Does this sound familiar to you? You are preparing to graduate from college and you have multiple job offers from different companies. The question always is, which job do you choose? Do you choose the highest-paying job? The most prestigious one? One with great benefits? If this is you, then here are three things to consider when you’re a new grad who needs to choose a job.
Before we jump in, let me tell you a story. I graduated with a computer science degree from the University of Michigan. Before graduating, I had two job offers I had to choose between. One was working as a software engineer in a big corporation in Chicago, while the other one was working at a local software company nearby. This (shameless plug_ just happened to be Atomic Object.
I considered many things: the location, the benefits, the pay, etc. The job in Chicago seemed attractive. It had high pay, good benefits, and a great location. What isn’t there to love? But at the end of the day, I decided to work at Atomic Object. Why did I make that decision and how did I arrive at that? Let me explain!
1. Money can’t buy happiness.
Money. What goes through your head when you hear that word? A lot of people desire money. Who wouldn’t want more of it? For this exact reason, money can be such an attractive factor when deciding on the job you choose. Naturally, you would want to consider how much your job pays you. All this to say that I’m not trying to argue that money is a bad thing, but that it shouldn’t be the sole consideration you make when choosing your job.
You’ve probably heard this statement so many times. “Money can’t buy happiness”. Many people may have different opinions surrounding this statement and, maybe up to a certain point, money can provide happiness. Although, I would argue that the happiness it provides is very limited and short-lived. For example, think back to the last big purchase you made. How long were you happy after that? Maybe a week or two weeks, but soon that purchase becomes the norm and it loses its wow and happiness factor.
The same applies to the job you choose. The amount of money that the job pays will only provide temporary happiness, and the appeal of high pay will slowly fade away. If your only reason for choosing a job is because of the pay, then as soon as the appeal of the pay disappears you will be left miserable at your job. When considering a job, you should factor in the money, but it should not be the only factor.
In my case, I didn’t want the salary amount on my offer letter to dictate what job I chose, and there were many other factors that I ended up considering. In the next couple of sections, I will go deeper into that!
2. Choose growth over complacency.
Another big thing to consider when choosing your job is whether that job presents you with opportunities to grow. Examples of areas of growth are not limited to just technical growth but also personal and interpersonal growth.
In a job especially as a new grad, growth is important. There will always be so much that is new in the industry that you are stepping into. Thus it is so important to grow and refine your skills while you are young. Thus this growth process will be made so much easier if the job you choose presents you with opportunities to grow.
Without opportunities to grow and learn, it can be very easy for your job to become very mundane. I recently talked with a close friend and they shared with me how meaningless their job felt. It was even hard every day to find the motivation to go to work. The core reason? They didn’t have opportunities to grow or learn new things. The work they did felt the same every single day. If the job doesn’t focus on the growth of its new employees then it is very easy for this to occur.
So how do you know if your job gives opportunities to grow? A good way to check is to look at the job posting or your job offer. Does it include any special programs for new grads or mentorship opportunities? Does it emphasize your learning and growth? If not a great way would also be to reach out to your recruiter and directly ask them this question.
For Atomic Object I noticed that they had a new grad program called the Accelerator program. The accelerator program is a two-year new grad program that focuses on professional growth in the workplace. It offered many opportunities for mentorship and countless learning opportunities to further grow not only as a professional but even personally as an individual.
This program is something that stuck out to me when weighing the two jobs that the other job in Chicago did not offer me. For me, it felt like the vastness of growth and learning opportunities at Atomic far outweighed those at the other company, which gave me greater confidence in the decision process.
3. Surround yourself with people who care.
The next big consideration when deciding between different jobs is the company’s culture. Specifically focusing on the relationship of its employees. Some important questions to consider are whether or not the company has a culture of love and care for its employees and whether or not the employees treat each other well. These are important as depending on the culture, that is ultimately what you will experience when you join the company.
Having a culture and community of support can help improve your working experience especially as a new grad transitioning into a new stage of life. Life happens and having a culture where people care for each other can help lessen that load. That’s why I think it’s so important to find a job in a culture where you feel supported professionally and personally.
A good way to gauge a company’s culture is to reflect on how you were treated during your interview and your interactions with the people from the company. Did they treat you well? Did they treat you like they cared? This is a very good indicator of the company’s culture and how the employees of the company treat each other.
What stood out to me during the interview was the enthusiasm of the employees who were interviewing me. They seemed genuinely interested in me as a person and cared about the time that we spent talking. I could tell that they weren’t there because they had to just conduct “another” interview but that they really enjoyed interviewing me. That spoke volumes of the company’s culture to me.
Which job do you choose?
For these reasons I decided to accept the job to work at Atomic Object because of the reasons that I listed above. On paper, the job in Chicago looked very attractive, but it took me looking past the surface level to see the amazing growth opportunities and culture that Atomic had to offer that I just did not see at the other company. These things gave me confidence in accepting the job and I have never looked back since.
I want to be clear, I’m not saying that these are the only considerations to take or even the right considerations in every circumstance. It is simply my experience and personal thoughts surrounding the topic. These are just considerations and you most definitely don’t need to check off every single one before you accept a job, the decision is ultimately up to you. Let me know if this was helpful for you, or if you don’t agree with me please let me know why in the comments below. I’d love to hear your perspectives as well!