Risk factor

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Dear Molly,

I have been in my job for a couple years and really love it. I work for a great company and like the people I work with. My dilemma is that I have recently been approached by another company offering me more money for a slightly higher-level position. I like the idea of earning a higher salary, but I'm not sure that I'll like the work or the company as much as I do now. Should I stay with the sure thing that I like or go for the potential of moving up in my career and salary? Help!-Brandon

Taking this new job really is a risk if you don't know much about the work, the employer, your potential boss and co-workers. Not to mention the corporate culture.

And that's kind of unfair, really, because the employer knows all about you. You were probably grilled about your skills, background and education - and believe me, your personal characteristics were being evaluated, too. They obviously liked what they saw, because you got the offer.

But what did you see when you were at the job site interviewing? Think really hard, because this is important. We're trying to mitigate your risk by coming up with any and all information you can compile to make a rational decision. Well, rational with a heaping dose of intuition on top for good measure. This oft-ignored business tool (yes, intuition is a business tool) rarely misses the mark. I've questioned countless people about their first, uncensored, gut instinct about a particular situation, and the long-term outcome almost always matches up with the initial feeling.

When you walked in, how were you feeling? Now try to re-construct as much information as you can about the company and the job. First - what can you deduce about the people you would be working with? Did you get to meet any of them? Did they seem nice? Or fake?

Next, it's time to evaluate the job itself. Were you lucky enough to get to look at a job description or meet anyone who actually does this work in the company?

Now look at the corporate culture. Take an initial stab at this by thinking back to the vibe around the office. Did you witness laughter and camaraderie? Did the people you passed in the hallway seem friendly and happy, or did they remind you of characters in an old black-and-white zombie movie?

Continue your fact-finding mission by contacting anyone you know that works for this company to get a real picture of how things work there. If you don't know anyone, ask your friends if they do.

Good luck, Brandon, and remember - sometimes you have to take a risk to climb the corporate ladder. Just be sure to make it an educated one.

Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your work-related questions to