So your summer internship is coming to an end and just a few days ago you found yourself in an interesting situation. Your supervisor pulled you into her office, thanked you for all your hard work and offered you a post-graduate position with the firm. On the outside, you reacted as though you were overcome with excitement and gratefulness. However, as she went into detail about the practice group you would be placed in and the six-figure salary you’d be receiving, you find yourself internally struggling. This moment is by all definition the core reason you went to law school, but you can’t help but feel displeased and unfulfilled. I mean you learned a lot this summer and enjoyed every minute of each social event you participated in, but for some reason, this job just doesn’t feel like the right fit. It looks great on paper, but the thought of being in this position for the foreseeable future immediately places a knot in your stomach. So what do you do?
First off, I know you’re probably feeling some guilt in this moment. Getting a post-grad offer at the end of summer is a privilege that very few students experience, so how dare you treat this as a serious problem. But there’s no reason to feel guilt about this! You’re absolutely justified in assessing this decision very carefully. Before making this decision, it’s extremely important that you evaluate whether this is a commitment that you want to take on.
So, before you accept, here are four things you should do:
1. Ask How Long You Have to Make a Decision
Once you receive an end of summer offer, it’s very important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Don’t accept on the spot out of fear of not finding something else and don’t turn it down either. Simply let your employer know that you are extremely grateful, then ask how long you have to make a decision. The good thing about post-graduate offers is that, based on the timing, you may have up until a year before your employment actually begins. Therefore, employers may actually give you a few months to make a decision. But once they provide that timeline, the clock begins. Therefore, you need to be extremely proactive in applying the steps below.
2. Assess Whether this Position Lines Up with your Career Objectives
Ok, so maybe you’re uncertain about this offer because of how difficult your summer was. You felt extremely overworked and in some instances undervalued despite the amount of work you put in. Now, these are all extremely valid reasons to turn down an offer, but before doing so you should definitely assess whether a future position with this firm/organization lines up with your career objectives? Perhaps you should consider:
- Will you be practicing in your practice area of choice?
- Will you have an opportunity to specialize in your preferred type of law, whether that be litigation or transactional matters?
- Is this a highly revered position that could allow you to easily transition into your dream job?
While you may feel strongly in your gut to turn this offer down, if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should maybe consider accepting this offer. Now, hear me out, although this position may not be ideal, the reality is that many first year attorneys don’t receive an offer from their dream job straight out of law school. Therefore, although this position may not be perfect, at least it fits within your career objectives and, at the very least, you could use this position to catapult you into your next job. So don’t be quick to turn an offer down without assessing the above factors.
3. Continue your job hunt
If you receive an offer that you’re unsure about, the most important thing that you can do while the clock ticks on your timing to make a decision, is to continue your job hunt. Don’t stop applying aggressively for positions and going on interviews, because the best thing that you can do during this period of uncertainty is provide yourself with options. Having another offer in the wings will give you the flexibility to make a well thought out decision without being clouded with the fear of unemployment. Most importantly, the best part, is that you already have an offer in your back pocket as you start your job hunt. Don’t be afraid to use this offer as leverage during your interview process. If other employers know that you have an excellent offer in hand, they may be willing to match or even outdo the offer you already have.
4. Ask Yourself, “Is it Worth it?”
If your time to make a decision is coming to a close, your career assessment proves that this offer by no means lines up with your objectives or if your continued job hunt hasn’t proved successful, before accepting this offer you must ask yourself, “is it worth it?” For many people, the answer is understandably yes. With no other offer in sight, this current offer is the only means of financial stability that you’ll have in place. Therefore, it’s completely understandable if you accept the offer on that basis alone. However, for some people, the answer to this question is reasonably, no. If this summer has proved that you want no part in this position and you have the financial flexibility to wait until another offer presents itself, then take the plunge and turn that offer down. The fact that you received an offer in the first place proves that you are an exemplary candidate and you would be the perfect attorney for any position. Trust me when I say that employers will see that and before you know it you will get the offer that sits just right with your conscience.
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