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How to choose between more than one job or course offer

This article has been amended from Episode 75 of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast. If you'd prefer to listen to it then you can here. You can also watch it on YouTube here.

Today on the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast, we are looking at how you weigh up which job offer or course offer to accept. If you are in the position where you have one or more to choose from, I'm guiding you through my top tips and stay right to the end to get all of them. Hope you find it useful.

Welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist Blog. I am Dr. Marianne Trent and I'm a qualified clinical psychologist. If you're reading this when it's freshly available, you will now know that it is mid May and we are approaching the end of the interview season for the doctorate in clinical psychology. A date to remember is the 9th of June. A time to remember is specifically 2:00 PM on the 9th of June. If you are in the position where you have any offers or doctorate in clinical psychology places, that is the time that you must have accepted your offer. I presume if you haven't, it will be automatically cancelled and your place will be offered to somebody else. So that is most definitely something to be aware of. Now, sometimes people will leave it until the last day cuz they're trying to decide what is gonna be the best fit for them.

And of course this crops up in other areas of psychology as well. Sometimes you might well be in the position where you have more than one job offer and you are trying to decide which is going to be a bit of you. So today's episode is all about that. How do you choose between two job offers? So last week was thinking about should you still could you, might you, would you still go to interviews if you already had a job offer? So if that's what you're looking for, you might well find that a useful, listen, that's episode 74, but today is, you know, you've done well, you've smashed it out the part you've got at least two job offers or course offers to, to mull over. Okay? So let's guide you through this with what I'm thinking is likely to be six key topic areas to consider.

But you know me, there may always be a few more. Come along to the Aspiring Psychologist community free group on Facebook where we can talk about this and a whole lot more too, okay, so consideration number one is going to probably be more relevant if these are job offers rather than course offers. But if it's for example, a master's course that you're trying to weigh up against each other, this might well still be relevant for you as well. So it's weighing up the job offers in terms of the job description, in terms of the salary, in terms of you know, what it is that's being offered to you and the opportunities that will crop up within that.

Where's the location? What are the job hours? What's expected of you? And is that something that you want to consider? So very important factors to consider. And of course when we spoke about similar, similar issues last week, we're thinking about, well what's the approach? If you've got dependents or if you care for somebody, you know, how inclusive is the employer in that regard? How much does it look after your needs? Point number two is all about company culture. Now that might well be the employing trust if you are you know, looking for assistant work or training course in, you know, psychological wellbeing practitioner or something like that. Or it might be the employer of a private organisation for a relevant role in in the career path to becoming a qualified psychologist. Or it might be a course, it might be a course in counselling psychology, doctorate, it might be clinical psychology doctorate.

What is the university like? What is the employing trust like? Because there's of course those two aspects. Is it a good fit for you? What do the values of that trust or organisation say about them? Do they feel like a good fit for you? What are the interesting things I did recently was look at the clearinghouse website for how different clinical doctorates talked about themselves. And some of them to me felt a bit oppressive. It felt like really heavy handed and exact and precise. And the ones that for me were a bit more free flowing and a bit more, you know, trusting you not to need to know every single detail of what's gonna be taught and instead just giving you the themes of what will be taught. For me, that would be more a bit of what I wanted rather than, yeah, giving me every single breakdown point of each lecture I'd ever attend. That's too much for me. Of course, that's going a bit OTT, they're not gonna list every single lecture, but certainly all the themes and all of the module titles and things were included. And for me that was a little bit much I would rather know about how they treat their trainees or how they treat their staff and what they're hoping I'm gonna learn and what, you know, why I should pick them. You know, what is it about them that they feel is unique and special and that they do really well. That's the kind of things that I'd be wanting to weigh up. And of course now is the time for thinking about what others who've gone before say about the employer, say about the course, say about the university itself. Say about, you know, the department you're gonna be working in. You know, do you know anyone? Is there anyone on LinkedIn that you might know who might already have had some experience with this particular and specific offer that you've been made? And it can be a really good idea to check out the alternative handbook as well to see what people have said about it if it is a course. But that said, of course people do have different experiences, so you are allowed to still make a choice even though someone has told you that it wasn't a good fit for them. And sometimes because it can be really competitive, sometimes we choose to do something that we think might be a little bit tricky because we feel that this is our chance to move on forwards in our career. This is our chance to get our first assistant psychologist interview for example. And so you might still choose to make a decision, which feels like it may not be the wisest most forever permanent choice, but I'd say when it comes to choosing a doctoral course that it really should feel as right and like as bit like, and like it's a bit of you as much as possible.

