The Offer Letter: What It Means and How to Respond

The Offer Letter: What It Means and How to Respond

A key part of the job search is knowing how and when to accept a job offer. You submitted your refreshed resume, you filled out the application, you aced the interview and now you’re waiting on that elusive offer! You get a call and it’s a number you know. It’s from your would-be employer, and suddenly, you’re unsure of what to do. If you’ve received a recent job offer, here’s a look at how to proceed.

What Does It Mean?

After interviewing, an offer letter informs you that you are being offered the job. Offers are often now done verbally before you receive anything in writing so don’t worry if you receive a call with the offer information before you get an email or letter in the mail. The offer often includes information about the salary, benefits and other pertinent information. 

Now What?

You can either accept, decline, or negotiate the terms of your job offer. This is a fairly simple process—if you like with what is being offered, sign the letter (or reply to the email). Sending it back serves as an official acceptance of the job, congratulations! If you are not okay with the terms being offered, then you have to choose whether you want to ask for what you want or decline the offer. In situations like these, it can be a little difficult to know what you’re willing to settle for and what you think should fight for based on your worth and experience.

Be sure to seriously calculate what you think you should be receiving, and also take into account how long it would take you to get to your goal if you end up accepting a pay cut in the beginning. Ideally, these things should be figured out before the interview process, but now is as good a time as any if you haven’t taken the time just yet. The decision is up to you, your family, and your sanity. Don’t rush, before you sign decide exactly what you want.

What if the Position Changes After I Accept?

Unfortunately, some companies, many times unknowingly, offer things they cannot afford or can’t grant. Most times this isn’t due to bad intent on the part of the organization. In fast-moving companies, things change weekly if not daily. So, what do you do if your offer letter isn’t honored after you’ve already quit your previous job? 

In most cases, an offer letter is not an actual contract—but you may still feel that you have been misled. It is a sticky situation. So before you accept the job offer and quit your job, research the company to try to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. Whether or not you have a family depending on you, you owe it to yourself to make sure you’ve done the proper research to make sure they’re a company you would be happy to work for and that they treat their employees well. However, it can be a leap of faith either way.

As you continue the job search and interview process, you’re sure to receive an offer letter sometime soon. Fortunately, you now know more about the process, and this information will help you navigate moving up in the job market. If you’re still in the job search process and you’re struggling, check out our resources and tools. We can help you to mitigate your stress, understand your worth, and set good goals for yourself.


The Gift of Feedback

The Gift of Feedback

I had a good chat with someone recently about feedback that they’d received about their management style. They were ready to brush it off because it came from someone who was a bit of a troublemaker and on their way out of the door. Hopefully, I convinced them not to.

Feedback is always a gift. You may not like the gift, it may be stinky socks, but it is a gift nonetheless and should be treated as such. People who give feedback that stings may want to hurt you, but it is truly up to you to grow from it rather than let it diminish you.

What should you do when you get stinky socks feedback? Well, the first thing is to stop thinking of it as stinky socks. There is a golden nugget of goodness in every piece of feedback that you get. Recognize if you are becoming defensive or thinking negatively and slow things down.

Take a look at what was said from the perspective of the person who said it. If they said that you seem disengaged lately, think about if there is some truth in that. Remember, they view you from a completely different perspective than you view yourself.  Then, rather than think about why they may have said that, think about what the impact that behavior may have had on them.

Some of the biggest leadership transformations that I’ve seen have been when leaders involve those who have given them feedback on their leadership journey. Reach out, ask for help pinpointing when you’ve said or done something that doesn’t sit right with someone on your team.  You may unconsciously be pissing people off left and right.  That’s not something you can fix on your own.

Last, ask for feedback. Get to know people on your team in a way that lets them know that you are always open to receiving the gift of feedback. Demand the same of leaders that work for you and check in with their teams. Think about when you had a crappy boss. Wouldn’t it have been great if your crappy boss’s boss checked in with you and asked for feedback to help your boss be less crappy?

Being in HR for so long I have said over and over, an organization can’t fix a problem that it doesn’t know that it has. Communication is more than just a two-way street. Leaders have to be willing to listen to feedback and people have to be willing to give it, but the onus is on Leaders to go search for that feedback. Conduct skip level meetings, 360 evaluations, engagement surveys, whatever it takes because without the gift of feedback, you don’t grow. And when you stop growing, you stop thriving.



