In general, having the choice between two or more job offers is great—but it’s still difficult. If you’re wondering how to choose, you’ve come to the right place.
But before we help you get there, let’s define first: what exactly qualifies as a difficult choice?
Here’s what professional philosopher, Ruth Chang, had to say about hard choices from her famous TED talk:
“What makes a choice hard is the way the alternatives relate. In any easy choice, one alternative is better than the other. In a hard choice, one alternative is better in some ways, the other alternative is better in other ways, and neither is better than the other overall.”
Indeed, the reason you’re reading this article right now is because you’re torn. Both job offers have their own merits that don’t overlap. For example: one may have better pay, while the other has a more interesting role.
Both are valid factors, but unfortunately, both don’t come in the same package.
Here at Kalibrr, we help you land the best job possible by seeing the opportunities on our platform. Finally choosing a job, however, is highly personal: it’s your life, and you know yourself best. Ultimately, we can’t make the decision for you.
Instead, what we can give you is a reliable framework by which to make your decision. Here are 3 parts to the framework that Chang famously explained:
Part 1: Muster Your Motivation
First off, Chang encourages that we reframe what we think about hard choices. If the definition of a hard choice is simply one where two options are better in their own ways, then it doesn’t have to mean that they’re always such a big deal.
For example: for breakfast, you can choose to have an omelette or a fruit bowl. One is healthier, the other is more satisfying. Depending on what you value more—say, being full versus being healthy—you could choose one or the other.
And yet everyday, we eat our breakfast, make decisions like this all the time, and move on with our lives.
Realizing that we’re capable of making hard, small choices daily can help make the hard, big choices seem less scary. After all, we’re doing just fine given our decision-making skills. Perhaps applying to it to a different situation doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Part 2: Accept That Hard Choices Do Not Equal Hard Value
Chang further illustrates that there’s something amiss about our assumptions with hard choices. Assuming that one choice is better than the other is like assuming that there’s a real number attached to either one.
It’s like choosing between which bag is more expensive. If you’re comparing two bags of different prices, then you can only have 3 possibilities: the price of one is either higher, lower or equal to that of the other bag.
When it comes to nuanced, hard choices—such as, should I marry this person? or, which job is better?—the assumption assumes that we can quantify the merits of each one using hard numbers.
But there’s no such thing: you can’t put a real number to time-flexibility, creativity in a role, or even to the status of a company. It’s all relative.
With this in mind, Chang encourages that we add a 4th dimension: instead of thinking there are only 3 possibilities—higher, lower, or equal value—we should accept that two choices can be “on par” instead.
In other words: they could be in the same league of value—but they clearly have different types of it. And as we’ll see in the third part of the framework, this is crucial to note.
Part 3: Empower Yourself For Any Choice
If 2 choices are “on par”, this means that whichever one you choose can work itself out—just in different ways.
Instead of agonizing that there’s only one happy ending for you (depending on the choice make), you can be excited about the possibilities that each choice has.
When you realize that either choice can give you a happy ending, you free yourself up from the expectation that only one choice is right, and the other is wrong.
This is important to remember: when you learn that either choice can be better, then that means it’s well within your power to make it so.
In other words: it’s not about making the right choice. Instead, it’s about making the choice become right for you.
To put it concretely: instead of stressing about which job offer to choose, come up with solutions about how to make either job work out in the best way for you.
Weigh the merits; come up with a plan on how to make each choice work out; choose one; and then execute the plan that comes with it.
As long as you’re prepared, you get to decide which choice is right.
And if you end up not liking your choice or it doesn’t work out for other reasons you couldn’t control, that’s the beauty of it: you can choose to change again. Then, you just need to apply the same framework.
It’s really that simple—it’s just not easy.
That’s why it’s called a difficult choice.
But instead of seeing this as a problem, you can see this as an opportunity: one that you’ll grow the better for—whichever offer you take.