I can haz jobz?

In two more months, I will be finished with school for the second time in my life.  And not a second too soon!

It’s easy to start wondering: What’s next?  Well, in my program, there’s a lot of competition for hiring graduates.  In fact, many of my fellow students started interviewing for jobs as early as November of last year!  I’ve had a total of 12 interviews for 6 companies.  This past week, I received two offers.

i can haz jobz?

I had a hard time deciding between the two options initially.  One was with UBC, which has excellent benefits but a slightly lower starting salary.  The other was with a private company which offered higher potential pay (bonuses, etc.), but longer hours and less benefits.  Based on my informal discussions with both groups, I felt like I could go to either company and be successful.  I liked both projects (almost) equally but also had a few reservations about both positions.  At one point, I considered saying no to both jobs and continuing to search!  I also (briefly) contemplated a highly unethical faux pregnancy escape route.  True story!

But after talking with mentors, advisers and friends, I realised that:

  • The grass is always greener on the other side.  If I kept looking, I would keep finding jobs that were “better” and I would never be happy.
  •  The first job really doesn’t matter.  I will most likely end up leaving in a year or two anyway to pursue better opportunities – just like I did in my previous degree.  The first job should let you acquire the skills you need for your career – it does not define your career.
  •  The gut always knows.  I had a weird feeling about the private company from the start. There seemed to be a lot of minorities working in the entry level positions and while upper management consisted of stereotypically middle-aged white men.  I wasn’t sure I would fit into the culture there.  In contrast, I got along very well with my UBC interviewer – he was funny, easy to talk to, and down-to-earth.

After I received my UBC offer, I kind of nodded to myself – it was what I expected from UBC.

After I received my offer from the private company, I was nearly foaming at the mouth – among other things, they only offered me only two weeks of vacation!  Based on what I know of the industry, 2 weeks is far below the standard.  I’m not greedy, or at least, I try not to be – but I expect fairness.  Not only that, there were many stipulations about who I could and could not work for after leaving the company and a rather ominous statement which basically insinuated that I would be working long hours without extra compensation.

I had already been leaning towards UBC – in part due to the reasons above and in part due to subtle encouragement from people I respect.  Seeing the offer on paper sealed the deal.  I went back to UBC and explained that I had two offers – would they consider raising theirs?  And you know what?  They did!  Goes to show that you should always negotiate your salary.  Their offer also included an awesome vacation package, benefits plan, and a defined benefit pension plan AND a 35 hour work week!

Needless to say, I accepted the offer and have signed the formal offer sheet.  I’m super excited to be completing my program with a job lined up.  In my dark moments, I was definitely worried about being a failure (Don’t we all?).  Being able to complete this program with a great GPA and finishing with a great job lined up – I’m pretty damn pleased with myself.

Upcoming blogs will talk about my interview tips, salary negotiation tactics and of course, the new budget!  😀

Posted in: Career and Work

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