After I finished my thesis, I devoted all my attention to the job search, not knowing if it would be difficult or not . Suddenly, I was in the lucky position of having two offers on the same day.
They were two different jobs and both offered an interesting future ahead, which thrilled and excited me. How lucky can one be? But I had to decide. That was neither an easy nor a fun choice to make. What if I made the wrong decision? How should I approach this to avoid regret and ensure that I follow my heart and dreams?
Usually I find that when I make a decision, I am very emotional.
This can result in me making decisions based on my intuition rather than on a logically rationalized deduction to what might be most sound and suitable for me. So, I thought that for such a “big decision”, I should tackle my approach in a different way than what I am used to. Maybe I could balance out my intuitional approach with a more rational approach in order to make sure that I have considered all the sides of it.
For every major decision I make, I discuss it with my parents, boyfriend, brother and closest friends.
The reason why I involve them is not necessarily because I want their opinion or because I want them to tell me what to do – although that might make some decisions in life easier.
Instead, I think clearer when I hear myself talk, and I also get one step closer to what I think, once I say it out loud. You could say I develop my rationale and thoughts by weighing all the pros and cons orally.
You'll most likely go on living with the thought of 'what would have happened if I had chosen another direction?'Signe Lund Bunke's mom
For me, a decision like this is very important and why it often includes a lot of frustration. It is not that I am sad or angry with having two job offers, but instead, that I am worried and concerned whether I have evaluated every aspect of the decision and thought it through, or should I perhaps say “felt it through”.
Because that’s what these discussions are about for me. Getting more in tune with my feelings regarding the matter and figuring out why I feel the way I do about either one of the two job offers.
Pros and cons
Then came the hard part. I tried to balance out my intuition and the arguments I had from these discussions using a rational approach. That is, I wrote down the pros and cons of each choice on a piece of paper. I brainstormed all my choices.
- I could take the job.
- I could postpone the decision before I had heard back from other jobs I had applied for.
- I could say no to both offers if neither one of them felt right for me and look for a third job.
With this in mind, the next thing I did was to especially take a closer look at the cons of each job offer. I looked at some of the criteria that I found were important for me in a job, and which would help me in making the decision.
These were for instance: What tasks would I be responsible for? What is the salary? What are the work hours, culture, and values in the two companies? What are the other people like who work there? Would I be able to influence my tasks and be given responsibility? Can I grow in the position?
Combining the intuitional and rational approach allowed me to get an overview and see the decision more clearly by removing any excessive noise and to some extent “control” my feelings.
When I look back at this process, and consider what influenced my decision the most, I think it was based on the following criteria: How much responsibility I would be given in the job, how much I could influence the company, and what the salary was going to be.
Not knowing it then, these were the most important criteria for me, and also why a small company was the right match for me.
My mother told me something which comforted me in deciding. She said: “You’ll most likely go on living with the thought of ‘what would have happened if I had chosen another direction?’ or ‘did I make the right choice of taking the path I did?’”
Even though I grow up and many years pass by, the truth is, I will probably never know whether I made the right choice or went in the right direction. Maybe sometimes you can only try your best to be true to yourself, and that is good enough.
I should not worry about the question of “what if?”, because no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to answer it. So why spend energy on it at all?