8 Job Offers That Are Too Good to Be True


These days, any job offer is one worth considering. Although the unemployment rate is under 6%, the median household income in the U.S. actually peaked over 15 years ago. That means in real terms, the average family was better off in 2000 than it is today. So when a new job offer comes to the table, it's always worth taking a look at.

However, some of these job offers can be fool's gold. On the surface, they look great. They seem to have everything you'd ever want. But sadly, the grass is always greener until you actually take the job, and see what life is like on the other side. Here are eight job offers that are often too good to be true.

1. Heading Up an Ailing Department

Sales have been low. Performance is down. Customer complaints are at an all time high. The company looks to you to save the day. Now, you're going to head up a department that has more than its fair share of troubles, and you will be the hero who saved the day. Or will you?

The problem with this kind of job, whether it's an internal promotion or an external hire, is that it's all risk and very little reward. Say you do work day and night to fix all of the problems; will the company reward you with anything more than a thank you? Will they even acknowledge the part you played?

With ailing departments, the problems are usually systemic and ingrained. The chances of you fixing anything in a reasonable amount of time, without requesting sweeping and disruptive changes, are slim to none. You are going to be very unpopular, and are basically accepting the job of "fall guy." Do you really want that? Think back to all the sports managers who came in to turn around the success of the team. Most don't even come close.

2. Well-Paid Dead End

The good news is, you're getting more money. The bad news…it's a job no-one else wants — and with good reason. Dead-end jobs are often disguised as great opportunities, but if you look closely, the signs are there. How long has the job posting been up? Months? Years!? How many times has someone left the role in the last few years? What kind of daily work will you be doing? And most important of all, where does the job lead?

Dead-end jobs are the top rung of a ladder you do not want to climb. The only way out is to go to the bottom of another ladder, and that will mean a significant reduction in pay and benefits. Once you've got used to the money, it will be hard to step away.

3. Work-at-Home Job

Is it possible to make a lot of money working from home? Absolutely. However, the vast majority of people who become successful spend a lot of their own time and money making it work and grow. And most importantly, they start the business themselves. If you see a work-from-home ad online stating that you can make six, or even seven figures every year just by mailing a few envelopes or making a few calls, it's purely for suckers.

These jobs will lure you in with big profits and testimonials, but there is always a catch — you have to put some money into the business up-front, and then you'll see the profits roll in. No, you won't. You're only going to make someone else rich. (See also: The 5 Worst Work-From-Home Jobs)

4. Big Promotion to Upper Management

This is it; the offer you've been waiting for. Finally, you get the chance to rub shoulders with the decision makers, and earn the kind of salary you always dreamed of. But not so fast; before you accept the job, look carefully at the position, the hours, the workload, and the stress that may be involved. You could soon find that the extra money is not worth all the extra hours, and additional pressure. In fact, your hourly rate may actually go down when you go from 40 hours per week to 70.

Not only that, but when it comes time to trim down the workforce (which sadly happens annually at many companies), you could now be directly in the line of fire. You earn more, but you don't yet have the experience and expertise that comes with time served in that role. Suddenly, that job offer is looking more and more like a promotion to Stress City.

5. Job With Everything — Except Money

So many people in my industry — advertising — get suckered into this one. But it can apply to a vast array of professions. The basic premise is this; you are offered the world on a plate. It's a great company, with awesome people, in a very desirable part of the city. You can walk to work, it's so close. You get to actually have fun at work, and how many people can say that? There's only one tiny drawback…the salary is horrendous. You'd actually be taking a huge pay cut to get the job, and the chances of making any decent money in the next few years, well, they're slim to none.

I have done this. I went from a great paying job with average prospects, to a very poorly-paid job with great prospects. If you did it early on in your career, it can work. Later on, you may find yourself struggling to pay bills and eat, and then you will resent the job that had everything.

6. X-Rated Promotion

This one comes from a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, obviously). Several years ago, he was working as a web designer in real estate when a client approached him with a better offer. He said "Come and work for my new business, it's the same hours for a lot more money, and you could really make a name for yourself." He figured it was real estate, but was surprised to learn that it was creating websites for adult entertainment stars. Even though he knew it could be a black mark on his resume, he took the job. With that industry, once you're in, it's hard to come back into the clean-cut world. He was there for years, and had to take a job with much lower pay to get out. He regrets it to this day.

7. Morally Questionable Endeavor

There is no getting around this; if you take a job with great pay and benefits, but know deep down it is something you don't agree with, you're in big trouble. I experienced it personally when I was offered a cigarette account in my first advertising job. I took it, knowing it would lead to bigger and better things; and to be fair, it did. But the whole time I was working on the account, which was advertising cigarettes to poor people in India, I felt hollow. Don't talk yourself into a seemingly better job if it is going to conflict with who you are as a person. The money may be better, the hours may be shorter, the travel may be insane. However, if you can't look yourself in the mirror when you get home, it's just not worth it.

8. High Turnover Opportunity

Do you have a certain place of business near you that is always changing hands? First it was a pizzeria, then a donut shop, and then a barber's. Now, after a brief stint as a Mexican restaurant, it has become a nail salon. And you know it won't be long before it changes again.

For some reason, some locations just never find success. It can also be the same with certain jobs. If you are being offered a lot more money, and benefits, to take a job that five other people have had before you in the space of six years, then you know something is very wrong. Sure, maybe you'll be the one to finally make things right. But more often than not, you'll be interviewing for your replacement soon enough.

Have you ever taken a job offer only to regret it later?

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Guest's picture

I once took a salaried job, (tired of the insecurities of freelancing), as art director of a small national publication going through a redesign. 80 hour weeks, lousy pay, no overtime, (I was salaried remember), and the financial manager did a bait and switch on the art/photography budget as well as the job description. Migraine city.

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