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Should You Accept a New Job During the COVID-19 Crisis?

By Maurie Backman - Apr 21, 2020 at 10:36AM

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There are pros and cons to starting a new job right now.

At a time when so many businesses are struggling financially, getting a job offer may seem unlikely during the COVID-19 crisis. But what if you were already in talks with a company before the outbreak worsened? In fact, what if you endured a series of interviews and are just now being asked to come work for that very employer?

If you're not super happy at your current job, or are reasonably content where you are but are motivated to take a new job because it pays more or offers more career growth, then you may be tempted to say yes to an offer. But is that really a good idea right now?

Man in suit smiling and holding document while standing man in suit pats him on the back and extends his hand

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

The downside of starting a new job mid-crisis

Jumping from one employer to another always requires some legwork and adjustments. But doing so during a pandemic could prove extremely challenging.

First, think about the logistics of getting up to speed at your new job. At a time when so many people are doing their jobs remotely and many are juggling work and family life, you might struggle to get to know your colleagues, learn the ropes, or understand exactly how to perform the tasks that are essential to your specific role. And while online chat apps and other tools are making it easy for co-workers to stay in touch, communicating well with your teammates for the first time may be challenging when you're doing it over a messaging channel or email.

Furthermore, when you switch jobs, you're not necessarily guaranteed health insurance or sick leave right off the bat. And now's not the time to go without those things, so you'll need to have a conversation with your prospective employer to make sure that accepting that offer won't leave you in the lurch from a benefits perspective.

The upside of switching jobs right now

On the other hand, there is a benefit to getting a new job right now: having something to look forward to. If you're excited about the opportunity at hand, and you're not particularly thrilled with or challenged at your current job, then having new, engaging things to work on could be a boon to your mental health. Right now, a positive outlook can be hard to come by, so if a new job gives you one, it may be worth taking.

Ultimately, now's probably not a popular time for job offers to get thrown around, but if you're sitting on one, don't necessarily rush to say yes or no. Rather, weigh the pros and cons and make sure you'll be eligible for health coverage right away if you're inclined to accept. And also, make sure your employer has reasonable expectations given your current circumstances. If you're stuck home with young kids, for example, you may not be able to give that new job your all from the get-go. Have honest conversations before saying yes so you don't wind up regretting your decision after the fact.

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