Q: I have 2 offers. Which one should I take?
The First Offer: OK company, broader role, higher up in Legal, 10 percent base salary increase.
The Second Offer: Amazing company, narrower role, but cutting-edge experience. Same title.
Congratulations on receiving two offers. Not an easy feat, so it’s a noteworthy accomplishment. Both opportunities have virtues. But determining which position constitutes the best career move will depend on your priorities and your goals. Do you know what yours are? If not, it’s time to find out.
The path to self-awareness can be a dark, scary place. And many avoid it if they can. But if you want to have a fulfilling career … and life, you need to know the basics: who you are, what you want and what you need. And when you do, each choice you make will keep you on the happiness track. The examination of your inner psyche doesn’t have to be daunting. It can be an enjoyable exercise if you have a palatable approach and a good guide.
The primary question before you is which of these two offers is the best choice? In order to arrive at a definitive answer, you’ll need to take a stroll down self-awareness lane. Below are several relevant questions to ask yourself:
- Where do I see my career in three-five, five-10 years? What will be the most important factors that will get me there: A broader range of skills? A high-profile company? Size of legal department? “Cutting-edge” experience…?
- What kind of future career options would I create for myself with each opportunity?
- How essential is growth and advancement to me? What are the prospects with each of these companies?
- How important is the company itself for me? Blah vs. “Amazing”
- Do I prefer a broader role or is a narrower role OK if the work is exciting?
- How important is the money? Am I OK with the lower compensation if there are other great things that will outweigh it?
- Is there an opportunity to negotiate a higher compensation package for the second offer? If so, will that make a difference in my level of interest?
- What kind of culture do I like? Which culture do I like better between these two companies? How well would I work with each group with whom I met? Do I like one group better than the other?
- How do the hours look at each of these companies? Will I have any flexibility with my time? If so, how much of a difference does it make?
- If I had to rank all these preferences in order of priority, what would they be?
- Which priorities are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves?
Once you’ve completed this exercise, take some time to process all the information. Then … do a gut check. By this time, your instincts should be pretty strong. And instincts are never wrong. So listen to them if you have a strong sense of which opportunity is the most compelling for you and move in that direction.
One opportunity does not fit all, and in order to make the best choices for ourselves, a healthy dose of self-awareness is required. Once we master the basics, choices become easier and life becomes a bit better. So complete this inner inquiry and you’ll discover the signs that will point you in the direction that’s best for you … and your career.
Julie Q. Brush is the founder and author of The Lawyer Whisperer (www.thelawyerwhisperer.com), a career advice column for legal professionals, also found on LinkedIn. She is co-founder of Solutus Legal Search, a legal search/consulting boutique firm, serving as a strategic adviser to lawyers, law firms and corporations.