Hedging your bets for a bird in the bush, our weekly careers column from various Irish newspapers

Q: I’ve just been offered a job. Only problem is there’s something else in the pipeline, with a different company, and I’m thinking about hold out for that. But that could be months away yet. The job I’ve been offered is quite a good position, and if the other one weren’t looming, I’d be very happy to take it. I’ve been thinking about telling the first company that the other position would be a great career move for me, and that I might take it if it becomes available. Any advice? (TT, email)

A: This is an intensely personal decision for you, and the call you make must sit right with you – accordingly, I can only give you my idea on what I would probably do in a similar situation.

I believe it is crucial to deal with the matter at hand. Fact: you have been offered one job. Fact: you have not been offered two jobs. Fact: The people who offered you the first job are ultimately concerned only with filling that job.

I would use the old maxim of ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ when assessing this situation. And, if you’ll forgive us our further lapse into the sphere of the old wife’s tale, there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and mouth.

Accordingly, I would take the first job. You would be happy to take it if the other position were not hovering in the background – but, in reality, that other position is not on the agenda at the moment. So you are allowing your head to be turned by an offer that’s not on the table at all.

I certainly would not tell the first employers – they don’t want to be hiring what the football media call a ‘wantaway striker’. It makes no sense for them to invest training time and money in you only to find that you’re out the gap a few months later.

Sometimes you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt. I’d take the job I’ve been offered, focus totally on it, and make yourself indispensable. When the other job comes up, weigh it up on its own merits then: you might find you’re very happy where you are, or you might be glad of the chance to go elsewhere.

But, for now, there’s only one real option, and I believe you should grab it and put your stamp on it – and if you make a success of that job, opportunities are virtually certain to arise at various points in the future.

Late request did the business

A reader (DR) writes: “I went for a job interview three weeks ago. I felt I had done very well, building up a good rapport with the panel. At the end, they asked if I had any questions for them. Without thinking, I said: ‘Just one – can I have your business cards please – I’m very impressed by your company and even if I don’t get the job, you will be good contacts to have.’

“I got the job. My new boss told me she had never been asked for her card before in an interview, and found my request very impressive. I’m not saying it will work every time, but it certainly worked for me.”

We’d welcome readers’ thoughts on this – email callback@slinuacareers.com with your responses.

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