Unless you live under a rock or have been working a little too much to turn on a television, you know Lebron James took his sweet time evaluation job offer options and deciding where he wants to take his talents for the upcoming season. Part of the intrigue around this situation was when Lebron did this four years ago, he made it a media spectacle by producing “The Decision” tv special to announce his intent to “take [his] talents to South Beach”. It was a narcissistic display of epic proportions.
Apparently, King James learned a thing or two from that experience because he took a completely different approach this time around. Lebron James became a free agent on July 1 and didn’t say a word to the media for more than a week. And guess what? Lebron keeping to himself created just as much of a media frenzy, if not more, as when he made “The Decision”. It really makes you think there may be something to the old saying “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.
People looking at this situation generally fell into two camps:
1) Lebron wants to punish everyone for the backlash from “The Decision” and gets pleasure out of watching everyone else squirm while he refuses to talk. What we know is he’s getting on a plane to Brazil for the world cup final, possibly while the basketball world sits frozen, waiting for Lebron to announce his intent and trigger a massive domino effect of transactions around the league.
2) Lebron learned from his experience producing that tv special business and is taking so long to speak because he wants to say and do the right thing. He and his wife genuinely miss living in their hometown in the midwest and want to make sure they make the best decision for their family unit. In a word – maturity.
Based on what we know after Lebron finally announced his decision, it seems like option 2 reflects reality and can teach us a thing or two about navigating your career and evaluating job offers:
Your dream job offer can quickly become a nightmare
You see people moving all the time for work opportunities (read: more money or prestige) but it doesn’t always work out as planned. When Lebron left to play with his superstar friends in Miami four years ago, he expected life to be all fun and games. They had some good times and won a couple of championships, but Lebron realized his life is about more than making the most money. He has a wife and kids involved now and wants to do right by them.
When I first started consulting, my wife wanted to move to Delaware, a place many can’t even locate on a map of the U.S, because her sister lived there. It didn’t matter that we knew relatively little about the place. Being close to her family was the only thing that mattered. So we left my home of Chicago to do what was best for our family as a whole.
As it turns out, millionaire superstars deal with the struggle of balancing personal needs just like the rest of us.
Don’t burn bridges
Everyone should try to maintain their professional relationships in good standing. You never know when you may want or need to revisit a previous employer. I’ve never seen anyone give the two-finger salute or any other elaborate display when leaving a job. What I can tell you is I’ve heard countless people describe their grand exit if they hit the lottery.
Most Some of it is in jest but remember an ill-timed joke can still stall your career.
So next time you have a job offer, I hope you think about these two things before deciding how and where to take your talents. You too can find a job situation fit for a king!