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Evaluating Career Offers, Career Decision Making and Employee Motivation

Evaluating Career Offers, Career Decision Making and Employee MotivationTrue story of how one job seeker hit the Career jackpot!

Last Thursday, one of my clients, who is a Graduate MBA student called me. He sounded very anxious on the phone and requested an Emergency Career Counseling session. My first thought was, ‘oh no, it must be bad news.’ But then he told me, he has 4 offers, 3 of which are’ for full time work and 1 of which is for a full time internship! However, these were’‘exploding offers’ and the deadline to make a decision, was the next day. These offers all came in over the span of 5 days! Yes, in this economy, it is possible to have multiple job offers!’

This student began thinking about and planning for his career from the very first day of school. He sought out the Career Management Center early on, attended on campus recruiting events, career expos, career workshops and received individual career counseling. We worked on many career management topics together, from professional paper-tools, resumes and cover letters to the hidden job-market and career action planning. He impressed me, with his willingness to learn and implement the latest career and job search strategies, no matter how challenging. This included cold calling and other unpleasant, nerve-racking aspects of a modern job-search. As a result, his hard work paid off. Now, 1 month before graduation, he had’4 job offers, in writing! Regardless of which offer he takes, the choice will be based on his career goals and his career strategy. He has not been a ‘victim of the recession and truly learned how to recession-proof his career.’

There is nothing more satisfying for a career counselor, than when their clients receive job offers. Hearing about my student’s multiple, job offers made my week! On Thursday, we met and reviewed the 4 written offers and discussed job-selection criteria.’I asked him “What motivates you? What type of rewards do you look for in a job?” When asked, most people can only list one or two items: such as salary or commute time. However, each of us is unique and what motivates your family member, friend or neighbor may not be a reward, for you. Also, consider the ‘cultural-fit’ of a company, division and particular job.

I often utilize Business Career Tests to help my clients uncover their core values, interests and career motivators. A trained and licensed career counselor can help select a suitable test, administer it and interpret the summary. Also, they can ensure that the test has inter-rater reliability and test validity for your particular demographic. Ideally, the test will include career motivators and specific career paths and job recommendations. A good career test, will help you rank order your preferences. There may be trade-offs which only you can make. i.e.: if you score high on Lifestyle as a motivator, you probably won’t be satisfied with a job as a Wall Street Broker – who often has to work 80+ hours a week. But you will be home in time for dinner with your family and have weekends free.

Some of the core motivators, which are essential for career decision making include:
• Affiliation
• Altruism
• Autonomy
• Financial Gain
• Intellectual Challenge
• Lifestyle
• Managing People
• Positioning
• Power and Influence
• Prestige
• Recognition
• Security
• Variety

The most satisfying jobs are those which are tied to both your internal motivators (altruisim) and external motivators (salary). The number one reason why people leave jobs, is not a poor salary, but rather issues with other people (coworkers and managers). Thus, don’t underestimate the corporate culture, and affiliation opportunities at a particular job.

It is a balance and any one job, will not fulfill all of your needs or motivators. Sometimes a combination of paid work, hobbies and outside interests is needed, in order to feel satisfied.’You may trade one type of motivator in favor or another. i.e.: accept a position with a lower salary, in exchange for a reasonable work week and variety. Some motivators may appear to be contradictory, such as security vs autonomy. A skilled career counselor can help you sort through your career motivators. In the long run, a good fit is essential.

Most importantly, without knowing what motivates you, career decision making is just hit or miss.

Remember, each job positions you for the next job.

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