Help me decide how to decide whether to take a job
September 11, 2020 5:42 AM   Subscribe

There is a pretty good chance that I'm going to be offered a job soon that would require relocation. Are there decision-making frameworks or processes that can help me think this through?

Here are a few background details: I'm in a job that I love now in a place that is uninspiring but easy to live in, super low cost of living, semi-near family, and is overall fine. I think I'm going to get a job offer in a much nicer town, that pays more, but is farther away from family, might be more stressful, and would require uprooting my kids from a place they're settled in to move to a place that we might be much happier in. My wife and I aren't sure how to think through this choice...there isn't an obviously better option to us. What resources are there to help us think this through?

To be clear, I'm not looking for your thoughts on what decision to make. Instead, I'm looking for resources on how to make this sort of decision: frameworks or mental models that we should be consulting, articles that we should read, etc. Thanks!
posted by griseus to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It may be way too simple, but I think these things out in Pros/Cons grids. A three-column grid.

for Job A:

Cost of Living: Pros, Cons
Pay: Pros, Cons
Proximity to Family: Pros, Cons

You could even do a third column at the end where you "score" which job wins, if either does, but this clearly isn't an "add-up-the-numbers" exercise. But sometimes one factor looms large, and when you put it all on paper, you discover it shouldn't (or understand it should). Good luck!
posted by rdn at 6:27 AM on September 11

One thing that is worth knowing about is choice supportive bias. In effect, whatever you decide to do you are likely to later regard that decision positively. That is not to say you shouldn't evaluate it on objective criteria but as big decisions often have a large number of unknown factors, it may be helpful to know you are unlikely to come to regret your choice later.

You might also get something out of Oliver Burkeman's advice in this Guardian column.
posted by crocomancer at 6:31 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]

When my wife and I had to make a similar decision, we found it useful to list off all of the features of each option that were important to us and to weight them. (So, for instance, a beloved coffee shop in one place might count in favor of that place, but not carry as much weight as the quality of the schools, or the niceness of the commute.) Then add up the weighted scores for each option.

Of course, what we found was that the two options were within a single point of one another.

You can also use the "coin" method, which is to flip a coin and then to sit with the decision that the coin has made and check in with yourself about it over a period of time, a few days or even a week. Do you feel good about the decision that the coin has made for you? Does it feel right to you? Do you strongly want to override it? Are you relieved to have the decision over with? Essentially, live as though you've made the decision one way or another and see what that is like.
posted by gauche at 6:48 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]

I recently learned about the WRAP model from the book "Decisive". Found it useful when I was mulling over whether to quit a toxic job in this pandemic. I hope it's helpful - all the best.
posted by awkwardpanda at 7:00 PM on September 13

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