A Chat With a Woman Fielding Four Job Offers (Our Hero)

Maggie is currently debating between three four job offers, plus a promotion from her current company. We chatted about her situation and what it’s like to be a baddass woman with money and jobs being thrown at you.

Tell me about your career!

I’m 24, turning 25 this year and I graduated from Brown with a degree in neuroscience that I occasionally utilize knowledge pertaining to my degree. I’m in the healthcare industry as an analyst so I’m doing things for health plans and pharma companies. I previously did research at a hospital.

Why are you looking to leave your current job?
There was an HR nightmare with someone who was passively racist (I’m Asian) and a huge lack of support for me in my role. They are currently trying to find two people to fill the hole that I am leaving.

I am the expert at data in my department and I know that there’s a lot I have to learn. I had no one to turn to for idea pitches, advice, different approaches. It can be daunting and exciting to be the originator of something this big.

The job sounds exciting and stressful, the racism just sounds stressful — I’m sorry you have had to deal with that. When did you start looking for new jobs? And how have you gone about your search?

I started about a month ago. I didn’t expect to get the response I received. I submitted my resume to a couple of positions without a cover letter. I wanted to take time and draft a cover letter for a position at a health insurance company but never got around to it. I used the internet and searched for specific keywords: “health”, “analyst”, “data management.” I got five first round interview requests and I spent a week applying to companies through Monster, Indeed, Ventureloop, etc., but I always applied through the company website if possible.

What’s it like to be wanted!?
I almost feel like an impostor, but I’m trying to convince myself that it’s just the Dunning-Kruger effect. I know I’m very fortunate because a lot of my peers who graduated the same year as me (2011) are still struggling to find their foothold. I’m staring down the barrel of more senior positions and it feels crazy. I feel like I’ve earned it though.

How are you going to decide??

Offer #1 is in the healthcare industry at a more basic level. I went into the second interview unaware that there was a skills assessment. It felt like a pop quiz but the work was quite easy. I think that I’d suffer from lack of stimulation. They offered me $67,000 with incentive bonuses (which are obviously not guaranteed). I would also have an employee contribution to healthcare which I have never had in the past (rare I know). They do an automatic 3% contribution to 401(k) regardless of my contribution and will match up to 5% on top of that. That’s the offer I’m going to be turning down today.

Offer #2 is in a corporate healthcare environment but the team I would be joining is what I would term “rogue.” They do not have to deal with the IT department and all of the other bureaucracies that come with working in a fortune 500 company. They are actually creating a new position for me that is senior to the one I applied for. They met my minimum salary of $70,000 and I have the option of working from home 3–4 days of the week if I chose to. It’s in an arena I am very familiar with and would be challenging in a way that my current job would like to be but does not have the bandwidth to support.There is of course, an employee contribution to health insurance. There are possible bonus options as well.

I interviewed so well with the team that time ran out before I could even present this PowerPoint I had created based on this data set they had given me. I emailed it to them a couple of days later so they could review it.

Offer #3 is at a start-up like company that has been in business for nearly 10 years now. I’d be doing work in the operations department which is a completely new field for me. I had to prepare a presentation based on the data set they gave me as well. I presented to the team I’d be working directly with, their boss, and the COO. I actually presented it three times. The company is really laid back and the benefits are amazing. There’s a total of three weeks paid vacation and when you include personal and federal holidays you amount to technically 31 days off per year. They also cover 100% of my healthcare. They offered me $65,000, and when I said I’d been offered $5000 more for a more senior position, they got back to me and matched that salary.

The “fourth” job offer is my original company. They gave me a 16% raise that came directly after a conversation where I (again) expressed my unhappiness with the company and my job. They also owed me a six month review and review of my salary which they did not do despite my weekly pestering.

I’ve been saying I’ve been unhappy for months and have been vocal about how they can fix things. They’ve realized far too late. (The raise came at 10 months in and the review still hasn’t come to fruition). They’re trying to figure out some way to get me to stay, but they weren’t surprised when I said I was going to leave.

