How to choose between two jobs easily?

Are you really happy about your job now?

The job market is so hot right now that employees must be very happy, but the reality tells us a different story. If you’re a job seeker, you may be frustrated about how to choose between two or more job offers. If you’re not in the job market yet, you may be wondering that wether you’re missing the boat if you don’t act now to find a better job opportunity. Even if you are not thinking about changing your job now, a recruiter may be approaching you on LinkedIn from another company and forcing you to choose between staying at your current job or accepting a very attractive job offer. 

This sounds like a good problem to have, but it actually can make us feel unhappy. You may have been wondering, “This may be a life changing decision for me. What if I choose differently? Would I be better off with another job?” I have had the same dilemma too. The following is one of my own stories and my simple methodology to choose between two job offers, and my suggestions for you to make your life easier. 

How did I evaluate my two job offers?

During the dot-com boom, I was working for a state owned company in Singapore. The job market for engineers was really hot globally, particularly for someone like me in the internet industry with versatile skills. Singapore is a beautiful country with advance technologies and efficient systems, and Singaporeans are very nice. But I just didn’t feel that the culture was a good fit for my personality and was ready to make a big leap all the way to the US. Across the ocean to get a job in the US was a challenging task, so I was also looking for opportunities locally as a backup plan.

Soon, I got two job offers. The first job offer was from the general manager of a brand new satellite office in Singapore for a big company based in Germany. He offered me a job as a senior software engineer. It would be a great opportunity for me to working on the cutting edge technology to build an internet based software and playing an important role in this new adventure as his first employee. I also liked the general manager as a person, my interview with him soon became an exciting conversation about building this new business from ground up together. It was a good sign that we would work very well together, and also reminded me one of my previous jobs that I liked very much with a similar opportunity.

In the meantime, I got a second job offer from a US company to work in California as a system analyst. The recruiter I met in Singapore and the hiring manager and other staff on the phone were all pleasant to talk with. If joined them, I would utilize my skills in software, web server, database, system and other areas and involved in various projects in California. The job description was very interesting but not as exciting as the other job in Singapore. Also, I had no idea about whom I would work with or the details about the projects.

Which one did I chose between these two job offers?

If the two jobs located in the same country, I would definitely choose the first job because it offered me a great opportunity for career advancement and I already established rapport with my future boss after a couple of meetings. It was very painful for me to give up such a golden opportunity in Singapore. But I decided to choose the second job, because I had made up my mind before my job search that I wanted a job in the US, and I was willing to suffer a short term pain in order to pursue my long term goal.

Why was I so sure about what I wanted at that time? Because I had done a lot of research and analysis by looking near and far, and more importantly, by looking inwardly to see who I am and where I would be better off and settle down for the rest of my life. It was a long process and I won’t get into the details here. In short, after I made up my mind that I would go to the US if I could get a job that was good enough for me, the job location had become my top criteria to filter future job offers. I didn’t go back to rethink my decision about my desired job location, because that decision had been made and it was an educated decision, and I must move on. Otherwise, I would be trapped in a vicious cycle of decision making and regretting.

The complicated weighted decision matrix method

You may have noticed that, to choose between these two job offers, all I did was to set an important criteria to filter my choices. I didn’t use the decision matrix method that commonly recommended for decision making. To explain to you what would happen if I use the decision matrix, here I simplify things into two categories only: the job itself, weight 4, because it must be good enough for me; and the job location, weight 6, because the location is much more important. Then, I would score each job offer fairly base on how much I like the job itself and the country it located, and I would get he following: 

The first job offer:
The job score:10, location score: 8, total weighted score: 10x4 (weight)+8x6 (weight) =88;
The second job offer:
The job score: 7, location score: 10; total weighted score: 7x4 (weight)+10x6 (weight)=88.

I did the calculation here just to explain the system to you, but I was surprise to see that the weighted scores for the two job offers would be the same. That makes me wonder wether I have weighted the job and location properly, or maybe I didn't score each job offer correctly. If I adjusted the numbers a little bit, the decision would be totally opposite after a tiny twist. 

Are you comfortable to make an important decision based on this kind of formula? I’m not. In fact, I have never really used this decision matrix for myself. I think that it just makes things more complicated, adds more things to consider, and makes the whole decision process even more stressful.

My simple methodology to make important decisions easily

Before I make any critical decision that has a high stake in my life, I always ask myself the most important question, “What do I want the most at this stage of my life?” The answer of this question will be the top criteria for me to filter my choices to make my decision. 

To choose between these two job offers, I only needed to consider the job location - the top criteria for me at that time, and the decision was not hard for me to make. Often time, I only needed one or two criteria to make tough decisions in my life and felt satisfied. Do you agree that we should be happy for quite a while after we got what we wanted the most in our life?

With this straight forward and simple way of decision making, it is much easier for me to choose decisively for my career and life and live with my own choices happily after. Like most people, I felt the pain to loose the other opportunities, but I don't regret my decisions, because I’m willing to scarify other benefits if I have to in order to pursue what I want the most at each different stage of my life. Then, I just move on and focus my time and energy on my new job and new life, and enjoy my new adventure.

What is your take away from my story?

How do you feel about my decision making method and my thinking process? Do you think that my story is helpful for you? You're welcome to leave a comment at the end of this post with your Google account or  anonymously. 

If you’re not sure about what you want the most for your own life right now, you're not alone. Many people have difficult time to make important decisions, and overloaded choices just make it harder. I believe that my other post The science every professional should learn for career advancement and personal happiness will be very helpful for you, where I also recommended some books for you to read.

You have made a good choice to read my blog, I hope you’re enjoying your reading and will follow us for free career advice and more interesting posts.

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