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When it Rains, It Pours

AUTHOR:      Gayle Oliver
PUBLISHED:  September 9, 2005

This is certainly true in Atlanta these days, but it is also true in the job market. With the candidate market beginning to tighten up, once again both employed and unemployed candidates are starting to flex their decision-making muscles and allowing their egos to be inflated by multiple job offers. This sounds great, right? Most any candidate would rather have the choice of deciding between two or three job offers. Finally, they may feel once again in charge of their career. The ?right to choose? is one of the most fundamental hallmarks of what makes ?freedom ring? in this country. It is, in fact, one of the basic human liberties that drive a capitalist economy and energizes the entrepreneurial spirit in each of us, whether corporately-attached or self-employed. CHOICE, however, presents a new obligation...choosing correctly. This is where the challenge comes in for both employers and job seekers. Flattering as it may be to have multiple companies extending offers and even alluring professionals with signing bonuses, it may be important for a candidate to examine the offers with the left and right sides of their brain.

Job offers always entail a variety of aspects that address different personal and professional requirements and desires. Titles, income, commute, and probable progression are always important variables. Not to mention the impact that corporate culture, market conditions, business model sustainability, and underlying exit strategies can have on your career choices. These frequently competing variables can create a complex decision process that leaves the individual unsure which offer is the ?best.? In an economy obsessed with superlatives, deciding which offer is ?best? may seem like a riddle which can only be solved by going to a less logical place?one?s heart. So for those who think this organ is used simply for pumping blood, think again! Or perhaps you would prefer to call it engaging your ?gut? ? the generator of your instincts. In whatever way you refer to it, your intuition is most likely to be of great value, especially when your left brain rationalities don?t give you a clear cut answer. Often, job offers appear to be quite similar based on quantifiable factors like compensation, job responsibilities, and industry outlooks. Even the people that you will be working with in either position may all appear to be equally nice, competent, and ambitious. Unfortunately, these junctures in life do not usually offer the same future. One path will lead in one direction, and choosing a different path will take you down another.

I believe our intellectual faculties are certainly helpful when assessing the rational components of major life decisions such as your career. Rationality is great for evaluating contrasts, comparisons, and superlatives. For example, this job offer has a better base salary, but that one has a shorter commute. Or this industry has a faster growth pattern, but this industry has more stability. Logic is extremely useful in defining the contrasting comparisons. Yet to reach a conclusion, without consulting your right brain intuitive power (a.k.a. your heart or your gut), your intellect alone may lead you astray. Regardless of your belief system, most people will agree that humans have been equipped with a conscience that helps guide them through their lives. I believe this ?conscience? or ?intuitive voice? knows the ?best? answer to your life?s most challenging questions.

Therefore, my suggestion is that once you?ve rationalized these multiple job offers, now it?s time to tap into a deeper part of oneself. Find a quiet place where you can allow your mind to let go of all the internal dialog. In the silence ask yourself some deeper questions. For instance, "Which job do I really want?" "In which job will I be happy?" Oddly enough, it?s so easy to focus on the external aspects of a major decision that we forget to honestly ask the question, "what do I want to do?" One of the reasons that people often skip this step is that fundamentally they don?t believe life, especially work life, is about doing what you want or about being happy. I disagree. If you?ve abandoned this idea, I encourage you to reconnect to it, even if for only a moment. Just maybe you?ll realize that doing what you want, being happy in a job, and taking a job because it intuitively feels like the 'right' choice may offer you something you haven?t not had for a while?Peace.

So what's your story?

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