Everyday, we have to make decisions. It might be something as simple as what outfit to wear to work or what to make for dinner. Or it could be something much heavier such as whether to leave your job or not, whether to get married, move to a new country or have kids.
Once you make your list, start by putting your two offers into the list and see which place checks the most boxes.
Recently, I’ve found myself in a decision conundrum, debating between two different job offers in two different locations. Most people will tell you to make a decision based on your heart over your head, but it’s not always that easy. There are logical things you need to consider as well such as finances, family and lifestyle.
Going to a place or position you really desire but being stuck in debt is stressful and will affect your happiness in the long run. But accepting a new job for the higher salary and benefits can leave you equally as unhappy. So what do you do when both choices are similarly weighed? As in, there are pro’s and con’s to each choice and you are flip-flopping back and forth between the benefits and risks? If you find yourself in this situation, try incorporating a few of the simple, but effective, strategies below to help you:
1. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
In the past, when trying to make a difficult decision, friends and family have always told me to make a list of pros and cons. The trouble with pro’s and con’s lists (in my opinion) is that they are often judged based on the quantity of each list (i.e. if you have 10 positives on one list and only 2 con’s but 8 pro’s and 5 con’s on another list, then clearly you should choose the one with the most pro’s and less con’s).
This has never worked for me because I feel that the weight of the pro’s and cons holds more value than the quantity. Sometimes it only takes one good con (such as too low of a salary that you’re going to go broke) to wipe out the whole list.
Instead, make a list of what you want and are seeking. Write down your bottom dollar – what’s the salary range you can’t go below and what would really excite you. What types of things do you like to do in your spare time? Run, ski, hike? If you can’t imagine not skiing during the wintertime, then clearly you’ll want to have access to the mountains.
If, however, skiing is not as important to you, but you want to be able to run year-round, going to a location with a milder climate will be a higher priority for you. Once you make your list, start by putting your two offers into the list and see which place checks the most boxes.
2. ASK FOR ADVICE, BUT DONT FOLLOW
When I have to make a really tough decision, I usually panic. I panic, get stressed and ask everyone and his mother what I should do. In doing so, sometimes I really let the opinions of those closest to me affect me. I can feel one way in my heart, but question it and second-guess myself because John, Bill or Sue told me something else that concerns me.
Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with getting other’s opinions. In fact, I think it’s a great idea! I’ve had friends bring up some really good points that I, in my haste, can forget about.
However, at the end of the day, you have to decide if those same concerns brought up by others are as concerning to you. Maybe your sister thinks you should get a job with benefits and a pension, but you’re ready and willing to take the risk of being a contractor and believe the higher wages will offset the costs.
Maybe working normal 9-5 hours isn’t as important to you, so that job with the early morning or evening shifts floats your boat just fine. Or it could be the opposite. Either way, refer back to the list of priorities you’ve set for yourself and what you are flexible on.
3. KNOW THAT IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY!
Making a hard decision can leave you genuinely worried that you’re going to make the wrong decision. And if you do, you’ll take the wrong road in life and not be able to turn back or fix it. I am here to tell you that that is FALSE. There is no such thing as making a mistake in a decision – it’s just a different path in life. And, if it doesn’t work out, it was an experience that you can learn from whether it was really great or really, painfully hard.
Plus, we are not fixed beings. I always tell myself, “I can do anything for a year.” If you don’t like your decision after a year, change, move – you are not a rock. If you worry that you’re wasting years of your life or ‘getting old’ – stop it. Read the above about experiences in life. This whole life thing is a journey and it’s not about the end result, the perfect life, the perfect job or the perfect family or the perfect location. It is about learning to dance in the rain and smile through the tears while being grateful for all the beautiful things around us.
Happy Decision –Making! Try not to think so darn hard