It’s tempting to take the first job you're offered, especially since the entertainment industry is so competitive. But it’s always okay to decline an offer that you don’t feel is right for you. Here are some factors to consider as you make your decision:
Are you excited by the role? Hopefully, you'll do some soul searching about a role before you apply, reading the job posting carefully to make sure the company and work align with your own values (tip: check out the "Essential Questions to Guide Your Job Search" worksheet in our resource library!). But not all job postings are accurate, and you may learn new information during the interview process. Take a moment to reflect about what your day-to-day will be like once you have a clearer picture of the role. If you’re looking for a quick stepping stone and can gain some valuable skills with a short stint at this company, it might make sense to take the job even if it's not the most exciting role ever. But if you’re looking for long-term stability, consider what will make you happy in the long run. It’s hard to get excited to go to work every day if you’re doing something you don’t believe in.
What's the company/boss's reputation? One of the biggest factors that contributes to happiness (or dissatisfaction) at work is the culture of your team and larger company. There are plenty of places in Hollywood that make awesome content and have a certain cachet but are known for abusive or toxic environments. Do some research to dig up intel about the company culture or your prospective boss, and suss out the team during an interview to see if they seem happy. If you get weird vibes during the interview, you should think twice about accepting the offer. Trust your gut and your research, and if you don't like what you find, stay away!
Are there opportunities for growth? It's pretty common to want to land at a place where you'll have room to grow, whether that's in your title/salary, working at a more reputable or innovative company with exciting projects, or by learning new skills. If you're looking to grow and the job feels like a lateral move or a step down -- like taking a pay cut to go from Director of Development at well-known Prodco A to Director of Development at unestablished Prodco B -- you’re probably better off waiting a little longer for another opportunity where you can actually move up the ladder. It’s also a good idea to ask about room for growth during your interview. If the interviewer makes it clear that they don’t plan to promote unless one of the higher ups who has been there for a decade randomly decides to leave, this probably isn't an ideal situation if your ultimate goal is to stay within the same company for a long time. However, it's totally okay if growth isn't a priority for you right now! If you're comfortable with your title and salary bracket and are looking for something else, like greater work/life balance, you might approach this question differently. Instead, consider...
Does the job align with your lifestyle? Account for work-life balance and your financial situation when evaluating a job offer. If a job requires you to work late every night, and you have a newborn, is this the right situation for you? Will the paycheck be enough to either match or improve your current standard of living -- or if you're comfortable taking a pay cut, do the merits of this specific job and future earning potential align with your needs long-term? Is the commute so bad that it’s going to ruin your mental health, or is the job remote-only, and you're itching to get back to the office? Your job is just one element of your life, so take the time to determine if this role will be a boon for overall well-being or a detriment.
Keep in mind that the "right" answers to these questions will differ from person to person -- only you can decide whether declining a job offer is the correct move. Luckily, even if you end up in a job that isn't the right fit, you can always walk away. Most importantly, if you’re committed to your goals and don’t give up, eventually the right role will come along!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan