Deciding On A Job Opportunity / by john cheng

Back when I first graduated from college I was very, very lost and down on myself. I had no idea where to go or what to do. Luckily through my years in school, I gained many mentors to seek advice from. It is now my privilege to be able to pass on the knowledge I gained from my mentors to those who find my own personal experience valuable. 

When I was first seeking a job in 2009, I was looking when it was probably the worst time to be job hunting. More people were firing then hiring and that made every step of my search the most excruciating experience ever. During that time I had no illusions about my experience and skill. I was fresh out of college with only 2 years of a part time design gig for experience. I was basically a huge risk for any company to hire as is any fresh graduate would be. 

When I finally got job offers, I was elated and eager to accept and decided to bring the situation before one of my professors/mentor, Haven Lin-Kirk. She gave me some advice that I will now never forget. She basically broke down the deciding factors very clearly on how to decide whether to take a job or not.

The Money

In our society the acquisition of money is imperative for our survival, which makes it quite obvious how important this category is when deciding on accepting a job opportunity. Money, however, should not be the sole deciding factor. Money comes and money goes, we are in a constant cycle of gaining and losing money, and getting caught in this cycle can be vicious and depressing. Your happiness and self fulfillment cannot be bought. I hope you will take my word on this rather than attempt for yourself to achieve happiness through monetary value, but each person must experience life in their own way.

The People

Life is full of people and you spend half your life working. Make sure it is with people that you can see yourself working with. This isn't just making sure that you can be cordial with the person sitting next to you, but also ascertaining wether or not the people at this new job opportunity can help you grow not only in your profession but also as a person. Your education does not end after you graduate, my apologies for being cliché, it has only just begun. You will learn things everyday that you would never be able to learn in a classroom, so remember to stay humble and receive the guidance that your seniors provide you. 

The Work

This should be pretty obvious, but it is not always easily obtained. The employment opportunity should have work that is relevant to you and something you are passionate about. Otherwise you will be waking up every morning dreading the task that is ahead of you each day. Think about it, if you're going to spend everyday of the next however many years of your life doing something, wouldn't you want to make sure it's something your excited about? Otherwise you'll just die a bit inside everyday until it becomes normal and numb to the point where you no longer learn and grow.

Now that the three factors have been defined, deciding whether or not to accept an opportunity is easy. Refuse the opportunities that only carry one of the factors listed above.

  • If you have the money, but the people and the work are just spewing negativity, what good is that money? You'll be angry, depressed, and bored every single day that you are employed there.
  • The people are great, but the money is no good so you can barely pay your rent and bills and the work just makes you want to throw up. If you can't even get up in the morning to work for the money that can't pay our bills, what's the point?
  • The work is brilliant! Well, the people make you angry and the money is crap. Work is still work at the end of the day and your days will end up dragging out and the once brilliant work will turn into drab work because you're just not that into it anymore. Don't turn a good thing into a bad thing.

Make sure that the job has at least 2 out of 3 of these factors, otherwise you won't be happy at your job as stated above.

  • Money is awesome and the work is brilliant! You're getting paid well for something that you love doing. 
  • The work is brilliant and the people are great! You're learning, networking, making new friends and you producing great work that will most likely help you in your next job search.
  • The people are awesome and the pay is great! You meeting awesome people and learning from them and getting paid. It's like getting paid to learn and hang out with awesome people!

Obviously if you can strike a job that carries all three of these factors, you've got it made. Just be sure to let me in on it.

All in all these are just guidelines to help you get through the stress of deciding whether or not to accept a job. This isn't a one size fits all solution, you will have to do some discerning for yourself and there is no guaranty that you'll be happy in that position even if you have 2/3 or even 3/3 of these factors. In the end, your attitude is a decision and you need to be the one to decide that you want to make the most out of every opportunity rather than drag yourself down by complaining on a day to day basis.