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!



22 Comments / Post A Comment

goldsold (#6,032)

I really enjoyed this. I appreciate seeing different financial/career perspectives. A lot of sites that focus on financial/career levels tend to focus on people who are constantly struggling so I appreciate seeing the middle ground where someone is successful as a young adult but still has a a lot of goals left to reach.

la_di_da (#1,425)

Go you! For leaving your company! For negotiating a salary! For being awesome!

If we’re actually crowdsourcing this decision from internet strangers, I’m going in for option 2. It sounds challenging and like you’d get some mentorship and opportunities to advance. Healthcare is changing quickly, and it’s no bad thing to be in an industry that’s growing. Also, you’re 25 (holy shit, what have I been doing with my life), so you’ve still got time to pivot to other industries down the line if you want.

As much as I like “laid back” companies, I’ve been in the position where that lack of structure makes it difficult to address issues that arise. Then again, “laid back” structures can also lead to more flexible job roles, which you might prefer. Vacation and benefits are awesome though, so I’m not sure if you can go wrong either way.

What area of the country are you in? $70k seems like it would be quite low for that kind of job here in DC. I guess if you’re in an area with a lower cost of living it makes more sense.

(ETA: Oh and of course no need to answer if this would out you to your current/potential future employers!)

@stuffisthings New England-ish area but not Boston

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@stuffisthings yes, I agree. Depending on the industry and the location, $70k is nice but not amazing. As well, for small companies, the higher salary is offered because the money can stop at short notice (if the company falls over). The greater risk causes the higher income.

Personally, I would never quit a job before signing the paperwork for the replacement. I’ve seen so many job offers fall through at the last minute (sometimes the company’s decision, sometimes the candidate’s decision). If the subject of the story doesn’t have any savings (which is surprising based on her existing salary) and doesn’t have financial support options from her family, then I think the risks associated with resigning this early are greater than any benefits of doing so.

I’m also interested in the “passive racism” which is causing her to quit the current job. I can completely understand someone leaving because of on-going overt racism from a colleague. I’ve been on the receiving end of overt racism and it can be quite unpleasant. But what is “passive racism”?

@WayDownSouth I appreciate your perspective.

What I mean by passive racism is racial microaggressions and ignorance. It wasn’t coming out of a place of malice, it was because she was culturally uneducated. Comments like “your people” or referring to white people as “American” and others as “non-American.”

A huge part of why I read the Billfold is because I have no budgeting skills and no savings. I was never taught to budget and I was simultaneously contributing financially to my family. It’s about a $20k jump from where I was before the increase.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@NotMaggiebutMaggie yes, that is very frustrating. I’ve been on the receiving end of the equivalent of “your people” type comments and it really sucks. It’s like you’re somehow a lesser being based on whatever racial or cultural feature that the speaker doesn’t like. I hate it. And, to be frank, it’s probably going to happen at almost every company that you work at — it just takes one negative person, regardless of how many positive people there are.

The problem is how to deal with it. if you quit, then the person effectively gets what he or she wants (makes you unhappy, you quit). The behaviour is reinforced and presumably the next Asian hire will receive the same treatment. (Note that I’m not being critical of your decision. You’re there, I’m not. Living in a free country means that we can make these decisions.) It’s a very difficult situation and I’m not aware of any magic answers. Every situation needs to be analysed and reacted to based on the circumstances of the individuals involved.

When you’re looking at these other companies, one of the difficulties is that you don’t know whether the same type of person awaits you there. So leaving one company doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t experience the same problem at the new place. Unfortunately, I don’t know any way of determining how to measure the company’s culture in advance.

On the positive side, you can learn a lot about saving and budgeting here. We’ll talk about how to budget and how to save until you turn off the computer and run screaming down the hall. I wish I could help you with solving the situation which caused those problems for you, but I can’t. However, we can certainly help you learn to save a lot of money.

@WayDownSouth I agree with you about encountering people like that many times over in your life. I don’t feel obligated to educate everyone and I will if someone seems receptive to it. I actually did not speak to anyone about her microaggressions until she started interfering with my work relationships, creating rumors, and telling me that people I worked with did not like it when I greeted them politely.

She was a lost cause in terms of educating her so I let it slide until she was interfering with my productivity. That’s when I went to someone and she was the office manager and de factor HR. The organization handled it poorly and made wide sweeping decisions that affected me directly without any conversation with me or even telling me about it. They just happened to let it slip in meetings and I probed further.

