Every once in a blue moon, a bad decision is made. We choose a short cut that does not work out. We tell a joke at a party that no one understands. We ask, “When is the baby due?” and come to find out the person is not pregnant. Saturday Night Live even had fun with this concept in their Bad Idea Jeans commercial.
Bad decisions can be made when one is deciding on a job offer. The other day I wrote about the need to take action versus inaction in “Perfect vs. Good”, so what happens when you come to realize that your choice wasn’t perfect vs. “Good” but rather perfect vs. “Mistake”.
Time for a course correction.
Depending where you are in the career search process, the course correction will vary with respect to how large of a correction one needs to commence. For example:
Not following up with a contact/letting a contact go stale:
This happens to all of us from time to time and thus I give this example a Course Correction Level: Canoe. Reconnecting with a contact, apologizing for the lapse in communication and extending a hand of assistance can usually reinvigorate the relationship. Just as redirecting a canoe on a placid lake is not too difficult, re-establishing a stale relationship is often easy to do.
Choosing one job offer and regretting it 6 months later:
Course Correction Level: Submarine. A submarine can change its course 180 degrees with some effort, but it is much more nimble than an air craft carrier. In addition, the turn is usually not seen as it takes place below the surface of the water. When planning to leave your current job, it is best to make initiate the turn without anyone seeing. Reaching out to contacts, setting up networking lunches/drinks, dusting off the resume, putting in an application or two with another firm…begin the course correction but do so with discretion. I have known applicants who reached out to recruiters, to whom they had said “no thanks” six months prior, who were able to rekindle their job prospects with the shunned employer. I should note, these cases were ones where the two parties parted amicably.
Putting all your eggs in one basket…and not securing the offer:
A few years back, I worked with a young alum who was very excited about an opportunity with a high-profile sports entity. He applied and entered into the interview process, a process that spanned five months. Once he began the interviewing process, he stopped applying to other job opportunities and building his network – he was completely focused on the sports job. While he did make the final interview stage, he did not receive the offer.
After five months of focus on one entity, he had to begin again from square one in his networking and job applications. This is a Course Correction Level: Aircraft Carrier. Turning an aircraft carrier takes time and a tremendous effort, as does re-establishing a job search that has been in hibernation for months.
Bad decisions happen, do not let them scare you away from taking action as a course correction is an option when you realize your “Bad Idea Jeans” moment.