Help! Which Job Should I Pick?

This has actually happened to me.  Two job offers came at the same time, on the same day.  Actually, on two occasions in my career, it has happened.  It isn’t a terrible situation when you think about it. But from experience, it can be a pretty difficult decision to make, especially if you have a family and the decision will affect more than just you!  Sometimes you just need someone to bounce it off of. I actually just had a friend seek out my advice with 3 job offers! If you find yourself in this unique but stressful situation, feel free to drop me a line (link below), I’d be more than happy to give you my professional, unbiased opinion.  Couple key items to remember when comparing offers:

  • Pay (obviously) – though, I’ve taken less money before. Money is important, but it certainly isn’t the only factor when making a career move!
  • Benefits – medical, dental, vision, PTO…these things could potentially cost you $20-25k/year if you are a contractor or just an hourly employee rather than a salaried employee with the bennys.  401k matching is increasingly common and is very valuable (my company will kick in about $3k toward my retirement this year, just with 401k matching).
  • Expenses – Cell phone reimbursement, travel expenses if you have them, training/certification/education reimbursement or allowance. These are all valuable in a company and add up nicely.
  • Location – Where is the position located? Is it in a new city? Will the cost of living to affect the income increase negatively? If it is in the same city, will it be more difficult for you to travel to? Is transportation an issue? Traffic? Commute? In my personal experience, commuting may be worth it if it is strictly temporary and that particular position will give you a boost in on way or another (I will cover my story with this in detail later).
  • Meals – many companies provide meals regularly. It is a nice little morale boost and slight hassle savings to you.  I also see more companies doing fruit and granola bars as well as juice and soda stocked in the fridge. These seem like minor things but the value goes beyond the monetary. One of my most recent employers provided delicious take-out meals from several different restaurants 3x a week and the other 2 days had plenty of leftovers that I never needed to provide my own lunch! That adds up, and just gave me another little something to look forward to. Can you tell food is important to me?
  • Flexibility – Being able to set your schedule to your liking is very nice. I’ve personally experienced great freedom in this area and complete rigidness!  Let me tell you, go for flexibility if you’re anything like me. Being able to work remotely on occasion or full-time is a HUGE perk!
  • Environment – Not talking about the ozone layer or rain forest here.  What is the office culture like? If you’re a social person and the team is all remote, chatting over IM, you may not click very well.  Likewise, if you hate meetings and speaking to groups, but your new team collaborates every morning for an hour where you have spoken and present your workload to the group, the job may not be for you. Of course, I personally encourage growth in personality and stretching of skills and experience, so perhaps the job IS for you, and you just need to allow yourself to be molded and shaped… you may end up enjoying it.
  • Personality – Make sure your boss and colleagues are people you can get along with.  Meshing well with your new team can mean better production from your group and a longer lasting future with the company.
  • Future – If it is a stepping stone job, where is the future with it?  Is there an opportunity to move up in the department or company? Is it going to nudge you in the right direction to progress? Or does it seem more dead end, waste of time?