As you approach a career change, it is advisable to take pause.  Candidates should not expect a new position in a new company to change their lives entirely.  Most new positions offer improvements in situations unrelated to our personal lives.  More often, career change brings about improved opportunities for advancement and job satisfaction, challenge, a better location, and improved lifestyle.

Following are a series of evaluation tools for you to utilize as you approach your final decision.  They have been effective for other candidates in similar positions.  A la Carte’s mission in the search process is to produce the best union between a qualified candidate and a quality company.  If the proper homework is completed, there is a high probability of future career and personal growth.






Your answers to these questions will help you evaluate any new job offered to you.  Consider each question and its parts carefully.


    1. a. Do I like the nature of the work I will have to perform?

        b. Will I be adequately challenged?
    2. Can I do the job, or be trained to do the job, in a reasonable period of
 time? (If training is required, what will the quality of training be?)
    3. What is the reputation of the company?

      a. Is the company/division stable?
      b. Is the position stable?
      c. Is the supervisor’s position stable?
    4. Is the chemistry between me and the people I will be associated with
    5. Is the company paying me a fair salary?

      a. Fair benefits?
      b. Fair vacations?
      c. Fair commissions (or bonus)?
      d. Fair relocation policy?
    6. Is the opportunity for growth in keeping with my goals?

      a. Monetarily (money-wise)?
      b. Professionally (will I learn more)?
      c. Career-wise (can I move up the ladder)?
    7. Is the location of the position appropriate?

      a. If sales:  Regional, Industry, Accounts.
      b. Position and size of the office staff.
      c. Geographical part of the country.
      d. Convenience of getting to and from headquarters.
    8. Is the philosophy of doing business compatible with mine?

      a. Management style.
      b. Approach to planning.
      c. Organizational chart/reporting relations.
      d. Goals.
      e. Visibility.
    9. How will working there affect my personal lifestyle?
    10. How will working there affect my mate’s career or education?

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Most of us find that our best decisions are made logically, based on the plusses and minuses of a given situation.  The least effective decisions are those we make emotionally.  Emotional decisions are based on a mixed bag of feelings which we experience when we begin the decision-making process.

The “Weighted Decision-Making Technique” was developed to help eliminate emotionalism from decision-making.  The most important decisions should only be made logically, using our intelligence.

Changing jobs is one of life’s most important decisions, and this technique can help people make more logical decisions about career moves.  Draw a chart that is divided down the middle so that you can list the “plus” factors on the right, and “minus” factors on the left.


To begin, consider your present position and all the things you like or dislike about it.  Your salary, benefits, advancement potential, challenge, location, and relationships with bosses and co-workers, etc., are all fair game for your analysis.  Think about the importance of these factors to you and as they relate to each other.  If, for example, you consider salary to be extremely important, then salary should rank relatively high on your list.  If location of your job is unimportant, then location should rank relatively low on your list.

After you have decided the relative importance of each factor you will consider, you should decide how happy/satisfied you are with that item in the context of your present job.  If salary is very important, and you are unhappy with your present salary, then you should list salary high on the minus side of your worksheet.

Repeat this analysis for each of the factors you’ve listed.  Remember, many positions are in a constant state of flux.  What is true about your job today may change in six weeks or even a year from now.  So use this technique regularly to review your career status.

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People are frequently unaware of their career goals because they have never given serious thought to what they like or dislike about their current jobs. In order to determine your own goals (and attain them), consider the question: “What would you change about your current position in order to make it perfect?”  Items like salary, hours, advancement, and location should all be considered.


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On the hierarchy of needs salary traditionally falls 5 or 6 on the list.  Listed ahead of salary are such items as advancement opportunity, job security, fringe benefits, quality of work, reputation of the company.  However, salary considerations are always part of a career move.  So, it is appropriate to consider not only the starting salary, but also, income advancement opportunities in the future.

What is your salary curve?
Your salary curve is a plot of your earnings against your years of experience.  The curve starts when you have zero years experience and your first job.  Generally, your salary curve rises rather steeply for 4-6 years, when most salaried workers get larger percentage raises during shorter time intervals.  The curve then “flattens out” during the latter part of your career, when most salaried people get smaller percentage raises over longer time intervals.

When you change positions, you can jump from one salary curve to another.  Your new salary curve begins above the one from your previous job.  The difference between your two curves (when plotted and measured vertically on a graph), represents the difference in earnings you will enjoy by moving to a new assignment at a higher salary.  If you were to add these differences up for year to year over a ten year period, you would arrive at your cumulative difference in earnings for that period of time.

How can you plot it yourself?
To begin, simply find your starting salary along the vertical line on the left side of the graph.  With that as your starting point, draw a horizontal line from your starting salary to the first year along the “experience” line.  Let’s assume that your starting salary was $70,000.  After one year, you should be earning $74,200 ($70,000 + 6% or $70,000 x 1.06).  After two years you are earning $78,652.00 with your present employer.  After three years, the figure jumps to $83,371.00.

