Dear Nonprofiteer, How can I juggle two offers and not drop both?

Dear Nonprofiteer,

I am a fan and reader of your website. This may be way out
of line, but I was wondering if you might give me some brief career
advice and settle a family dispute.

I am currently employed as a Development officer but have been looking for other positions. I am in a bit of a job search pickle – I am about to receive a job offer from one organization (Nonprofit A) and am at the near-final stages of a job process with another organization (Nonprofit B).  The Nonprofit A job offer is going to come tomorrow, and the Nonprofit B decision may go until next week.

For several reasons, I much prefer the Nonprofit B job and am wondering if I can slightly stall Nonprofit A in order for the Nonprofit B process to finish up.

My mom thinks that Nonprofit A might rescind the offer if I do not give them an answer within 24 hours (I have been getting an indication that I will be receiving the offer from A for the last week, so there is no really good reason for me to need another week to think about it).

My boyfriend (who comes from the law firm world where playing offers off of each other is standard) thinks that A will not be offended if I ask for a week to think about it, and that I will not risk losing the offer.

Both jobs are steps up, both title and salary-wise, from what I am
doing now.  Nonprofit B told me today that they are in slow hiring mode, but I have made it to the 4th or 5th round (had an in-person interview with the decision-makers today), and they said they might be able to give me an answer by next week. I mentioned in the interview today that I might be receiving another offer soon, and they said that they would try to speed things up if that occurred, but no promises.

My boyfriend and my mom are disagreeing with each other and jokingly referring to each other as “the expert”. I thought I would write to the real nonprofit expert – you! – and see if you had any thoughts about whether nonprofits would be offended by a one-week stall of a job offer. I know Nonprofit A is trying to fill the position quickly because they are worried the position will be re-frozen.

I am on the phone right now with my mom and she is urging me to call up Nonprofit A (“right now”!) and accept even though I haven’t heard back from Nonprofit B (which she thinks is evidence of their luke-warmness).  I don’t think I can do that, especially because I just told my current boss that she could make me a counter-offer if she wanted.  Gah: drama!  She really thinks that I am risking the offer being rescinded by not accepting right away!

Well, I guess this will be a good test case for your blog and future
readers who might find themselves in this situation – will they
rescind or not?  Predictions and advice gratefully accepted!

Signed, Bonus Baby

Dear Bonus Baby,

If you’ve managed to secure two almost-offers–plus bring your current boss up to snuff–in this horrible job market, you’re the one who should be giving advice to the rest of us!  Still, I’ll give what thoughts I can about your dilemma.

I can’t imagine why Nonprofit A would rescind its offer because you ask for a week, or even two, to hear from Nonprofit B. Any sane adult would like to have full power of choice over her future, and any sane adult understands that about another adult. Women, I think, are socialized to believe that if we don’t say “yes” to our first offer we’ll never get another one–that, rather than anything special about the law firm world, probably accounts for the difference in perspective between your mother and your boyfriend.  Tell Mom to stop channeling her experiences from the prom and calm down.

Also–and I realize it’s easier for me to say this than for you to act on it–if it WERE true that Nonprofit A was the kind of place that would threaten you with rescission for asking for a reasonable period in which to make up your mind, then Nonprofit A would likewise not be the kind of place you would want to work. One thing you really can’t do without in an employer is respect for the appropriate and ordinary concerns of real life as they impinge on employees.

On the other hand, if Nonprofit B puts you through five rounds of interviews and still can’t manage to give you an answer in the next two weeks when you’ve told them there’s a good reason why you need it, then they’re the ones who aren’t being appropriately respectful of you as a professional.

So–the short version of this long-winded assessment: tell Nonprofit A you need a couple of weeks, and if they get the heads-up that the job is going to be re-frozen during that time you’d like a heads-up of your own so you can say yea or nay at the last possible minute. Meanwhile, give Nonprofit B a couple of weeks to give you an answer but no more; if they can’t make up their minds in that time, take A and congratulate yourself on escaping an entire career spent with ditherers.

Gentle readers: Of course, your nonprofit is impeccably managed; but what about those incompetents down the street?  Write to the Nonprofiteer about all the mal- and nonfeasance with which you’re surrounded, and she’ll chastise the guilty and praise the virtuous and wise (that would be you).  Please e-mail (subject line: Dear Nonprofiteer . . .) early and often.

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4 Responses to “Dear Nonprofiteer, How can I juggle two offers and not drop both?”

  1. Yana Davis Says:

    My own advice from facing this same situation last summer – and making the wrong choice – is go with your intuition on this. Everyone has a deep well of wisdom within. Chant or meditate or pray to tap it and go with what comes to mind and heart unforced. And I really mean that.

  2. Mike Puican Says:

    This is good advice. I would add one more suggestion. Call up Nonprofit B and let them know that you have received an offer from another nonprofit. Nothing motivates a potential employer like the possibility of losing a good candidate to another organization. It doesn’t have to be in a threatening tone. You can simply say, “I am really interested in your organization but I have just received an offer from another nonprofit. Would you be able to let me know if you are interested in making an offer because I have to get back to this other organization?

  3. Isabella Kirberger Says:

    Hello could I quote some of the content here in this entry if I reference you with a link back to your site?

    • Nonprofiteer Says:

      Absolutely–I’m happy to be quoted and linked to. Thanks for asking.

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