What would you do? fresh grad dilemma

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by jng, May 26, 2007.

  1. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Although I have shied away from discussing anything personal about myself on this board, I am curious as to what a person who does not know me at all would say about the dilemma I am curiously facing. Currently everyone I have asked has given me predictable advice, given that they share background or interests with one of the choices.

    So I am a fresh grad. And I have to make this decision by Monday night:

    1. Accept a Fulbright and teach in Germany for a year. I am fluent in German and one level shy of native fluency and would love to attain that. I also just miss Germany (I lived there last year) and the Fulbright is of course a prestigious award. I am also considering doing graduate school in Europe. I do want to be a teacher, but not in the next 15 years or so.

    2 take a management-role job I've been offered a web content engineer/information architect role at a subsidiary of one of largest banks / financial institutions in the country. Normally the idea of taking a job doesn't compare to Fulbright, but this is a non-entry level job and not just your regular web design/development job. My Uni background is not in computer sciene, but rather International Relations and Economics (but not finance). Not only would I get to manage teams at age 22, I would also learn a great deal about investment banking. I have this feeling that this job fell on my lap due in part ot dumb luck and I fear not being able to get such an opportunity again.

    I've mulled it over or 2 days now and I still haven't a clue. I want to do both. But I can only pick one. And my choice depends on my mood, which doesn't help.

    If you were in this situation, what would you pick?
  2. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
  3. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2004
    jng, I'd like to ask you a few questions and maybe that will help get closer to making a decision:

    1) What would you like to do with your life? For instance, what are your personal goals, professional goals, relational goals, and etc? When would you like to accomplish these goals?

    2) What top 5 things do you value the most in life? How important are each?

    3) What does a Fulbright give you? What comes after the Fulbright? Will it take you in the right direction of your life goals and is it consistent with your values?

    4) What comes after the management position? Will it take you in the right direction of your life goals and is it consistent with your values?

    5) Have you asked your parents, family, older relatives, any family friends who have been in any similar position, acquaintances, professors, other people who have a Fulbright, other people who have taken management positions, pastors, counselors, mentors, and etc? Ask people who are close, trustworthy, and/or experienced. Do not weigh each opinion equally.

    Hope that helps. You seem like a very bright person with a wonderful future. Please keep us up to date with your decision!

  4. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Go to Germany. You have the rest of your life to be a suit, and you'll probably be kicking yourself 10 years on if you don't go.
  5. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    You may kick yourself if you do go :eek:

    Good luck which ever you decide.

  6. Dynamyk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    I would say it depends how easy it is to get a job in your field AFTER you come back. While the opportunity might be great, decide with your future in mind.
  7. jng thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Fuzzwud I've asked myself all those questions a million times over the last 2 days. The problem is I'm still no closer to an answer because the choices are, well good. =/

    Both further my career goals, just not necessarily the same ones. I believe that an individual can have many careers. As for more concrete ideas of what I want to do? I don't think anyone really knows at 22. Honestly I was just looking for jobs and stumbled upon this one. I interviewed twice and I loved it.

    I have asked many people. Academic faculty and mentors characteristically say Germany as well.

    Family consistently say stay and take the job.

    Friends generally help extend the long pros/cons list.

    Either way, I'm not getting any nearer to a decision.

    Dynamyk Getting a job in the web design / development field isn't difficult in Boston. What is difficult is getting a content management position in such a fabulous company.

    Hmm 2 Votes for Germany. Interestingly I flipped a coin 5 times yesterday. First two times came up Germany. My coworkers (who are pro Job) didn't believe me. So then we did best 2 out of 3. And Germany won. Heh.
  8. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
  9. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    One would think that a Fullbright would certainly look very, very, good to prospective employers in the future.
    On the issue of teaching, though, what would you be teaching there? If you don't think you want to teach for about 15 years, you can either try it out for a year, and see if you want to continue with that plan, or wait until you think you'd feel more comfortable in front of a classroom (or lab, etc.) full of people barely (if at all) younger than you (assuming this is at the college level, which I don't think is common without a master's degree).
  10. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    It doesn't matter what I would pick. What matter is which course of action will you be most happy with.

    Many have already given good advice.

    So I offer you this bit that was once given to me.

    Try to imagine yourself 20 years down the road. Would you regret either decision?

    BTW, usually when folks are older they very seldom regret what they did but what they did not do. In this case you have two wonderful opportunities. Can you do either later in life? Will both give you the same satisfaction?
  12. jng thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    SushiYou sound like one of my good friends in that you don't pick. And yes, that is very good advice. I received it just two days ago from a very good friend/mentor who is also a teacher.

    Re: Satisfaction. They're different. it's like comparing apples and oranges.

    If I take the Fulbright, I know I will have a blast next year and increase my fluency. I may even try to extend my stay somehow either by working or continuing my studies abroad, which would be cheaper to do in Europe. Fulbright is the long-term more difficult decision because of uncertainty.

