Job Choice: Money Now vs. Desired Career Later?

career direction

I just got off the phone with a former student who faces a tough career decision. I hope I helped with her quandary involving two excellent job offers that would take her in entirely different career directions. She allowed me to share portions of the discussion, without mentioning her name. And she welcomes suggestions before she makes up her mind later this week.

The first opportunity is a full-time sales management position that pays more than she was expecting for her early 20-something age–certainly more than the $10-an-hour internship opportunity at a major public relations agency.

“What does your gut tell you?” I asked. “I want the money, but the sales job takes me off course from the career I really want,” she replied. “Decision made,” I asserted. “Take the internship. You clearly have the knack for sales and can come back to it if you don’t like what you find in public relations. But you’ll always wonder ‘what if’ should you forego the PR opportunity.”

I also encouraged her to test her decision against Kevin Donnellon’s seven factors to consider when assessing whether a particular job is right for you:

  1. Reputation
  2. Responsibilities
  3. Leadership
  4. Location
  5. Relationships
  6. Friendliness
  7. Money and benefits


1 comment on this post.
  1. New Pro:

    Went through the exact same decision myself.

    I had been working in retail since I came to Chicago for school. After two years I had become full time, making far more than any of my peers (also had incredible benefits). When I submitted my resignation to pursue my first PR internship, I was offered a VERY tempting offer–a promotion to an account leader on a sales team making even better money (and keeping the insurance et al. benefits that the internship obviously wouldn’t provide).

    My decision? Took the internship. Scraped by for a few months, then moved on to another internship. And another. Ended up getting an agency offer from that third internship before I even graduated.

    I agree with your advice, Ron. That sales position will always be out there. Not the case in our profession…

    Good luck in your decision!

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