As a career coach, I can honestly say the only thing better than seeing my clients secure a job offer is seeing them secure two job offers concurrently.
Seriously, it’s my favorite thing.
Two options. Two suitors. Two choices for dessert. The presence of a second choice helps to clarify what’s so excellent about the first choice and vice versa. They stand on their own, of course, but options make the process better.
Too many options, unfortunately, can create option paralysis. This feeling may be familiar to those of you who spend 20 to 30 minutes figuring out which Netflix show you want to watch, before realizing you don’t have enough time to watch it now!
Option paralysis sucks. But two options can be energizing: deciding whether to take your honeymoon in Iceland or Hawaii creates the opportunity to zero in on what’s great about each. You can get closer to your values, and make a good solid decision.
Here are 4 steps to choosing between 2 job offers – without the anxiety. Get out a pen and paper, because you're going to need one!
1. First, identify what’s important to you.
My favorite tool to use when helping clients decide between two options is the simple matrix: X-axis, Y-axis grid. Create one for yourself by putting the two company names on the left hand side. Across the top, identify the criteria that are important to you in a job.
You can write down the basics like commute, salary, work/life balance, working with a team, flexibility, the culture of the workplace, or how energizing the job might be for you. These are just ideas. Put in the job attributes that are important to YOU. Try to limit this list to the most important six to 10 qualities.
If you’re feeling stuck, take a moment to identify your personal values. It may sound overwhelming to list the most important qualities of a job, but there are tools to make it simpler. Try a free character test, and see if that helps you clarify the things that are important to you.
2. Now, grade the offers with respect to your criteria.
I like to use a 5-point grading system here. Look at your offers, and grade them according to each value or quality. One company may offer a higher salary and worse work-life balance (ranking at 5, let’s say, in salary and a 2 in work-life balance). The other company may have great flexibility (a 4 or 5), but you may not see opportunities for a high salary (a 2). Now, tally them up.
3. Weight your criteria.
Sometimes you’re set after completing step two, but sometimes something still doesn’t seem quite right. You can return to your matrix and weight the criteria. For example, if the opportunity to move up within the organization is really important to you, and the length of the commute doesn’t matter as much, rank accordingly. By weighing the criteria that are most important to you, you may see a different result that just feels more right.
4. And listen, listen, listen to your inner voice.
Pay attention to how your body responds to your choices. Your gut knows what's right. Sometimes, it's your head that makes things confusing.
Ultimately, the right job is the job that meets your basic needs while letting your values thrive. So determine what is more important to you, and evaluate each opportunity accordingly. In the end, evaluate with your heart. You've got this!
Allison Task is a career and life coach who helps clients move through big transitions with humor, ease, and grace. She sees global clients virtually and local clients in her Montclair, NJ office. She is a sought-after public speaker and author of the best-selling Personal (R)evolution: How to Be Happy, Change Your Life, and Do That Thing You Always Wanted to Do.