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Five ‘Sticky’ Questions You Need To Ask — Before You Take The Job

Source |Forbes .com  |  BY:Liz Ryan, CONTRIBUTOR

Dear Liz,

I took a new job last September. It was the wrong job for me to take, and now I’m paying the price.

I can see now that I was frantic to get a new job, even though I had more money in the bank when I got laid off than I’ve ever had before.

I took the job and now I’m regretting it.

When I hit my one-year anniversary at this company I’m going to start job hunting again.

The question I never even thought to ask was “How much responsibility will I have over my projects?”

I’m called an Executive Administrator, which in this company means an Executive Assistant with project management responsibilities. It sounds great on paper but in reality, I have no authority at all.

In this job, I’m not allowed to make simple day-to-day decisions that I made in my first job fourteen years ago. In this company they don’t let people in non-management jobs make any decisions at all.

I had to get my boss’s approval before I could order flowers for a client who had a baby, because the new-baby bouquet cost more than a hundred dollars.

In my old job I had a $50K budget for one event. During the six-month event planning process, I kept the leadership team apprised of my progress through three status meetings.

They were thrilled with the event. No one questioned any of my financial decisions even once.

Now I can’t book a hotel room without checking with my boss. It’s oppressive.

I have never seen a company operate this way. There is no trust here.

I guess I missed the signs.  It never occurred to me to ask “Do I have to get a manager’s approval to buy flowers for a client or book a hotel room?”

Is that even the right question to ask? I’m going to be job hunting soon and I’d love your advice.



Dear Patrice,

Snakebites are the worst! The learning is powerful, but the pain comes way before the learning.

When you’re close to accepting a job offer, it is always better to ask the question burning on your lips than to keep silent and take your chances.

Some job-seekers feel hesitant about asking questions like ”What are the limits on budget authority for this role?” or “What are the typical decisions a person in this role can make independently, and which decisions require a manager’s approval?”

Once a snake bites you, you learn that you have no choice — you have to ask those questions!

If you don’t, you run the risk of taking a job that is impossible to perform successfully because you’re hamstrung whenever you try to take action.


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