“When the offer’s firm”
If you’ve been offered a new job, don’t forget: your job hunt ain’t over until the fat lady sings. That means that until you’ve got a letter with the offer in your hot little hands spelled out just as you and the employer discussed, nothing is certain.
I don’t care how nice and sincere the people at the company have been, how great the job is and how positive you are that everything will work out. If you haven’t received such a letter, don’t spread the word that you’ve got a new job, resign from the one you’ve got or pack a single box-óif you’re planning to move-ófor the new position yet. Until the final results are in, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.
Plenty can change from the time you shake hands with the employer and when the offer is finally put in writing. Take my client who was ready to pack up and move from the west to the east coast for a dream job come true.
He and his soon-to-be-new boss had agreed on the conditions of employment at his second interview. They shook hands and he told my client to expect the offer in the mail within the week. My client headed back home. There, he waited for the offer and when he got and reviewed it, it was missing two key elements of their verbal agreement.
There was nothing in there about the company paying 100% of his relocation costs. And the company had left out the clause on what happens if the project they were hiring him for was cut. This was important because the position was being funded by a particular budget. If the budget was cut, so was the job. And there he’d be sitting, having moved across country for a job that doesn’t exist.
At first he thought these issues were merely an administrative oversight. But as it turns out, someone higher up in the organization didn’t like the verbal agreement and changed it when it was drawn up. Either my client’s potential new boss hadn’t checked with this person or that’s just how they do business at this company.
In the meantime, thinking all was settled and he was moving, my client had turned down another position. He had started the wheels in motion to sell his house. He had packed up half his belongings.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. But I’ve seen it enough times. Just know that if you’ve been unemployed for a while, when a new job comes up, you will be tempted to jump the gun. Slow down. Make sure everyone is clear on the details including your title, department you work for, person you report to compensation including bonuses and benefits, severance package, relocation costs and contingencies the offer is based on such as a drug or background check. Have a lawyer review the written agreement when it does come in the mail.
You also need to keep your job search alive–which is probably the last thing you want to be doing. But since a job hunt ain’t over till it’s over, as they say, don’t count your chickens until they’ve hatched.