5 Habits From School That Will Help You Succeed In Business

5 Habits From School That Will Help You Succeed In Business

Did you graduate and get your first student loan bill and freak out, wondering what on earth you paid all that money for? Yes? Ok, well stop doing that! Going to school you cultivate some valuable life lessons. Correct implementation of these experiences is at the heart of the success sought after in business. The following five habits picked up in school can be modeled and incorporated in just about any role.

Stress and Anxiety Management

School can be stressful especially during the first years. However, as you progress, you learn to handle the stress and anxiety and plan better for any bumps in the road. The ability to manage stress and tension that you learned by juggling coursework and assignments in school can be applied in the business world. Instead of getting stressed out in the first place, tell yourself that you’re just really excited about your work as the first step in managing your work-related stress and anxiety. This way, positivity flows in all you do.

How to Be On Time

Being on time for all of your school activities was a juggle. From class to extra-curricular activities, relationships, partying, to personal downtime. Your time was just limited as it is now, yet, you were able to manage all these activities. As you may recall, planning helped you to be on time and ready for the next item on your to-do-list.  Similarly, the same principle required of you in the business world for you to be successful. 

How to Work Hard

Looking back at your school life, you will appreciate the value of the effort you put in. Good grades required extra hours of study, research, and sometimes even a little extra help. Effort speaks of hard work.  In like manner, the same determination applied in school is one that could apply to you now. Spend more time on researching and studying how best to manage and grow your role or business.

How to Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Stagnating or declining business growth is similar to maintaining or dropping grades in school. These aspects point to familiarity in the comfort zone. Taking on new challenges helps break the comfort barriers. It renews your motivation and drives you towards new heights of achievement. As a result, you will learn to be innovative as you get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

How to Accept Change

Sometimes changes that you went through in school were not the best, yet in all the disappointment, there was some good. For the most part, change is a reality of life that is inevitable. This is why businesses make changes to become better. It may be tough, but it is ultimately in your best interest to embrace changes in your workplace. This way you become more productive, efficient and relevant.

All in all, every stage in life is a learning process, a preparation for what is yet to come. The true value of these lessons is only evident in their implementation in your everyday life. This is why the habits picked up from school will help steer you towards success. And if you need some extra help implementing these things into real life, look into coaching to help better understand how to start succeeding.


5 Effects of Prolonged Stress And How to Address Them

5 Effects of Prolonged Stress And How to Address Them

Life can be awesome but let’s face it, life is also inevitably stressful. Thee will be occasions, every once in a while, where you will experience a chronic or acute stress. Stress can be helpful for you when coping with a serious situation or threat. However unlike acute stress, chronic stress is a long-term condition which can wreak havoc on your mind and body. We don’t want that to happen, so here is some information to help make sure you know what to do when you are feeling stress.


Chronic stress can destroy your brain cells. According to Psychiatry Advisor, it also leads to depression and increases the risk of dementia (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease). Depressed people usually have a small hippocampus. Stress can interfere with memory formation in the hippocampus and cause loss of prefrontal cognitive abilities. This can happen to a pregnant woman’s baby. Generalized anxiety can affect functions associated with memory.

Cardiovascular System

High cortisol levels can increase the heart rate, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. Hypertension puts you at risk for heart attack or stroke. This is especially true if you are experiencing “broken heart syndrome.” Stress hormones contribute to the buildup of abdominal fat, which can give some people an “apple” shape. 

Digestive System

Stress hormones have a tendency of slowing gastric juice release and gastric emptying. If you have high cortisol levels, you can get hungry. We know what happens when you are always hungry, you will gain weight. This is really important to know because you can develop Type 2 diabetes under prolonged stress. Stress increases your chance of getting ulcers and cause the malfunctioning of existing ulcers. You can get diarrhea as your colon is stimulated, thanks to the stress hormones. According to The Farber Center, prolonged stress can also lead to teeth grinding or bruxism, can cause dental problems in the long-term, as well as sleep disruption and headaches. Do you want to go into an important meeting feeling this way? 

Immune System

Prolonged stress can suppress the immune system, making people more prone to infectious diseases (i.e. flu). Sometimes, stress can make the immune system excessively active instead, leading to autoimmune disease. I’m sure that you have noticed in the past that during times of stress, you tend to get sicker, picking up every little bug and flu going around. 

