It’s October or maybe it's April and you’ve finally landed that job offer you’ve working toward since Fall Semester! Do you:
- Call your parents and tell them they can pack up your Beanie Baby collection and rent out your room
- Start shopping for a new car and looking for apartments near your new office or
- Agonize because you aren’t sure this is the right offer?
For a Christian, deciding on whether or not to take a position can be a scary decision. Choosing between more than one offer can be even worse! Let me assure you on two points:
- You can’t make a wrong career decision at this stage in your life and
- God is right there to give you guidance if you seek Him.
The Latter before the Former
All career decisions must be held to the litmus test of God’s calling and that can only mean a time of reflection and prayer. For most of us, God’s hand will not be writing on the wall, nor will an audible voice make your choice for you. However, His peace which passes all understanding will envelop you when your will is at one with His. “For God is not a god of disorder, but one of peace.” I Cor 14:33.
Some of you will not understand why God seemingly opened one door and not another. Some of you will question what you believe your calling to be because of the job offers before you. Don’t. You don’t understand the ways of God. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. Job 37:5
What I mean by this is that God’s plan is seldom linear. He knows your heart and He knows what He wants you to do. As humans, we think so narrowly and so linearly: To get from Point A to Point G, I must first go through Point B. But God’s plan may have you going to Point D first, then Point C, then B! The job He has prepared before you may be equipping you for the next. Don’t despise an opportunity, but rely on His direction for the next step.
Pure Career Considerations
What practical things should you consider when evaluating a job offer…from a purely career perspective?
Geography: Where do you want to settle? Or are you open to wandering a bit? Do you want to be near your family, or do you want to test your independence? Do you want to check out the Big City or does your soul find peace in a less crowded setting?
Your Gifts, Skills & Desires: Does this job fit who you think God created you to be at this time? Do you want to take this job for your own reasons or do you feel some pressure from your parents or other’s expectations? Becoming a Lawyer because your father, grandfather and uncle were lawyers, is not a good enough reason!
Compensation Package: Can you live on what they are paying you? What kind of benefit package is being offered? How much vacation time are you being offered? Retirement package? Is the salary they are offering commensurate with similar positions in other companies within the same geographic area? Check out www.salary.com to make sure.
Corporate Culture: What is this company really like? Will you be a valued team member or merely someone who needs to get a task completed? Is the culture a structured one with many rules, or is it flexible and encourages creativity? You will be spending so much of your waking hours at the workplace, make sure the culture agrees with you!
Your Boss: Your direct supervisor will make or break your first job experience. Is your supervisor approachable and a good communicator? Or is your supervisor is rigid and isolated. What are your supervisor’s expectations of you? Occasional conflicts with management are inevitable, but if you sense they may be a regular occurrence with your boss, then your experience may be very challenging. Find a mentor you can trust in the workplace and keep HR apprised of unreasonable demands.
Development: Will this job give you opportunities to expand your experience? Do they offer additional or cross departmental training? Does the company promote from within or do they hire from outside?
Job Duties: Finally, does the job itself honestly sound interesting? Will it offer you the challenges or creativity you require? Can you still sustain a social life while working? Will the job require you to do anything immoral? Do you really want to travel 75% of the time?
Remember, you can’t make a wrong career decision so early in your career and your first job will probably not be your last job! If you need more help evaluating your offer, make an appointment with a Career Services professional and we’d be happy to walk alongside you!