Five stupid career gambles you’ll regret taking
Sometimes it can be a great idea to gamble with your career. The world is full of stories of people who quit day jobs to become millionaire entrepreneurs or famous authors, or to devote their lives to philanthropy. But there are also risks you should never take, actions that might seem like good ideas at the time, but that are far more likely to make things worse rather than better. Read on for four of these.
Five career gambles you should never take.
Making up another job offer: Maybe you’re gunning for a raise. Maybe you’re trying to speed up the hiring process. The process has gone well so far. You aced the interviews, and now you’re just waiting to hear back. It’s taken months and you’re wondering what the harm would be in telling them you’ve had another offer and would like to know if they’re still interested, so you can make a decision.
Well, there’s a good chance they’re not stalling for the sake of stalling and that they can’t speed up the process, so if you tell them they have to hurry, they’re likely to say “OK then, we’ll have to go with someone else.” Also, people in the same industry tend to know each other. It would be terrible if someone from the company met someone you both know – say at an industry event – and if somehow your name came up, and the mutual acquaintance was like, “What job offer? He’s still looking and living in his mom’s basement.” Now you’re out of a job and a known liar.
Giving your boss the “Give me a raise or I quit” ultimatum: You need more money. You’ve got mortgage payments. So, you steel your nerves, walk into your boss’s office and say “Jane, I need a raise, and if I don’t get it I’m going to have to start looking for another job.” Or some variation thereupon (see also: making up a job offer).
What does Jane say? She says, “I’m sorry to hear that you’re leaving us. I’ll start looking for your replacement right away.”
You might think that, if you’re a valued employee, the company will do what it can to keep you. But the ultimatum raises a red flag about your commitment to the company, and companies – even disloyal ones – don’t want disloyal employees. Look for another job and, if when you find one, hand in your notice – even if you like the company. Honestly, I hate this advice. I’d like to say that you should be able to openly communicate your needs to your employer, but every manager I spoke to advised against it. Subterfuge is the way to go here. It’s a cold world.
Lying about your work history: Not long ago, our tech team had an interview with a candidate who claimed to have worked at Blackberry. Since one of the interviewers had also worked at Blackberry, he asked what building the candidate worked in, and to whom he reported. It turned out the candidate never actually worked there, and fairly readily admitted so.
Don’t lie. You never know who you might meet. Think about it. If you’re lying about a job in the field in which you’re applying for a job, the odds of getting caught are very high. Also, if you are going to lie (which we don’t condone but we can’t stop you) at least do a minimum of research into your lie. The candidate could have at least gotten a manager’s name and looked at a map of the RIM grounds. Seriously, he cracked under the tiniest bit of pressure. His attempt was shoddy on all levels.
Burning bridges: Recently we ran a story about Alaska TV reporter Charlo Greene, who made headlines when she quit her job to focus full time on the medical marijuana dispensary she runs, and the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Alaska. How did Greene quit? Live, on camera, by saying “F*** it, I quit,” then walking off the set and leaving her coworkers to cover for her.
The story went viral and many applauded her the move. Unfortunately, as career guides, we felt compelled to point out that this is the worst possible way to quit your job. While she did bring attention to her cause, Greene embarrassed her bosses, and left her colleagues to clean up the mess. If she ever needs a job, she’s probably not going to get one in broadcasting, and probably not in the town of Anchorage, which has a population of fewer than 400,000.
Maybe Greene won’t need a job and maybe it was the right move for her. But for most people, this is the wrong move. As tempting as it might be to go out with a bang, don’t burn bridges. Try to keep all your relationships intact, and leave the place better than you found it.
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