Long time listener, occasional poster, under a throw-away for this. I have a career decision I need to make tomorrow (Tuesday) and could help considering my option.

Background:  I'm a Senior Manager at a mid-sized accounting firm that has a small consulting arm. This group started a few years ago and had a goal of growing to 5+ partners and 50+ staff in 3 years.  A few years later and we're at 5 partners and 15 staff with no sign of rapid growth forthcoming.

The opportunity: A consulting only firm approached me about creating and running my own practice. I would not be labeled partner for at least 6 months. The company is European based with a 10 person US presence.   

My key criteria are career growth opportunity, salary, and happiness (ability to feel like I'm achieving something).

The breakdown: (C=Current, N=New)

  • Growth opportunity: C=none for 3+ years. N=6 month promotion to Assoc. Partner, one of 2 for the US and a potential 2 year ramp to head of US (30+ people if growth forecast holds).
  • Salary: C=225k total. N=195k total. In 6 months, N could be 225k+
  • Happiness: C=low to moderate. N=unknown.
  • Geography / Travel: Same

The biggest challenge to me is trading the possibility for growth and self-direction for the responsibility of feeding myself and my eventual team. I've proven I can sell in the past, but haven't had to go and land a new client in a few years - I've been heads down on delivery and up-selling existing clients. 

What else should I consider, or what thoughts can you share?  Thank you for reading.

Solitaire's picture

You need to consider the new opportunity for what it is right now, not what they may be offering you in 6 months +, the latter is the "dangle".

Why can't they offer for you to be a partner straight away? Why can't they put this offer in writing so that it is concrete for 6 months time?

The possibility to consider is that you move there and are never promoted.

Based on what you've said, this would be too much of a risk for me and I'd hold out for a better offer from them or someone else.


Good luck!


dennis_sherman's picture
Licensee Badge

You need the "Choosing a company to work for" series of Career-Tools podcasts.

In particular, and  If you're a licensee, the shownotes have good example charts to use when comparing two situations. These 'casts address exactly the situation you're in and provide some guidance in how to make a decision.  The previous 8 chapters in the series would be good, but if time is short to a decision, start with the examples.

Dennis Sherman

lc_1978's picture

 Thanks. I've listened to all of them and am a licensee. I'll go through that specific situation and workbook.  And the point on not banking on a review/promotion to associate partner is quite useful - that's actually a big part of my hesitation.



lc_1978's picture

 Just following up. I went back through the casts and talked it through with a few folks.  This seems like a good opportunity but not one that provides enough of what I value in the right mix.  This is the second time in my career a cast has come out at just the right time.

Working through the details of the offer in terms of my priorities and values really helped highlight where I had some additional opportunities internally that I hadn't taken advantage of yet.  I'm going to spend a few months working towards that with my partners and see if I can make progress. If not, I'll revisit the job market and seek out something that has the right options for me.