How To Know When It's Right To Turn Down A Job - Gulf Business
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How To Know When It’s Right To Turn Down A Job

How To Know When It’s Right To Turn Down A Job

How can you ensure that you pick the best job for your future development and investment?


Forty-four per cent voted “no way” to the question “do you like your boss?” in the recent poll here on

One of the ways you could avoid this problem is to carry out proper due diligence before taking on a new role and having the nerve to disqualify otherwise attractive job opportunities.

This is easier said than done for expats, who are forced to move their entire family out of a Gulf country if they are without a job for a month. Gulf nationals, who want to work in the private sector and are struggling to find a satisfying role, can be reluctant to down an offer that looks good on paper.

From a financial perspective, a professional’s human capital is, however, typically his or her most valuable asset. Do you think about whether to take a new job in the same way that you would make a single investment with almost your entire fortune?

The lifetime earning of a professional with a good business education can easily be a few million US dollars. Next month’s pay cheque is probably a drip in this, while the return on your human capital is influenced by your achievements relative to the challenges you have faced.

An employer’s attention to your personal development can be a deciding factor for your future career. Years spent working without proper focus, maybe because of a corporate environment dominated by internal politics, are never given back.

Therefore, you must accept that it can easily take six months or more to find your ideal new job and that you should use this period effectively. By quickly disqualifying opportunities, you give yourself more time for the situations that really suit you and where you need to be on top of the game. I recommend you to answer a couple of questions for each job opportunity that comes your way.

Are you ready for the industry’s dynamics? There can be good jobs in a squeezed market but you should be prepared with realism for the ride. For example, most corners of telecommunications in the Gulf have grown massively over the last ten years but the industry is now maturing and becoming more competitive. Meanwhile, the real estate sector fluctuates rapidly. New supply can build up in some segments and by far overshadow demand.

Is the business healthy and full-hearted? Even impressive companies are often only making big money from small parts of their businesses. Other areas invite for painful reductions and changes. The sound areas can be vulnerable to external disruptions. An example is that online business is less developed in the region but is now catching up and will make life more difficult for other currently healthy businesses. If a company intends to grow in a new sphere, then the management must also be full-hearted about the investments and attention necessary to build the internal capabilities.

Can you live with the values of the company and trust that it would value you? Companies in the region represent very different work environments. You must understand each specific organisation and how it matches you. You should watch out for the extent to which a long-term horizon is applied. For example: how well prepared is the organisation for Saudisation, Emiratisation or other initiatives to increase the share of nationals in the workforce? What are the management’s underlying intentions? These could affect you down the line whether you are a national or an expat.

Are you comfortable with the people and what others say about them? You should pay attention to your intuition. What was your instant impression of the people you met in the interviews? Though, you should curb your enthusiasm. We humans tend to overestimate similarities with others, irrespective of big cultural differences. What do other people, who work or have worked with the individuals or the organisation, tell you, when you probe a bit?

Your homework is similar to what an investor goes through before acquiring a company. You could even hire an analyst and could find one at a reasonable price on a freelance portal like oDesk, if your own time does not allow for proper gathering of data and information.

The four questions will influence who your next manager will be. You should especially listen to what different people have to say about this person and look at what can be dug up on the internet. You could be lucky in that your future manager carried out a similar due diligence and got a job that really suits him or her and thereby is in a better position to help you develop and achieve.

Nicolai Tillisch is the founder of the business consulting company Dual Impact and the author of Effective Business In The Gulf: Mastering leadership skills for greater success.

The newly released book can be purchased from Motivate Publishing

Read more from Nicolai Tillisch: Why Your Boss Is Being More Horrible To You


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