By Stefano Virgilli — Recently a close friend of mine contacted me to ask for my advise with regards to his career. He is in his 40s, he is European and he is a director in a MNC. My friend is working in an emerging country and he loves the lifestyle over there.
However, recently he received a job offer from the same company, in a developed country and for a higher level position. In theory a perfect upgrade, but he was in fact puzzled whether to accept or decline the offer.
I first listened carefully to all the potential variables involved in the move, then I pin pointed for him the important factors to keep in account. In my opinion there are generally several grounds for consideration. First of all, the role.
My friend, whom from now I will call Mr. A, was concerned about the management style of the company. In fact, with a higher role, always come bigger responsibilities. He feared that the new role, despite being well within his range of skills and knowledge, imposed tighter KPIs than those currently set at his career level.
I presented Mr. A with the perspective that at his age there should be only one career direction: up. Hence, if he was not ready to accept bigger responsibilities and higher risks, he would have stayed where he was. Therefore, from my point of view, the criteria number 1 for evaluation, job role, imposed him to move.
The second criteria was related the salary. Mr. A mentioned that yes, a salary increment was going to be given, although it might have all been eroded by the higher cost of living in the developed country.
So higher salary, but also higher costs. With regards to this parameter of assessment, I could not advise whether it was a good idea to move on or not.
The third parameter was then location. Although it was partially involved in both assessment criteria number 1 — given the fact that the developed country hosts the regional headquarter of the MNC, unlike the developing country, which is simply relying on the local market — and in criteria number 2, the salary, there was a third country related aspect to keep into account.
The developed country, although less dynamic and slower at growth than a developing country, offered to Mr. A higher chances of re-employability in case he was to lose his job. In fact, given his age, he certainly could be finding himself struggling to get an equally good job in a developing country.
Especially because in the developing country the English language is far less common than the developed country. Also, the developing country has strong cultural and traditional mindset that are hard to assimilate for a foreigner, whereas the developed country has a mix of international people which makes it easier for a European to feel at home. Therefore, according to the third assessment criteria, I would have vouched for Mr. A to move on, rather than staying where he was.
Lastly: People. A common say is that we change boss, not job. In this case it would be true for him.
Just a couple of months ago his boss in the developing country changed. Mr. A found himself under fire as the new boss imposed higher pressure on KPIs achievement.
My friend also found that the new boss was implementing a management style based on very high expectations and very low tolerance for mistakes.
Unfortunately Mr. A found himself in a negative spotlight after some of his team members accidentally made 3 mistakes in a very short period of time, right after the new boss was appointed.
Therefore my friend could have certainly benefited from a change. In fact, had he taken the new position in the developed country, the new boss would have been a very approachable lady, open to suggestions and ready to protect her team members in the eyes of her boss.
This factor alone was very tempting to Mr. A, and I agree with him. Many people prefer working in harmony for less money than a higher salary with a lot of stress.
However, this factor could end up being a double edge sword for Mr. A, because despite the lady in the developed country being nice, her bosses at the top management might exercise higher pressure on everyone “below” than in the developing country. Hence my friend had to think very carefully in which direction to go.
My advise was to move on and accept the new position. However Mr. A went back to work and shared his intention with the current team, which apparently led to a more positive environment.
In fact the current boss has realised the importance of my friend in his team and made an offer for him to stay, increasing salary and providing extra help by hiring new people in his team.
It sounds like a happy ending for his dilemma, but with my character and my level of ambition, I would have probably taken the risk and accepted the new position.