Making That Hard Decision

If the current first years are anything like my MLHR Cohort when we were first years, some people are making hard decisions right now.

Those months in the beginning where you were getting antsy because some of your colleagues were picking up offers left and right are suddenly a thing of the past.  You’ve realized now that a lot of great companies come to Fisher in Winter and Spring because that’s when their fiscal years allow them to commit to a budget for interns.  And now, you’re feeling antsy for an entirely different reason.

When it rains, it pours.  And you don’t know if you should run into the closest building for shelter or wait for the storm to clear so you can clearly see the horizon.  This metaphor, of course, refers to taking the first offer you get or waiting to see if those other interviews and second rounds pan out.  No one blames you of course for feeling anxious about what’s on the other side.  The grass honestly could be greener.  This internship will be a big part of your resume when you graduate and the experience will help you determine your specialty.  It is not a decision to be made lightly.

I had one of my first year buddies message me on Facebook the other night.  She was in this exact situation:  she had a great offer from a company.  They are not as well-known and do not carry the “big name” prestige that future employers might look for.  On the other hand, she would be on the ground floor of a major change effort and reorganization, would be working directly under the VP and felt like it was a very good managerial and organization fit.

On the other hand, yes that makes three hands, she has interviews lined up with some bigger names and doesn’t know too much about what the opportunities would be like.  The offer has an expiration date and she doesn’t know if they will let her wait until she has had the opportunity to interview with the other companies and get offers.

I was in this exact same situation.  I went with OCLC, a name that is VERY big in the industry we are in, library sciences technology.  On the other hand, there were concerns that future employers wouldn’t recognize the name and downplay my experience because they don’t know the organization.

On the third hand, I have had an amazing experience with OCLC, a lot of latitude, incredible breadth and depth of experience, and made connections and networked with people that will help me open up my future as an HR professional.

My buddy wanted guidance.  All I could offer was my point of view, and that is all.  Everyone’s experience and needs and luck are different.  I have colleagues who went with the “big names” and have been afforded wonderful opportunities.  They also have not put down any roots and are younger and more open to opportunities, wherever they might take them.  I have roots in DC, a family and relationship that are waiting for me, and am not as open to these options.  I want to be in DC and must tailor my search to there and there only.

My only advice to anyone reading this is: Go with your gut.  If your gut says that a “big name” like Exxon, Cardinal Health, Anheuser-Busch, etc., are the best choice for you, go with your gut!  If you go on an interview with a lesser-known company, but it feels like the right fit, do that.  I went with my gut and have not looked back at all and have not regretted it for a minute.