Years ago, when I was finishing graduate school in California, I spent a significant amount of time searching for the right job. I would go to job fairs and networking events as if it were my full-time job. I would interview for anything and everything.
Occasionally, a job would pop up that seemed almost perfect — but not quite. The description would be great, the company would seem stable, and the team would seem interesting — but there was something off about the hiring manager, or the salary wasn’t competitive enough.
I would meet with my mentor to tell him about the jobs I was considering and to discuss the pros and cons of each. If a job seemed like the wrong fit, he would encourage me to walk away — even if the hiring manager wanted me. The thought of turning down an offer without another in hand was nerve-racking, but my mentor would remind me: “Jobs are like buses. Just wait. Another one is always coming.” The keyword here is “always.”
Looking back, these were wise words. My mentor felt that, during the job search, it was most important to find the right fit. You spend more time with your boss and your coworkers than with almost anyone else. Why rush the decision?
When you’re feeling desperate for work or miserable in your current role, you may have the urge to take whatever job comes along. The problem, however, is that your next job may be just as bad as your current one — or worse. If you rush into it, you won’t realize that until it’s too late.
Maybe you’re thinking you’ll only take this new job for a short period of time, just to get out of your current situation while you find the perfect fit. This will cause problems for you down the line. You’ll have to explain to every interviewer why you’re leaving your current role after a short time. Such a brief tenure is a major red flag in many employers’ eyes.
When you choose to wait for the right job, you’re doing yourself a favor. You’re taking a valuable step forward in your career. You put yourself in a better position to impress interviewers and negotiate offers.
So, when you’re having a tough day, just remember that jobs are like buses. Another one is always coming, and you want to be sure you get on the right one.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.