These days it seems like everyone is quitting to take a new job — or at the very least considering it. And hiring managers in turn are pulling out all the stops in order to attract new hires, from eye-popping sign-on bonuses to out-of-the-box perks.
With workers seemingly flush with opportunity to move around during the Great Resignation, however, it's all the more important to take your time weighing your options, says Abbie Shipp, a management professor at Texas Christian University who specializes in employee engagement over time.
The worst thing you can do is get swept up in the moment and make a decision too quickly, especially if flashy perks or an exciting trend are clouding your judgment, Shipp tells CNBC Make It. She recommends using one counterintuitive trick to decide whether a job offer is really worth it: Focus on the negatives.
Why it can pay off to focus on the negatives
Start off with a basic pros and cons list about the things you like and dislike about the job, Shipp says. Do this for every offer you have, including for your current job.
Ultimately, you'll want to make sure the job itself, the team and the company culture are a fit with your personal and professional goals. If all the "pros" seem equally appealing and aren't helping you make a decision, focus in on your "cons" list.
As Shipp puts it, "the negative things will make you want to leave a company the most, so decide for yourself: Which ones can you tolerate?"
She says not enough people think about the aspects of a job or company that will drive them away. People are generally risk-averse, so you might have a stronger reaction to what you dislike about a situation, or what you could lose by making a certain move, compared with what you would like about a potential change.
Prioritize the aspects of the job that will impact your day-to-day. For example, one job might offer a higher employer match on your 401(k) but have a lousy vacation policy that doesn't give you much flexibility. On the other hand, another offer might have an average retirement benefit but great paid time off options.
"As soon as you join the company, you won't be thinking about your retirement contributions," Shipp says. "You'll be thinking about your PTO. When you get there, it's the time off element that'll nag at you."
Determine the opportunity costs
Also consider the opportunity costs of changing jobs, and whether you can stand to lose out on the path not taken. Job-switchers usually get a higher salary in a new role, Shipp says, but a switch can also disrupt your finances and professional growth, at least temporarily. And don't forget to factor in that the months-long transition of changing jobs can be mentally draining.
"Really consider the long-term view and cost," Shipp says, "particularly now in the pandemic. Is another change really going to help you, or will the stability of staying be more valuable?"
Shipp also recommends bringing in trusted outside opinions from mentors, colleagues, friends and family to help you cut through the perks of a job and see if it's really worthwhile. They can provide some perspective on which opportunities seem to align most with what you want, based on how you've talked about your career and life goals with them.
Think of it as asking people to poke holes in your argument. It can help you avoid what Shipp says most people do: selectively craft information that leads them to the decision they want to make.
Bottom line, give yourself ample time to make a decision that's best for your career and personal life, Shipp says: "Don't get swept up in a trend."
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