    The job path is very straightforward. I join a great firm (doing what I love), make lots of money, pay off all my student loans faster than I thought imaginable and relatively quickly start working on my MBA. Dream job? Apple, of course!

    Do I want to be a teacher? A firm yes. I teach web design at my old high school during the spring and I've taught Englisch at a German Gynasium before (while abroad last year). I have also TA'd for the German Dept. at my University. Teaching is one of the most rewarding things one can ever do, in my opinion. But I don't want to teach in the near future, just because my heart itches for a international business career and teaching would complement that I settle down in one location. Not ready for that yet. Great friend of mine had an awesome career before going into teaching much later in life and that's the path I want to take.

    They're different in the sense that it's easier to take the job. And I hate uncertainty, esp. when it comes to financial security since I come from a humble background and I have expensive tastes. My parents are immigrants and they're all pressuring me to stay. But as many of you here suggest and as many of my friends seem to know, my heart may be in Germany and the Fulbright is the better choice. But it's the much more difficult choice.

    Sigh. I blew $6000 of my savings last year (in addition to the $10k stipend I received) while in Europe. I hate debt.

    No, I still haven't decided...
  13. Lau Guest

    I get the feeling from what you're writing that you feel like you'd like to go with the Fulbright, but you feel you should go with the job. If that's the case, I personally would say go with what you would like (especially as it isn't a bad decision; we're not talking "would like to sit in my underpants and eat pizza all day, but I feel like I should take the job" ;) ).

    sushi's advice is great, and I would also add that not only in 20 years which you regret not doing, but also what would you be glad you had done if you got hit by a bus in a year? Life throws some odd things at us, and it's also worth thinking about what will make you happy now (as let's face it, it what you're living in) and to hell with the consequences. Things usually work out for the best, particularly if you're willing to work at them, so why not do what makes you happy?
  14. theyoda3 macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2006
    I think you should take a look at the circumstances of both choices and the significance of their contributions.

    The Fulbright Scholarship is not only an honor and a testament to your achievements, but it has a great impact on the world. It represents and provides global cooperation and sharing of knowledge. As the world appears to become smaller and our distant neighbors seem closer the strengthened global relations this provides will be more important and its effect more long lasting.

    When considering this job offer you have you should think about how you actually were offered the position. Was it really dumb luck? Was it a position you aren't really qualified for, but somehow was offered to you as a once in a life-time opportunity... or was it really offered because of your success and achievement in academics and work experience? The best predictor of future success lies in the past. This job may not have been offered out of mere luck or coincidence, but rather because you were qualified and worthy of the job. If your past achievements are the reason for getting the job then you just need to find the confidence to believe that if you let this opportunity go you will be able to find another. Maybe one that is better. I'm sure timing has a lot to do with getting these types of jobs, but maybe by letting this go, doing the Fulbright, and then working in your profession when you return you will be able to qualify for an even better job.

    If I were in your position I would take the Fulbright because it sounds like the job you were offered was not just because of dumb luck. I would like to think that I would choose the opportunity that had the greatest impact on the world, but I don't know with certainty. Teaching in Germany and possibly studying in Europe seems to offer that. Although, I don't like airplanes so that would make travel difficult for me.

    I hope this helps you.

    FYI To help you consider the source of my perspective, I'm a junior undergraduate student studying electrical and computer engineering.
  15. jng thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    theyoda: That's awesome that you're an engineer. My school has a good engineering program and I will always remember the career fair that was held in the falll. Companies were lining up to talk to the engineers while liberal arts folks like myself were lining up to try to talk to companies.

    As for dumb luck, I think there was some involved. The company listed the position as a developer position, when in reality they wanted a designer with management experience. Therefore, I think their applicant pool must have been smaller than it could have been. And because they need someone rather immediately to manage their electronic internal infrastructure which is a mess due to rapid growth, they didn't and don't have time to adjust it and wait for a larger pool. Also the director of marketing, to whom I would have reported, is an amazing guy who likes to hire fresh young people and give them room to grow. I actually asked him if he had seen my resume and realized that I am 22 with no formal business experience. He laughed and replied: of course!

    I think those two factors came by chance. And that pushed me into the interview pile, especially the former. Obviously, I have a fabulous academic resume and an online portfolio to back it all up. But the hardest part is always getting your foot in the door. And I think chance pushed my foot in. My skills got the rest of me through.

    Anyway, I've decided to take the Fulbright and go to Germany. I have to face the wrath of my family (when I tell them) and future debt. But it's a risk. And someone very wise said that you don't get anywhere without taking risks. And so here goes.

    And thank you for all the advice you all have offered. It's been invaluable to have a third party opinion that isn't contaminated by predispositions from being an academic or too close to me.
  16. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    Good choice. When I was a bit younger than you I had a similar experience and I remember a family friend who is fluent in about 4 languages aside from English tell me that I should completely finish studying the languages first. I didn't listen and now I can only speak a weird pigeon of German.

