Up until yesterday, I didn’t know of a simple way to evaluate whether a job offer is good enough or not. Usually, I’d do a pros and cons list, but then I’d end up with a list of 10-15 things, which all become subjective items that I can’t really decide on. Maybe it’s the simplistic number person in me, but without quantifying things I find it hard to decide.
I have to be real though – there really aren’t too many numbers to process in a job offer especially if you’re looking at company culture, what its product is, how flexible they are, what your path for growth is, how they see you.
My wife and I had a long talk about this (about 4 hours, not joking), and we came up with a decision. But just to make sure I wasn’t getting too carried away with what I thought or felt about the offer, we thought we should ask some friends.
I have a friend who coaches people based on what they’re good at. He’s part of Eudo Inc., a consultancy firm that coaches people based on Strengths (as in Strengthsfinder 2.0). A while back, we even had a few coaching sessions where he helped me understand what I really wanted to be doing.
I decided to ask for his opinion about it to see if I was thinking straight. Honestly, I was expecting friendly advice, but I don’t think you can really stop a guy from doing what he loves doing, so he coached me through this decision.
Instead of giving his opinion, he listened to me the entire time and then asked me to do 3 simple things. These 3 things were the key to me really deciding my next steps for this job offer. This chart below is all I needed to figure it out on my own.
In the end, I’m glad I had a friend coach me through this. I was reminded that coaches don’t really direct your life, they just help you see clearly, so you can make your own choices.
Step 1 – Priorities
I described the offer and he asked me, “What are your top 3 priorities in this season of your life?” To a single person, it may be career growth, pay and climbing up the ladder. In my current season, I’m married and we want to prepare for parenthood, so my priorities are pay, nature of work, and career growth.
Pay, because you can’t raise a family on peanuts. Nature of work, because I can’t ask for pay if I don’t do work excellently. I can’t do work excellently if the job is something I’m not good at. Also, it will dictate the flexibility of the work — if I’m a front-liner, I can’t really be flexible with time. Growth, because you cannot ever stop growing.
Step 2 – Percentages
Then he told me, “You have 100%. Assign this 100% to the importance of each of your priorities.” I made mine Pay – 50%, Nature of Work – 40%, Growth – 10%.
Pay is obvious. Nature of Work is close to Pay, to justify it. Growth is low, because the fact that I’m moving into a new industry from the gaming industry is growth enough for me.
Step 3 – Ranking
Then he said, “Ok, now, rank the current company / offer in terms of your priorities, then add it up.” I ranked Pay – 20%, Nature of Work – 40%, Growth – 10%, for a total of 70%.
The outcome looked like this. It means I was only 70% ok with the offer.
My next steps were clear. Apparently, I was okay with the nature of work and the growth requirement was fulfilled — so I just needed to negotiate the pay. My initial instincts of declining were checked with a shade of objectivity.
In these three simple steps, I was able to get a good broad picture of my priorities, and how a new job would fit in with my priorities.
This, of course, is in no way a purely objective assessment — if it were I’d probably need an economist to tell me how blessed I am to have an offer in my line of work vis-a-vis unemployment numbers. But, it added some objectivity to a decision that is usually also affected by subjectivity, and it definitely clarified a lot for me.