Sat, 29 Mar 2003

Pri Notowidigdo, The Amrop Hever Group, Global Executive Search, Jakarta, (e-mail:

Dealing with your feelings when you accept a job offer

You get a call from a friend in the morning. He tells you about a vacancy in his company that interests you, and arranges a meeting with the CEO.

The CEO likes you and offers you a managerial position at twice your current salary. You're speechless. You're overwhelmed. You're flattered. You start daydreaming of buying that Gucci suit you saw in Plaza Indonesia. You can pay off your debts. You start planning a trip to Melbourne to meet your fiance's family.

However, unsettling thoughts come to mind -- unfinished business, job responsibility, trust, and existing relationships. You feel uneasy and confused. What's happening? What are the issues? How can you resolve them? This poses a moral dilemma that affects both your personal as well as your professional life.

You likely feel a sense of responsibility to complete your unfinished tasks. This is compounded by the fact that business has been picking up, keeping you and your colleagues very busy. You may feel guilty at the prospect of leaving a collegial environment which nurtures dignity, freedom, responsibility, open communication and growth.

What are the issues? Isn't the big issue about meaning? What does moving to another company mean to you? What does it mean for you to stay in your current company? It all comes down to reflecting on those values which have guided you in life -- family, respect for others, integrity and responsibility among a range of things. What's important to you? What are the implications of your decision for your values?

It would seem worthwhile to ask yourself why do you work anyway?Do you work only for survival? Or do you see work as a gift that helps you to grow? How you answer these questions may have a lot to do with the way you view work and the people who work with you.

It seems to me that work is more than just performing tasks. It is part of who you are, or at least who you should be. As you work together with other people and develop your skills and talents, you can express your creativity and enhance your dignity. This is all part of performing and producing services and benefits for others. It is within the context of an organization of people who produce value.

Doesn't your work and the value of serving others provide a reason for your work? In the process you learn to give, not just receive, and to contribute something of value to the organization and other people, not just to do a job.

All this points to the importance of dignity. What is the basis of your self-esteem? Is it externally defined like your job title or the car you drive? Or, is it internally defined like the satisfaction you feel when you have achieved something? Can you bring your values to work and apply them everyday?

It would seem to me that our desire is not to be known for what we know but for what we do. We must be people of integrity seeking to do that which is right even when no one is looking. And we must stay committed to what matters most to us whether the test is adversity or prosperity. Yes, I truly believe that these principles can work even in the market place.

Whatever decision you make as a professional does not affect just the bottom line of your company -- or of yourself for that matter. It affects people -- fellow workers, customers, employees, your boss and your loved ones.