Decision framework for a tough career decision
October 28, 2014 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I've been freelancing for the last year, but expecting a job offer in the next few days. I am genuinely torn abut whether I want to accept. I go back and forth daily. Yesterday I was pretty strongly leaning towards taking it. Today the idea depresses me. I'd appreciate your recommendations on tools to help me make this decisions. Snowflakes follow...

I'm more interested in how you would go about making the decision than what you would do in my shoes. But here's the gist of the factors in play (feel free to ignore):

I'm an urban planner and I've had work as a freelancer but it's been a hard slog lately. The thing is, I love many things about the freelance/consulting lifestyle. I don't mind beating the bushes for work (some days it's easier than others), I have a good network. And I have a decent base income from other sources to whether dry spells. I *love* setting my own hours, even if that means nights when I'm working until 11 pm.

This job would be a steady and stable boost to my income, working on projects that interest and excite me. The main strikes against it are that I'm not excited by going back to the 9-5 + commuting routine.

I would be working under a friend I respect (and who actively recruited me for the position) but she may be living for another organization within a month or two. And while the income boost would be steady, it would also have a ceiling. Finally, it's virtually identical to the job I left a year ago (in another organization), and I feel like I'd rather take a step up in returning to that environment.

In an ideal world, I'd give consulting another year or so, and then seriously consider going back to the land of the employed. But this is a strong opportunity and I owe it to myself and my family to seriously consider it.
posted by dry white toast to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Take the job because it's interesting and exciting. When it quits being interesting then leave. The rest is just window dressing.
posted by ptm at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2014

Can you step up into her job when she leaves?
posted by salvia at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you have financial dependents/teammates, you should ask them what they think. You need an enthusiastic or at least non-stressed "yes, keep freelancing!" from your partner in order for this decision to be respectful of their well-being.
posted by one more robot at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2014

Response by poster: I have the support of my partner to do what feels best for me, career and lifestyle wise
posted by dry white toast at 9:21 PM on October 28, 2014

To me it doesn't seem like you want to take this job. Well, actually it doesn't just seem like it. At least today, the idea "depresses" you. Does the idea of staying in consulting ever depress you too? If not, I'd say your choice favors the consulting option.

You talk about this offer on the table, but you don't talk about the self-employment work much. If you were to continue on this path, do you have goals for it? How persistent is this feeling of "slogging" through? Do you see yourself eventually surpassing the income ceiling of the offer on the table? Why would you only give consulting only another year or so? Why not keep at it indefinitely? These are some questions I think you should try to answer.

Some methods I use when needing to think through a decision are free writing and mind mapping. Once I get my thoughts down on paper or on the computer, the answer becomes clearer. You could try those.
posted by Leontine at 9:41 PM on October 28, 2014

« Older Tattoo filter   |   Corporate team building? SIGN ME UP!!!! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.