It unfortunately was a very complicated situation that was handled poorly. I also was given a lot of lip service regarding a performance review w/ review of compensation. It came to light that the decision was made that they were not contractually obligated to do that for me while simultaneously telling me that we were going to do it for weeks on end (nearly four months).

It wasn’t an easy decision but I’m happy!

I say job number 3. Being a newish company you might be able to offer input on large departmental decisions. You seem like someone who wants to learn and this might be the better opportunity. But either way you wont be doing something wrong.

Human Centipaul (#3,559)

The 3% free/5% match into a 401k from Option 1 is one of the best benefits a company can offer. Too bad the work would leave Maggie bored.

Offer 2’s “rogue” team sounds good, but might not last in that format. Groups that exists outside the rules get to do that only until they don’t. Creating a position for her and offering the ability to work from home is pretty cool, though!

sea ermine (#122)

I’ve said this before but I would like to say it again: the billfold’s photo choices are flawless.

sherlock (#3,599)

First of all congratulations! Those all sound like awesome, well-deserved opportunities. I also wanted to say (partially in response to the above thread), that I really, really don’t think that you need to justify not having much savings. $900/month in student loans is insane!

I’m in pretty much the same age/income bracket as you, and was paying about the same towards my loans, and let me tell you, I was not adding to my savings much back then. Luckily I was making those large payments out of choice, not necessity (my minimum payments were much lower), and had built of emergency savings first. If those are your minimum payments, though, and that’s on top of supporting your family, I think you are doing great.

yolio (#6,034)

Hi. I am in a similar field. I do Data Science for a tech company and I have a science background. One thing that I would point out is that part of the reason that you are getting so many offers is that you in high demand and not asking as much money as many people in your position. That may be appropriate for you at your seniority level. A lot of your competition is much more experienced, which is part of why they are so expensive. But companies are jumping at the chance to get your skill set at that price point.

My advice: don’t make the decision based on money. Make sure you get something that is fair, and then focus on which opportunity will give you best experience. Which one will afford the most opportunity for skill development and the chance to try technologies and techniques that will make you even more marketable the next time you hit the job market. At this stage in your career, your long term economic outlook is much more driven by your skills development than it is by your exact salary today.

Also, the quality of the people is always important. Go with the ones that you just like. It matters.

@yolio Hi, you are correct. I have one solid full-on year of experience in data as my primary job. I’d feel like a fraud if I tried to command more money and did not deliver with my work due to my inexperience.

may june july (#2,862)

Maggie, first off, congratulations on your hard work paying off! I really enjoyed reading this, and I am sure you’re going to make a good decision (it doesn’t really sound like you can go wrong!). I was wondering if there was any way that I could message you privately about your career path so far and maybe some questions about some of the pertinent skills involved? I’m actually interested in transitioning into healthcare analytics (currently ancillary patient care), but I haven’t had much luck with finding entry level positions. I would appreciate it so much.

jennknee (#3,899)

Congrats on the job offers! You are like an inspiration to me.

jquick (#3,730)

Study STEM!

aesir (#5,963)

For what it’s worth, and parroting an earlier poster, I’d suggest you’d go for the job that will potentially give you the most autonomy or skills development. Look for opportunities to lead projects or be in charge of modeling or whatever, things that not just any random undergrad data monkey can do. The money isn’t important now, but it’ll come as you accrue unique, marketable experience. More importantly, you’ll stay in demand as you get older.

SomeLostYankee (#6,037)

I think I like #2 and if not #3. I’d suggest that while negotiating is great and all, making a decision is going to be smart. You don’t want to overplay your hand and at the end of the day, look for the role that’s going to prepare you for your NEXT job. If you can get the stability of a few years in say, #2 which is a massive improvement over your current job, I’d say that going there and doing awesome is going to open doors in management roles that you can do say, even at a company like a startup.

But just seems like a good opportunity to go with the company where there’s a good fit. It’s less about work, really and more about having the support and the people around you to help you grow, thrive and do your best stuff.

So I vote #2. Congrats on your marketability and good luck deciding!

milena (#3,288)

You are incredibly talented at this job-hunting/negotiating game! Us data analysts are in high demand, and it’s nice to have the upper hand in most scenarios. I agree with other commenters that companies are jumping at the chance to hire you because data analysts are really expensive — I’ve seen some with your (and mine) length of work experience command wayyy over $70k/year. And the market will bear it!

If you love data analysis (I do!!), stick with it. You stand to make a good chunk of change, and very few people can crunch numbers in a way that the average joe can understand.

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