Hard work pays off. Those night courses, hundreds of personalized applications, and nerve-wracking interviews resulted in you earning multiple job offers at once.
And it’s safe to say there wasn’t a lack of competition. According to Gallup, 51% of workers are considering or actively applying for new work. Their reasons for leaving are diverse, from wanting higher income and more professional development opportunities to feeling caught between a dream and a job.
Considering the original motivator behind your job search may help you pick a new job. If you’re just starting your career, a position with more room to grow may be ideal. But if you’re looking into family planning, paid time off (PTO) and maternity and paternity leave agreements might be most important.
Choosing between two jobs takes time, energy, and critical thinking — but the end result is worth the debate. We’ll discuss how to decide between two jobs to help you find a satisfying career.
Creating a pros and cons list
Companies know how to market themselves, even if the reality of the position isn’t quite as glamorous. It’s easy to get lost in a cool location, well-designed workspaces, or home office improvement budget.
Perks like these are great, but their appeal wears thin if you don’t receive important fundamentals. Here are a few crucial factors to consider when determining how to choose between two job offers:
- Compensation: While a higher salary is enticing, it’s not everything. Consider other benefits like provided equipment, stock options, vacation time, health insurance, and 401(k) plans. If the position offers commission pay, ask about what this generally adds up to yearly or, if possible, get in touch with current employees in a similar position to discuss.
- Sign-on bonuses: Some companies offer bonuses for signing a long-term contract. This is especially common for more senior positions. Remember to read the fine print to determine whether they expect you to pay this bonus back if you leave the company early.
- Working hours: A high salary isn’t so high if they expect you to work 12-hour days, so inquire about work hour expectations and consider your commute. If this is a work-from-home position, inquire about when you’re meant to be active online. If you’re a freelancer, ask about the contract’s restrictions regarding taking outside work.
- Growth opportunities: Knowing your hard work may lead to a promotion is an excellent motivator. Asking about growth opportunities also shows the employer you’re interested in sticking around.
- Culture fit: When applying for the position, you likely researched the company and aligned your application’s language with theirs. While their values would have been reflected in this language, nothing beats asking direct questions about company culture to team members.
Consider what’s important to you in the company you’d be working for and ask questions such as how often social calls/outings occur and what personality traits leaders in the company seem to reward in their employees.
8 tips for choosing between two jobs
Once all factors are considered, there’s a chance your pros and cons list is still a bit too even to make a decision. Here are eight tips to help you find the answer you need:
1. Factor in long-term goals
Your debate might be unfairly influenced by what you want right now, so remember to consider long-term goals. Right now, a higher salary might seem nice. But if you know you’d like to move to Mexico City in six months and this job doesn’t offer remote work options, it might be worth choosing flexibility over income.
2. Research both companies
You may have done some research when preparing for interviews, but now’s a good time to dive deeper. Check out platforms like Glassdoor to better understand salary expectations and employee impressions. Browse current employees’ LinkedIn profiles to see if they’re actively sharing content from their employer, as this signals they enjoy working there.
3. Seek opinions from employees
The best way to understand the lived experience of a job is to connect with current employees. Try reaching out via someone’s professional email or social media account like a LinkedIn profile. Keep your message brief and expectations clear and ask specific, open-ended questions to make it easier for them to respond in a detailed manner.
4. Consider the work
Take an hour per position to put yourself in the shoes of this new role. Consider what an ideal and a horrible workday would look like for each job. Factor in meetings, team structure, breaks, and your commute/lack thereof. Think critically about whether each position offers work-life balance.
5. Ask for another call
Hiring managers understand that choosing a job is high stakes. This is how you’ll spend a good chunk of time each day. It’s what pays the bills and where you meet important people like friends and partners. If you’ve accumulated a list of questions, you forgot to ask during the interview process, ask for another call. They’ll appreciate you taking the initiative and you’ll gain further clarity before making a decision.
6. Take your time
If a potential employer asks for an answer the same day they send an offer, this urgency is a red flag. This is a big decision and employers understand job seekers often apply to several positions at once. They might be trying to use the deadline to force your hand and encourage you to accept.
Deciding how long to consider a job offer is up to you, but people typically take about three days. This gives you enough time to weigh the pros and cons and ask for a clarification call or get answers from current or past employees.
7. Discuss with trusted mentors
If you’re still unsure after a couple days of debating, reach out to people that know you well for their insight. You could also discuss your options with a career counselor or industry mentor.
8. Accept both jobs
If the contracts allow and one or both of these jobs is remote and flexible, consider accepting both positions and being overemployed. Perhaps one pays the bills while the other ignites your creative passion. Here are a few things to consider before taking on two jobs:
- Income: For many people, one job doesn’t cover living expenses so working two is necessary. And even if one position is enough, if you have the time and energy you might enjoy the hustle and experience of managing two jobs.
- Time: As great as extra income and experience are, you must have the time necessary to do a good job in both positions. If both jobs are remote and flexible, this is more likely. If they’re not, consider your commute and late days at an on-site position.
- Well-being: The most crucial consideration is your physical and mental health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO), people who work long hours have a higher risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke. And our professional lives influence important aspects of our mental well-being, such as sleep cycles, free time, and coworker relationships.
Overworking might make you unhappy, but it’ll also make you unproductive and, ultimately, might cost you one of these positions. Ensure you have the time and a strategy to create work-life balance.
Enjoy a satisfying career
An important thing to remember when debating is that you can always make a change if necessary. You’re never stuck in a position for the rest of your career, so don’t burden yourself by putting too much weight on this decision. You’re choosing between two jobs — but likely not the position you’ll have forever.
And if after a few days you’re still feeling uncertain, it likely means you’ll be happy with both positions. Choose whichever you feel most excited about.