They’re actually asking for more flexibility past the nearly four weeks of notice I’ve given them. I told them last week I was leaving, handed in my official resignation this week, and am working two more weeks past this Friday.

So you put in notice before you had a new job!
I had one firm offer. The other two went so well that I was quite confident that I would get an offer. The follow-ups from the people I interviewed with via email were quite positive. One had said they would love to extend me an offer for my consideration that evening.

It was also like a weight had been lifted after I told my company I was leaving. I knew I wasn’t going to stay no matter what. I wanted to stand up for myself. Staying felt like I was endorsing the way they were treating me.

Have you given yourself a deadline to quit regardless of job offer status? Do you have savings?
I have very little savings. I pay a ridiculous amount of money to student loans (bordering on $900/month) and I have this shopping habit where I have expensive tastes. I also bankroll my parents cell phone bills (they just got the latest iPhone 5s’). I’m completely financially independent from my family for other complicated reasons.

Have you gone back and forth about the decision? How will you make it?

I’m waiting to hear back from Offer #2 if they’d be a little more competitive. I had a really good discussion with the woman who would be my supervisor about certain things I was looking for. She also wanted to explain where they were coming from a salary standpoint. Offer #3 also said that they’d be flexible with my ability to work from home.

I feel anxious and a little paralyzed. I gave self-imposed a deadline of end of day today but I don’t think that’s going to happen now. I do feel a little bit guilty, especially because offer #2 CREATED the position for me. I don’t want to be in limbo anymore and I don’t want to screw myself over and be too greedy.

Can you tell me a little bit about how you have approached salary discussions?
It was daunting. I had never really done this before and I know women traditionally don’t negotiate. I did some research on the salaries in my area for similar job titles and on glassdoor.com. All places asked my what my minimum salary range was. I said between $65–70K (this was before I had gotten my increase at my current job).

The increase moved to me communicating that the floor was $70K or else it would feel too much of a lateral move (though they didn’t know I was jumping ship no matter what).

Offer #2 created the new position so that they could meet my minimum (that’s bureaucracy for you) and they felt that my qualifications and experience meant that I deserved to come in as a senior analyst instead of just an analyst. I’m not really sure what industry I’d want to be in. It makes more sense for me to continue on with healthcare but I’m excited to learn new things and leverage my existing knowledge. I’m also thinking about company fit and style. It’s not an easy decision but I’m also factoring in mentoring opportunities both for me and possible mentees. I’ve traditionally had students (undergrad, grad, and medical) that I’ve coached through data analysis and educated them about the finer points in that. I want to be able to work with people who will take me under their wing and I want to be able to pay that forward.

In job stuff I think it’s helpful sometimes to step back and think, what would a dude do? :/
I’ve been very aware of how women traditionally have more loyalty to companies which is why they stay in jobs longer than they should and thus stunt their overall career growth. I am also aware that women tend to err on the side of staying away from negotiating salary. I put that in my head when I was making the decision to leave. The company has no loyalty to me despite the “family” feel. It is not my family. I owe them nothing and they owe me nothing.

You are incredible! I am inspired by you!
I have a lot of anxiety about making the wrong decision but someone told me that, “Whatever decision you make will be right, because you made it.” Que sera sera. Do you have any thoughts??

It’s hard, right? it seems like you could be happy at either job 2 or job 3! I’m terrified of choices.
Choices are paralyzing!

Reaaaaderrrrrrssssss? WWYD?
Oh and this just in: I had previously interviewed with a recruiter and due to the fact that the company they were trying to place me with had some internal HR restructuring, they weren’t able to review resumes until yesterday. I’m one of their top candidates and they’d like to see me ASAP next week. This job pays $40/hr or ~$83K. Whaaaat.

We can all stop applying for jobs becuase you’ve just been offered all of them. Wow. Well you’re going to be great, obviously. This can only turn out in the best possible way. Good luck!

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