So point 3 to consider is all about career growth. So if it's a qualified role, then is there, you know, potentially a preceptor ship opportunity to take you from Band seven to Band eight and beyond. Is there potential to go from band four assistant to band five assistant? Have there been or could there be opportunities for you to, to do a specific type of training during that course or that role? Might it offer the opportunity to do some research within that job role so that you are learning more and getting more to add on your CV as well. If it's a course, do they teach specific modalities which are going to be really useful for you in terms of going forward in your career after you qualify? Might also at this stage be useful to look at what previous people have done as a result of having done this job or completed this course. Where have they gone to? Where have they flown their wings? What areas do they work in? Again, this can be a really useful time to check out LinkedIn. If you're not already connected with me on LinkedIn, do come on over. I'm Dr. Marianne Trent.

So, point 4 is especially important if you are going to be on a doctorate course for three years. And this is about distance, this is about commute. Not everybody can practically afford to or literally afford

to pack up their old troubles in their old kit bag and move off to their university town for three years.

I did, I did because I was foot loose and fancy free. But there's many reasons why you might not do that. You might have parents who need your support. Parents here maybe are not well, you may have children who are already in schools and you don't want to rock their boats so much. There'll be a variety of reasons. Maybe you already and you really love your home and your environment and you know that your friends and your networks around you are really gonna be a strong supportive factor for you. Protective factors as we talk about in psychology. And so it might be that you are going to be commuting and of course it's, it's useful to know that that might affect how you bond and how you share time with your cohort. So there were a couple of people that did commute in our cohort and it meant that quite often they didn't come to the after university pub gatherings because they had to get back and that did affect their university experience.

So for me, I was able to be, you know, more going with the flow and you know, walking to uni on the days when I wanted to be perhaps having a little, a little tipple after uni. There are factors to consider, but sometimes people do make it work with you know, Airbnbs or actually a B&B and you know, staying over a few nights a week so that they can immerse themselves in university and the studying and the requirements of the course whilst still benefiting from their home and their family life four days or four nights a week. So it's got to feel right for you. It's got to be tenable for you and your family because we don't want you to burn out and if you've got, you know, two hours commute each way, plus you might end up on a placement that is like an hour outside of where you live already, which might mean you've got three hours each way, that's gonna be tricky.

So they're definitely factors you'll need to consider. So if it is a course offer you're trying to weigh up, it can be useful to consider or maybe even ask the courses, what are their areas for placement. So I'm aware that you know, for example, Solent NHS, which covers the Southampton course, the Isle of Wight of course is a place that needs mental health provision. And so it might well be that you end up you know, with that as your catchment. And so you might find yourself having to take the ferry across to the isle of Wight maybe a few of your placements. And so you'll need to factor that in to your decision making as well. Now, you know, there are very much more, less beautiful places that you could be about to consider living and moving to and having spent a couple of holidays in that neck of the Woods, it is stunning.

It is sensational. And one of my good friends her family home is in the Isle of Wight and she sends me the most wonderful videos and photos and sends me voice notes from there. And it sounds incredible. So it's not all factors to consider as disadvantages. You know, sometimes we can embrace this moving this relocation as something really special and unique, but of course along with the commute comes cost comes expense. I know that my car is a slightly older model. I drive a 10 year old car and there's many areas in the country where I can't go without paying additional pollution fees. And so it's, you know, thinking about how that might add up for you across a week across a month, across a year, across the whole time that you might be living there. And you know, how sustainable is, is that commuting cost going to be for you?

Factor five to consider is all about the work life balance. So if you are trying to weigh up opportunities for employment where actually some of the culture of the employing trust is that they promote home working, you know, flexible approaches perhaps you know, you live close enough that you can walk to work sometimes, you know that's gonna be advantageous. That was certainly the case when I was most recently employed that sometimes I was able to walk and that made such an incredible difference. Not all the time, life's not always that kind to us, but you know, for the work life balance it was pretty incredible. And when it came to choosing between driving, you know, 26 miles each way during really heavy rush hour traffic and then being able to sometimes work from home, sometimes walk and generally be closer to where my family was even when I was in a base, that was a hard case to answer for.