    Good luck!
  17. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2004
    Congrats and best of luck! You apparently shown that you've a passion for teaching - and this seems like a step in that direction. Enjoy Germany!
  18. wimic macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    I went through a very similar type of episode last year. I graduated last May and couldn't decide what was best for me. I was in a similar situation (ie. work vs. further my education) and I found it helpful to try and answer the following questions for myself (as honestly as possible).

    1) Are there any other motives for wanting to pursue one of the options put before me? I decided that the only reason that I wanted to pursue furthering my eduction and getting my masters/PhD was to take advantage of my full potential. I've always been at the top of my class and I didn't want to let my family down by only pushing myself to half of my potential. I never actually liked going to school or studying, it was always just something that i was/am good at.

    2) Are there other things in my life that I would rather focus on than school? I decided that moving away and starting my life with my boyfriend was more important to me than staying in my hometown and plugging away at school for another 4 years.

    3) Which decision will help me get where I want to faster? If you're anything like me, you have this picture of where you want to be in 5 years time. I see myself as a homeowner, married and ready to have children. So starting my career was the choice that best suited my needs.

    Something valuable that I've learned over the past year (and after enduring what some like to call a 'quarter life crisis') is that once the part of your life that's set out for you (ie. going to school, making something of yourself) is completed and the world is set before you - it's difficult to try and make the "right" decisions. You almost have to just dive in and see where it takes you. There was never a question for me as to whether or not I was going to stay in school and work toward my degree - that, in itself, was a given. However when I was faced with the decision to move away and do something that I was a little less certain of I started to doubt myself. It's a very scary feeling. I can totally relate.

    As far as your individual situation goes, I'd suggest that you take the job opportunity. If it's something that you're interested in and can see yourself enjoying - it seems that at this stage, you'd be missing out on more by passing it up than by delaying your grad studies. Afterall - universities will always be there and you can always go back to school.

    Hope this helps!

    - Wendy

    EDIT: I tend to not read other people's suggestions before I respond with my own. i just read that you've made your decision. Different strokes for different folks I guess :) Good luck with everything - I hope it all works out for you! :)
  19. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    Good choice. One rarely regrets following his heart.
  20. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    jnp congrats on making your decision. I know it was tough for you.

    To be honest, I am glad to see that you made this choice and I think you will too. Sure your family will give you some grief, but they will get over it in time. Just realize that this is normal and take it all in stride.

    Follow your dreams/passions. That is what makes life fun. :)
  21. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2005
    Manchester UK
    I know I'm a bit late to the party but I would have said go to Germany. You are just starting your career and I think this is the best time to go and do something a bit risky. If it turns out to be absolutely amazing then you will be really really glad you didn't wait. If you don't like it you have the rest of your life and your career ahead of you, this little bit of a mistake at the beginning won't make much of a difference.

    I graduated from university last year (computer science) and I went straight into a job. I really like the work environment and I am a respected individual with responsibility at my company. I have no problem getting up in the morning and going to work. I thought about doing further study but I thought that the things I wanted to achieve I could do so in work. You are the person who knows best what you want to achieve, and so if you say you want to go to Germany then I wouldn't argue with you.

    Good Luck.. or as the germans say, Guten... erm... Good Luck anyway
  22. kitki83 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I kind of had similar situation as you twice when I was finishing college. First were when I was looking for internships, I was offered two positions, one at very big and I mean BIG AD agency which MR we seeing their stuff daily (hint) and the second is Spanish Language TV Network. Both fit what I wanted to do and both called me within 30 minutes of each other for interview. My interview where on the same week and I got accepted to both places on Friday. I straight went with TV Network, just because I felt it would help me grow not just in design but being a designer. Money was very tight but if I invest here then I would get more back instead of the other place. I never regret what I made in choices, I did so many things, Mayor Debates (saw Los Angeles Mayor former and current in person), been to VIP concerts and done production. I did more and also meet good people who gave me advice and helped me a lot. Through this internship, I was asked to stay longer even though I graduated from college; I thought summer of fun with friends or full time low pay job. I was like this job was fun so I did stay the summer and had a blast. Then they offered me a job at another department where I got to do even more stuff than what I can imagine.

    Ok enough of me; what I want to say is think of this what can fulfill you the most in experience (not monetary), what offers you more than just a paying job and a title. Also remember what makes you think in Germany you wont be offered something good. Anyway remember this you have 60 years of life ahead of you no matter what you are going to be changing jobs, do right now what you like and it seems at the moment teaching fulfills you then go what you want to do.

    Plus working for big companies, don’t let the name get to you see as what can they offer me.
  23. jng thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    They say Viel Glück! :D

    Right. That's why it was perfect. The subsidiary is relatively small (<300 employees). But the parent company after an upcoming M&A this year will be I think the 7th largest financial institution in the world.

    So it was perfect, a small close-knit company with the global resources of a large corporation.

    As for what they could do for me. It was a management type role and I'm 22, so that's lots!


    I'm a lot happier too having simply decided. And I spoke with the company this morning. They understood my decision.

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