One of the nicest conundrums to have is the requirement to choose between two good job opportunities. My husband began looking for a job in earnest a couple months ago. The job search paid off when he received to good job offers. Both were great offers, and it was hard to choose between them. As we discussed the possibilities, here are some of the things we considered:
In the current job environment, probably security is an important thing to consider. After all, no one wants to take a job and then be in a position to look for a new job a year from now. Compare the likely security of each job. My husband is a university professor, so it’s common to have jobs that are renewable for a year or two. We looked at the long-term possibilities when making our decision, weighing the pros and cons.
Another consideration, of course, is pay. You want to figure out whether or not you will be adequately compensated. The jobs we were deciding between were very close in pay. There was only about $2,000 per year difference. As a result, when looking at straight salary, there wasn’t much to choose between the two.
Don’t forget about benefits! Your entire benefits package matters. Sometimes, a job with a lower salary but better benefits can be a better fit. If you can get access to better health benefits and a good retirement plan, that can be worth more in the long run than a higher annual salary. In our case, one of the jobs had slightly better benefits — and it happened to be the job with the slightly higher pay to boot.
This is where the reality really hit home for us. One of the jobs is located in rural Tennessee, while the other is located about half an hour outside Philadelphia. The job in Pennsylvania pays a little more, but that $2,000 extra isn’t quite enough to overcome the difference in cost of living. Tennessee is much, much cheaper.
However, even so, the location in Pennsylvania is great. Part of location is figuring out would fit your family’s style. There are better schools for our son in Pennsylvania, and there are more activities for me to engage in. My husband likes both jobs equally, and also liked the people he would potentially work with equally, which made the decision very difficult.
However, we are in a position where I am the primary breadwinner, and cost of living isn’t an issue for us.
Finally, my husband wanted to consider the prestige. With one school, the prestige factor was pretty low. The other school is one of Penn State’s campuses. Work at Penn State for a year or two, and you can go almost anywhere else if you want, right?
As you might have guessed, we took the Pennsylvania job. My husband had to rank which factors were most important to him, and then we decided on which job would likely work best overall for our family. It wasn’t an easy decision, and my husband still feels bad about turning down the one job, but he also feels that we made the right choice for us.