The Checklist is Not Really A Pros & Cons GamePosted: October 14, 2008
Last week was a marathon interview week for me. In fact, it was so intense it seems to have gone by in one big blur of a nanosecond. Long story short I had two job offers on the table and ended up deciding on one of the places. How did I arrive at my decision? Well, it wasn’t incredibly easy but it was a well-informed one that required a plan.
In an effort to help other job-seeking candidates in similar situations, I’ve bulleted out some key criteria to keep in mind when choosing on the right job for you. Heed them wisely. They come with a lot of wisdom and growing pains.
- We Can’t All Be Actors, But We Can All Have Defining Roles: Up until now, I’ve always been the type of person in my professional life that opts for place over role. This place has usually been a smaller company with a start-up vibe that gives a lot of lip service to words like “values” and “people.” The pay is never great in these gigs and the job I end up doing never what I’m promised, but as I’m a writer by trade and usually seek extra-curricular freelance opportunities, I figure I’ll get my creative/mental fix in the form of whatever I do outside of my day job. WRONG. (well, kinda…)
This time I decided to put the premium on the role I would be playing at both companies and assessed both the short term (the day-to-day tasks, deliverables) and long-term (my career trajectory) and it was a no-brainer decision for me. I guess it really depends on where you are in your career. Certain things such as benefits and other corporate perks are also important, but at the end of the day you need to be happy with the work you’re contributing and dare I say, “the difference you’re making” to feel truly fulfilled.
- Straight Talk: If you can avoid going through a 3rd party staffing agency, I would highly recommend it. It’s important to create as direct a line as you can with your future employer. If not, this dynamic can spill into every aspect of your relationship which can only hurt you. Leverage a company’s internal HR when it comes to negotiating for pay, but I would steer clear of going through a 3rd party when you’re negotiating in general. You want to be able to own that relationship and as long as someone else is brokering it, unfortunately, you’ll never have a stake in the opportunity and might lose out big-time.
- Be Open & In And Around “The Box”: I went in for a job interview for a Marketing position last week. Well, I didn’t get it, but I walked out with a spiffy new contact and a potential freelance opportunity that interests me way more than the job I was interviewing for.
- You Can Have it All…You Just Can’t Sleep: I used to think that if I worked full-time I couldn’t do freelance. The reality is that I’m a pretty driven and dedicated day worker and this sometimes flows into night so this can impede my ability to have time left over for freelance/side projects. What I have learned from freelancing in the past few months and working under tight deadlines is that I can spend a weekend working non-stop and pull all-nighters. Will I want to make a career of doing this? Depends on the freelance opportunity and what it might bring me.
- Do Your Due Dilligence: Research the companies you’re interested in working for. Go to their websites and check their “investor relations” section to see their annual reports. These are for public consumption. Do some comparative analytics to see that the company is healthy and not going anywhere anytime soon. Also check the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal and the local papers where the company is located.