Friday, August 05, 2005

Adventures in Decision-Making

I don't have both offers yet, and if I don't get the second one in time, I may have my choice made for me, but in the meantime, based on what I know about the two, I'm trying to start making a decision.

The thing is, I am very indecisive, so this is a particularly difficult thing for me to do. (At least, I think I'm indecisive, but maybe I'm not! What do you think?) In any case, for a person who has trouble deciding what to eat for breakfast, or which shirt to wear today, the prospect of choosing the starting point of my career path is overwhelming.

Here's what I've worked out so far. For things that are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 means "not at all" and 10 means "very much". Blue font mark which ones are "better." In some cases there are no clear winners. (Note: Keep scrolling down for the table.)

Category Location A Location B
Normalized Salary (gross) 1.000 0.6818
Normalized Salary (cost of living) 1.000 0.8832
Interestingness of Work 6 8
Freedom in Work 6 8
Opportunities for Publications 5 10
Reputation of Supervisor 4 8
Personal Opinion of Supervisor 7 8
Recruitment Effort by Supervisor 11 8
Facilities 8 8
Reputation of Dysfunctionality of Institution 8 6
Walk/Bike to Work? Yes (possible) No
Proximity to Family Sometimes, family best appreciated from afar Convenient to visit with whatever frequency I choose
Geography Mountains, coniferous forests Mountains, deciduous forests
Climate Mild winters and hot but dry summers Mild winters; hot, humid summers
Social Climate
Schools Excellent Varies
Universities Small branch of state university Main campus of state land-grant institution
Political "Red" state; locally relatively progressive "Red" state: probably a lot like my hometown.
Fundamentalism Plenty of churches, but not oppressive Bountiful Bible-thumpers and creationists
Things to Do Not Much; 1 hr from medium-sized city Regional center with state university
Karate Related style offered at workplace Different styles available

Even though the linebacker-level salary of location A is very tempting, either offer is more than enough to live comfortably on. Basically I think it comes down to what I want to do in life. What do I want to do? I have no idea. There are so many things to do, which are all tempting, which could all be lots of fun, and which could all suck badly. It's not like there is only one right choice to be made, and by making one choice I have locked myself into a place where I can't get out if I don't like it. But it is hard to get myself to stop feeling so apocalyptic about it.


Laura said...

Sounds like you can't lose! How great, to have two really good choices like that. Congratulations. You rock, sister B!

(Didn't you tell me once you only want to work in a lab for like 10 years anyway, and then try to get a job in academia? So this isn't permanent, anyway. 10 years isn't so much... how long were you in Urbana?)

Scott O said...

Isn't Location A a permanent position (if you want it to be) while Location B is temporary? Plenty to be said for security and not having to do this again too soon. A permanent position also can look better on a resume when you're looking for your next job.

Also, Location A is more of a blue state than a red state traditionally.

Rach said...

I keep trying to come up with words of advice, but I'm pretty sure I don't have any that nobody els has offered.

You could always try the old "Flip a coin" method. Tell yourself a single flip of the coin will determine the outcome. Believe it. Flip. If you find yourself desperately wanting to go best 2 out of 3, then it turns out you really DID have a preference. But TOO BAD! Because you decided the COIN would run your LIFE!

No, just kidding. That's just to help you feel what your preference really is, when you can't seem to distinguish one otherwise.