Making the Decision
You have to fish or cut bait. Do you take the job or don't you? If the offer is mediocre and you have other activity going on, you can probably take the risk and turn the offer down.
But if you've been out of work a long time, you'll be tempted to accept. Hold off a few days if you can before you give your final acceptance. You want to be as sure as you can. Don't let your panic about the need to work push you into a rash decision. You can end up in a trap, and in a job no better than what you left.
Involving your family in the decision
When the job offer requires relocation or a change in life style, working hours or anything which will impact upon your family life, involve your family in the decisions. This is an absolute essential if your spouse works. The decision must be a joint one. If you must move to accept the job, has provision been made for relocating your spouse and helping him or her find adequate employment? Discuss the pros and cons of the offer with every member of the family, and consider how each might be affected. Consider carefully the personal ramifications of the change. Are the advantages of the offer worth the upheaval? Or are the opportunities and changes so attractive that everyone looks forward to the move?
Family members can also help when the decision is difficult even when no move is contemplated. Should you hold out longer? Are they willing to continue making the sacrifices they've been making? Having an opportunity to be in on the decision is important to family member.
Notifying the interviewing company of the decision
After you've made your decision, notify each company you were considering, and tell them what you've decided to do. If you're turning down their offer, do it tactfully. Tell them that you were impressed with their company and with their offer. You're sorry, but another company's offer was more attractive (or offered you more opportunity for growth, or didn't require that you relocate).
Finally, notify your friends that you're starting work. Thank again the people who helped you with your campaign.
Was There Any Age Discrimination?
What do you do if you didn't get a job that you were fully qualified for and wanted, and you think that age discrimination is the reason why? It's difficult to decide whether or not you were the victim of age discrimination. Fortunately, the climate on age is changing as employers discover that older employees have some advantages over young employees.
Older employees are more reliable, are absent less, have fewer drug- and alcohol-related problems, work steadier with fewer emotional problems and are less likely to quit.
However, that said, age and other types of discrimination still occur. You can suspect it if any of the following occurs:
Older women executives and professionals run into both age and sex discrimination, although it is much better and certainly less obvious than it was even five or ten years ago. Women and minorities are protected against discrimination by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, and the Equal Pay Act. If older women and minority members feel they've been discriminated against, they have advocacy groups that are willing to take up the cudgel on their behalf.
Discuss your situation first with an advocacy group. Don't go to a lawyer and spend your own hard-earned cash. Many counties have a Family Service League which will help. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is willing to give you advice and help, either at their local office in your area, or you can write to the Commission's main office.
The American Civil Liberties Union has offices all over and can give you help if they think you have a worthy suit. The National Legal Aid and Defender Association can refer you to attorneys who specialize in age and other discrimination suits. The National Employment Law Project also provides attorney referral, as will a local law school and your local county bar association. And the AARP can give you help if you happen to be over 55.
All that said, the record on suits for age discrimination is abysmal. The agencies that are supposed to pursue discrimination suits are under staffed, and the suits languish in the courts. If the suit does finally get to trial, the full proof that age discrimination has occurred appears to rest with you, the plaintiff. The legal process may drag on for months and years. In the meantime, you need to have an income from a job. So-continue your search.