Open Thread | What Do You Wish You Had Known Before Accepting the Job?

person thinking

We all know that hindsight is 20/20, and when it comes to our careers, it’s easy to look back and imagine what could have been, if only we had known x, y, or z.

If you’re reading this post at your desk, waxing poetic on how good things could have been had you only known that your organization was open to salary negotiation, that your office was planning to relocate from the city to a less-convenient suburb, or that your boss likes to warm up fish in the office microwave for lunch every Tuesday, we want to hear from you.

Feel free to vent if that helps, but what we’re really looking for is some real reflection on the types of questions you could have asked to get the information that eluded you before accepting the job. And if you had asked those questions (and gotten honest responses) during your interview and hiring process, is there something you would have done differently?

Share you story with out readers in the comments below. And hang in there; if it’s really not working out, it’s never too late to reinvent your career!

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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    • J
    • February 21, 2018

    Top questions I would have demanded answers for before accepting my position?
    – strategic plan
    – sustainability plan
    – level of authority in decision making
    – clear cut expectations and details of contract with outside agency
    – funding support for projects

    I would have also tried to learn more about former employee’s experiences with the organization, especially POC.

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • February 21, 2018

      Thanks, J! All very interesting asks. Wondering if you have any thoughts on good ways to go about getting some of those questions answered. Strategic plan and sustainability should be easy enough to ask during the interview process, but I wonder how you’d raise the question of level of authority in decision making. Is this an autonomy question? Is it related to micromanaging? Would love to hear more on that one.

      Funding support for projects is pretty huge and absolutely fair for you to ask about. If you’re at a nonprofit, reading up on an annual report or a form 990 may useful in some of that digging.

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