up.

Don't want to risk it?

You're ready for "How to Gracefully Leverage an Outside Job Offer," a recent article by Anna Goldfarb in The New York Times.

Should you decide to go the leverage route, your first step is to "learn the best outcome anyone has ever received in your position."

"If a superstar in your field was able to leverage a stellar outside offer," Goldfarb writes, "be clear in what ways your achievements are similar or dissimilar."

That's easy. You and the superstar both breath oxygen. Otherwise, the similarities are zero.

And you have an additional liability. The company wants to keep the superstar. You, they can't wait to get rid of.

"Consult mentors" is good advice if you have any. In your case, "consult bartenders" will have to suffice. These wise and caring individuals definitely do not want to see a good customer leave the area and will be sure to provide sage advice for keeping you around.

"Be transparent" is another Goldfarb tip. Tell your boss you are entertaining an offer and promise to keep them up to date. Pay close attention to their reaction. If the idea of your possible exit makes your boss's eyes light up, you know you may be leaving soon, job offer or not.

In this case, a good follow-up is, "But I'm so happy here, I would happily work for much less." See how little you can get your salary reduced and still keep your job.

Now, that's shrewd negotiating!

Another way to leverage an outside offer is to use it to negotiate improved job conditions. For example, ask to work remotely. Or, in your case, ask to not work remotely.

Job experts advise you to "position your personal needs as a benefit to the company." For example, don't frame a telecommuting request around, "Oh, it'll be great to sidestep traffic."

Instead, point out that by working from home you'll be able to sleep later and never miss an episode of "Temptation Island." This won't improve your job performance, but it will make you a lot more fun at the holiday party.

In all phases of the negotiation, be positive. "Ask what kind of prospects you have in your current position and see if your boss can help you get there."

Since the current prospect is being summarily fired, there's no doubt your boss can help you get there. If your best outcome is to stay employed, you may have to turn to the ultimate weapon available to any employee — flattery.

"I don't care about extra money or lavish perks," you tell your boss. "It is worth much more to me to stay here and learn from you."

If you can say this with a straight face, you deserve a big raise and a career change. You'll definitely do well in politics.

If all these ploys fail and you're forced to take the great new job, Goldfarb strongly recommends that you "don't burn bridges." On the contrary, you should maintain relationships with former colleagues by "keeping in touch and catching up over coffee whenever possible."

One good way to do this is to borrow as much money from as many colleagues as you can before you walk out the door. This will keep you in their minds, trust me, and you can use the extra money to pick up the checks for those delightful "forget-me-not" coffee dates.

This would be a thoughtful move by a considerate person who has been lucky enough to get a great new job, but I wouldn't advise it.

You don't want everyone to think you've changed.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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