Nervous System

Increased cortisol amounts can make you feel constantly anxious, helpless, and hopeless. These symptoms can be confused with disorders such as anxiety and depression. They can also disturb sleep, take away sex drive, and reduce appetite.

How can you cope with prolonged stress?

Developing resilience through healthy coping methods can help you resist the effects of prolonged stress. You can curb the exacerbation of chronic stress by developing ways to successfully manage stress. If negative self-talk is getting in your way, take the Sears Coaching Self-Esteem Challenge to start putting yourself first.

Ask about my upcoming leadership retreat Sense of Self.

The Gift of Feedback

What Will Former Employees Say About Your Company?

There used to be a time when people would leave a company for another opportunity. They would do so quietly, never uttering a negative comment about the previous employers. Now with the introduction of the Internet, former employees are empowered. They have more outlets than ever to vent or share information about previous employers. Here is how company reviews are highlighting what disgruntled and former employees think of a business.

(Glassdoor – Google)


The more prominent the company is, the more it has to work on its image. A major technology company has an article published on its perks. Some employees at the tech giant say that the company has terrible perks. Employees gripe about issues like no free lunches. Companies can expect that they will be measured by prospective applicants in terms of the perks they offer. Make sure to do market surveys and stay aware of what perks the competition is offering.

(Glassdoor – Layfield & Wallace)


Whistleblower retaliation is frowned upon now. Current times welcome transparency. The right to voice disconcerting behaviors is something that employers should be just as invested in protecting. Retaliation is something that employers must have zero tolerance for; it should be viewed as an opportunity to correct the cultural norms and environment that invites the behavior in question. You should be mindful that how whistleblower information is shared is similar to how stories of retaliation efforts are shared. Both make their ways into publications and forums. Companies should take a different approach in addressing the behaviors, such as investigating, correcting, or ending the practices. It is extremely important that you always have a good sense of what is going on in your organization so that you can try to prevent problems and ensure a happy and productive work environment.

Unfair Pay

Unfair pay is another common topic discussed among former employees. People often complain the loudest about unfair pay. They go to popular forums like Glassdoor to air out their grievances. They share their pay information with entities like SalaryWizard to determine what they are making when compared to their peers. The more latitude they have in sharing their salary information openly, the more descriptive they become when highlighting responsibilities and comparing them against job expectations or compensation. Companies like Walmart make the news often, getting bad press for their compensation. Don’t look at this as a negative thing. In my opinion, pay transparency is where every company should strive to get to. If you are compensating your employees fairly, you could post everyone’s pay information on a bulletin board and there would be very few complaints. Pay your people what they are worth based on their experience, what they bring to the table, their performance and what market data dictates. It is worth having someone look at your compensation data and make recommendations to help get your pay practices to be as equitable as possible.

(Glassdoor – AirBnB)


Underappreciation is another issue that former employees are extremely vocal about. They cite the marginal increases in pay in comparison to their contributions and feel underwhelmed by the compensation received. They openly discuss how much more is added to their plate and what more will be expected of them. It isn’t uncommon for employees to gripe about being taken for granted or feeling unrecognized for their efforts. Acknowledgment and compensation are how employees often measure underappreciation. Take a look at what you are doing to show your employees appreciation. Do you say “thank you” often enough? Are you showing gratitude to employees in ways that matter to them? Get to know what makes each person get out of bed each morning and go to work so that you can recognize them in meaningful ways.

(Glassdoor – Womply)

Work-Life Balance

Company reviews are showing that employees, especially millennials, value work-life balance. They want to have a schedule that is honored, and many desire to leave the office on time in order to spend time with families. Companies who aren’t that great on work-life balance get poor reviews highlighting that. This makes them less of an attractive employer to prospective applicants. People value being able to have some predictability to their schedule, and don’t want to be connected to a company 24/7. Are you “clock watching” and paying too much attention to time sitting behind a desk rather than results that are achieved? 

Businesses have to be mindful of company reviews. These forums are open to anyone. Surveys can be completed by employees at any time, and this allows them the opportunity to share their grievances. Companies can monitor these reviews and learn what they can do to make their companies more inviting to potential candidates. You should also spend time getting ahead of these complaints. Doing Stay Interviews and Engagement Surveys are two quick and easy ways to learn more about what employees are saying about you and to prevent them from becoming former employees. 

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