5 reasons to turn down a job offer

In this economy, it’s easy to feel like you should jump at any job offer that comes along. But doing that can land you in a job that will make you miserable and could even harm you professionally. Here are five reasons to consider turning down a job offer.

1. Your gut. Unless your gut is known for paranoid overreacting, listen to it if it’s setting off alarm bells. If something doesn’t feel right or you have an inexplicable dread when you imagine yourself in the job, pay attention. Your subconscious is probably picking up on danger signs.

2. The job is over your head. You do not want to bluff your way into a job that you aren’t actually qualified for. If the work doesn’t play to your strengths, you’ll struggle and could even end up getting fired. It amazes me how many people don’t realize this.

3. You have a bad feeling about the person who would be your boss. The old saying that “people leave bosses, not jobs” is right. Make sure the manager is someone you’d want to work with.

4. The salary. On one hand, if you’re unemployed, any salary is better than no salary. But if you accept a salary far below what the market says you’re worth, you’re likely to leave as soon as something better-paid comes along — which isn’t fair to the employer and may burn bridges that haunt you in the future.

5. The culture. If the culture is very formal and you go crazy when you’re not in a relaxed environment, or if it’s an aggressive, combative environment and you are more low-key and reserved, this probably isn’t going to be a happy home for you.

You’re going to be spending a large chunk of your waking life at this job. Be honest with yourself about whether you’re going to thrive there.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.