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Long Term Objective – A Factor in all Your Job Search

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While you might take a job now knowing that it demands personal sacrifice for a couple of years, it's a mistake not to consider the extent of personal sacrifice demanded over the next fifteen years. You may think you can handle the moves, hours, and frustrations that go along with your long-term objective, but can your family? Judging by the number of mid-career executives I've counseled who were coping with both a job change and a divorce at the same time, I've got to believe you should involve your spouse in your long-term career objective to make certain that it's worth pursuing. If you don't, you might be reexamining your career and your personal life in a decade.

If you're fortunate enough to have two or three job offers by the end of your campaign, you'll no doubt evaluate each of them according to the benchmarks like - salary, title, responsibilities, and such. At this point I suggest you review your alternatives a second time, keeping your long-term career objectives in mind. You might find this second look leads you to different conclusions than the first.

Example: Your long-term goal is to be that president of the two-hundred-million-dollar division of a billion-dollar company, and that you have two alternative job offers at this time. The first is as controller of the Alpha Corporation, a ten-million-dollar manufacturing company. The second is as section chief reporting directly to the controller in the corporate accounting office of the Beta Corporation, a billion-dollar holding company with a number of two-hundred-million-dollar divisions. To complicate matters, the offer you got from the Alpha Corporation was for three thousand dollars more a year than the Beta offer. Which one should you take? If you consider the job titles and financial rewards of the two jobs, your first impulse is probably to accept Alpha's offer. If you take into account your long term objective, however, chances are you might opt for the job with Beta. Why? It's almost impossible to move at a senior level from a ten-million-dollar company into a billion-dollar corporation. But if you go to work for a billion-dollar corporation, it might well promote you at some point from corporate headquarters into one of its $200,000 divisions as a controller. This position as controller can then serve as your stepping stone to general management of this division.

Another example: You're a salesman with about three years' experience working for a large national company. You've conducted a job search and have two offers pending. The first is with The Super Foods Corporation, another large national firm known for moving its sales people rapidly from territory to territory as they progress towards senior sales management. The other offer is with The Mid-City Distribution Company, a local foods wholesaler. The salary offer is the same at both companies, although your prospective boss at Super Foods has told you if you make it to territory manager you can make a lot more than with a small firm. There is an opportunity to move into sales management with both firms in the next three years. Which job should you take?

At first blush, the opportunity with the large national firm might seem the best opportunity, particularly if your immediate goals are to have responsibility for larger and larger sales territories, and to make as much money as you can in the next fifteen years. But now let's complicate matters. Let's suppose your spouse is a real "family" person with many friends and relatives in the city you now live in. Lets suppose, too, that your spouse has a good job. It doesn't pay as much as yours does but your spouse has been with the outfit for a number of years and would like to stay with it for a good long time. If you join Super Foods, your long-term success with this firm is likely to have a strong negative impact on your personal life. The choice boils down to career versus family in this case. It's impossible to separate the two. But only if you consider your long-term career objective would you come to this realization!

Consider the "Saleability"

Of all alternative job offers just in case things don't work out-Ask yourself which would bring you closest to your long-term objective. Few job-seekers accept a position with a firm thinking they're going to "bomb out" within a year or two. It's the sort of negative thinking most of us shut out of our minds. And yet, experience has shown that many job-seekers will be changing jobs in less than three years' time. If you assume a pessimistic outlook for just a few moments as you consider the alternative offers your search has netted, your choice of which company to go with could be affected. Let's say that your long-term career objective is to become vice-president of manufacturing in a large corporation, and that you have two offers. One is with Universal Fabricators; the other is with Taylor Tubing. Both jobs are as supervisor in a manufacturing plant. The biggest difference between the two jobs is that Universal manufactures twenty diverse products, and as a result, has a wide variety of manufacturing machinery in its plant. Taylor Tubing manufactures only tubes, and uses a group of highly specialized machines for this purpose. In making your decision between Universal and Taylor, your first conclusion might well be to take the job that paid best, was closest to home, seemed to have the nicest people.
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