So even though it was, it meant moving my discipline to adults from children I I moved job. And even though it meant moving from a substantive qualified paid permanent contract to moving to a fixed term contract for me it felt like it was worth it because the work-life balance benefits were going to be so brilliant for me and my family. Usually within courses you're probably going to have the same amount of annual leave because it would usually be pretty standard for band six NHS staff if you are employed. But there are different courses who do allow you to have some annual leave time within the teaching year and there are others who don't allow it at all. So if you know you've got, you know, family who are likely to, to schedule a wedding on a midweek day across your three years of training and that you'd really like to go, then it's might be just worth considering how flexible courses are about annual leave.

And again, that's something that you might be able to ascertain by speaking to previous trainees when weighing up job offers from private trusts or hospitals. And nhs, it's worth looking at their sickness benefits and their pension benefits and how many days annual leave you get, for example. And whether you get any additional perks. So when I was working for a large psychiatric hospital that was non nhs, they would give you a celebration day. That would mean that you would be able to get an additional days annual leave that you could choose to take on your birthday or your child's birthday or your anniversary someday that was important to you, which didn't count towards your annual leave allowance. And again, that same trust would give you, I think it was monetary value in your pay packet for every six months that you'd not had a day off sick for. I don't know if they still do that because potentially that might lead to contributing to burnout, but certainly at the time it was very useful. I think I used to get like an extra a hundred pounds or something for not having a sick day. And then of course I think if it got to a year, I then would be given I think additional day off as well. So it might be just worth looking at any individual or specific benefits that come about as part of that job offer or employment. And if you think you might want to become a parent during training, then it might be useful to think about what's gone before you. So of course it is a job, it is a fixed term contract for a doctorate in clinical psychology. And so they do have to treat you like any other staff. And there's maternity leave, paternity leave, all of that jazz. But what's gone before you have people tended to defer a year or drop back a year? What's gone before you, and again, chatting to previous trainees can be really useful in that regard. I don't know of any male caregivers who've decided to take shared parental leave whilst on training, but who knows, it might be a possibility if you have done that and you'd like to come and chat on the podcast or you know, somebody who has done that, please do get in contact because I'd love to chat with you. And last but not least, in our six point run through of choosing between two job offers is your gut trust, your gut feeling. How is it feeling to you? How did it feel to be part of the interview processes for both or all of these job offers or course offers that you are weighing up, which felt more aligned to you, who treated you in the way that you like to be treated or that you would prefer to be treated? What did it make you feel? What did it make you, you know, wonder? I think it can be really useful to think about what you were left with, what you felt in your body as you drove away from that interview, or if it was remote, what you felt in your body is you shut down your laptop and you went off to make a cup of tea. Did it leave you feeling uplifted, excited, hopeful? Did it leave you wanting to cry? <Laugh>? really useful communications and do not shut down your own ability to, to tap into your gut instinct because it can, it can be really important communications. You know, it is normal that you might feel completely exhausted after certainly a doctorate interview, especially if it's been going on for hours or days or if it meant that you had to do some element of prep beforehand. So exhaustion I think is normal, but if you felt exhilaration, you're tired, but exhilarated, that's important communication in itself as well. I think.

So I think in summary, you know, we're evaluating the job offers. We're looking at the company culture. We're looking at the career growth opportunities for you. We're looking at the commute and how it would impact on you and your life. We're looking at the work-life balance and we're looking at gut feeling. It's also important to know this might well be the right or wrong decision here. You get to choose, you know, what feels like it's going to give you the best chance of getting to the next stage of your career, whatever that might be.

So I hope you've found this useful. If you've got any questions or any ideas for future podcast episodes, get in contact with me.

If you enjoy this sort of approach, this sort of musing this sort of reflection, I think you might quite well enjoy the Aspiring Psychologist membership.
And if you are looking for ideas about which jobs to apply for, I think you'll really enjoy the Clinical Psychologist Collective and the Aspiring Psychologist collective books.

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