Using our assumptions, we’ve tracked the annual increases to ten years and determined the cumulative differences in earnings in five and ten years.  Below are the differences after each year between your present job and the new job you are considering:


If you keep
your present
job (salary)
If you take
the new job
by year
3rd 1st $78,652 $82,000 $3,348 $3,348
4th 2nd 83,371 86,920 3,549 6,897

In addition to base salary earnings, bonuses are becoming an important component of real earnings.  If you understand that your income is directly related to the amount of profit, savings, and production that you benefit your employer, it’s easy to understand how bonuses can effect real income.  Also note, individuals who earn in the high six figures, increasingly are compensated on a basis of low base income, with a progressive bonus opportunity.

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Your whole career is at stake.

If you have accepted an offer from a new employer and, on giving notice to your present company, a “Buy-Back” offer is made, then you should consider the following:

Ask yourself, if you were worth “X” dollars yesterday, why are they suddenly willing to pay you “Y” dollars today?  Consider the fact that your present employer may be “buying time” with this raise until he can locate a replacement for you.

Suppose you were given an annual raise of $7,200 as a “Buy-Back” offer.  When the company finds your replacement, in say 60 days or so, then the actual cost to them may be as little as $1,200 (2 months at the $600/month salary increase)!

Is just more money going to change everything in your present job?  Consider the new opportunity you will be giving up that looked so favorable when you accepted it.

You should also know that statistics compiled by the National Association of Personnel Consultants confirm the fact that over 80% of those people who accept “Buy-Back” offers and stay are no longer with their company six months later!

Carefully review in your mind all the reasons you wanted to make a job change in the first place.  Does the “Buy-Back” offer really offset these reasons?

If you intend to seriously consider a “Buy-Back” offer, be sure to have all the details confirmed in writing by your employer.  Consider all these facts very carefully before making a final decision.  One mistake at any time could be costly to your professional growth!

Upon receiving a “Buy-Back” offer, few people logically consider why it occurred, and what the consequences will be if they accept it.  Few realize that, by resigning their job to accept other employment, they have actually fired their company!  Since it is customary for the company to fire employees, it is likely your supervisor will view your actions negatively.  Imagine, if you will, what might go through a supervisor’s mind when a key employee, like you, quits.  Here are some realistic possibilities:

    1. “Doesn’t he realize that finding a replacement may take considerably
longer that his lousy two week notice?”
    2. “Let’s see, the Division Manager will want to know the out-of-pocket costs to replace this inconsiderate employee:
      a) Since we only have two weeks, we’ll have to use agencies instead of word-of-mouth and advertising.  That means we’ll have to pay and agency service charge.
      b) We usually interview 6 candidates before hiring.  With room, board, and airfare, that will average at least $1,000 each.
      c)   Chances are we’ll have to relocate the new hire.  Average cost of this for a family of four is around $35,000.
      d)   There are other expenses like mortgage differentials, training period or slow start-up costs, time lost on the part of our employees while interviewing prospective candidates, etc., but how do we figure the costs on those?  I’ll forget these costs for now and add up my real out-of-pocket expenses for the fee, interviewing, and relocation:

1.  Fee for salary of $80,000                                 $24,000.00
2.  Interviewing 6 candidates x $1,000                    6,000.00
3.  Relocation Costs                                                35,000.00
4.  TOTAL OUT-OF-POCKET                                $65,000.00

    Wow! That’s a lot of unbudgeted money to replace this employee.  We could probably save it all if we just had time to find a replacement through normal channels on our own time schedule instead of TWO WEEKS!”
    3.   “Of course, I could buy time if I just matched the $7,200 increase offered by his new employer – that’s only $600 per month more of our out of pocket expenses, and a far sight better than $65,000 in replacement costs!  Won’t my Division Manager be pleased if I pull this off!”
    Considering the previous scenarios, what would you do if you were in the supervisor’s shoes?  Would you agree to pay at least $65,000 in out-of-pocket costs for a replacement?  Or would you buy some time for your company (and yourself) by offering to match what the new employer is paying – at a cost of about $1,200?  Which of these choices would please your Division Manager?
We can’t say it enough: BEWARE OF THE “BUY-BACK”!

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(Address to who the letter is directed)

Dear Mr. Doe:

Thank you for your letter offering me a position as a Design Engineer at a starting salary of $60,000 per year.  It is with pleasure that I accept your offer and confirm that I will start with you on (Date).

I look forward with anticipation to my association with XYZ Company and to contributing my abilities to your continued success.

Sincerely, (Your Name)

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(Address to who the letter is directed)

Dear Mrs. Soxx:

Please accept this as two (2) weeks formal notice of my resignation from the employ of ABC Manufacturing Company.  My final date of employment will be (Date).

I was not seeking a new job.  I was recruited for a lead marketing position with a major international company.  My new employer would like to make the announcement to their organization first, therefore I am not at liberty to disclose their identity at this time.  I will, however, make this information available to you as soon as possible.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the work environment and professional atmosphere here.  Your management, direction, guidance, and counseling have been the source of great personal and career satisfaction to me.  The experience and knowledge gained during my association with ABC has provided significant career growth for which I shall always be appreciative.

Sincerely, (Your Name)

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