PDA

View Full Version : I have 10 days to make the biggest decision of my life



DavidP
11-19-2008, 01:26 PM
Hopefully the title caught your attention :)

In essence it's true: I have 10 days to make the most important decision of my life (at least up until this point in my life).

The choices:

(1) Accept a job offer from the company with which I interned over the summer. The pay is very competitive and there are excellent benefits. The job would move me to a city which I really enjoyed living in, and I have many good friends there. The job itself would allow me to do software development. It would be fun, and I would be working with great people, but it might not let me pursue my dream directly.

(2) Reject the job offer and hope that I get accepted to graduate school (currently planning on doing a Masters in Computer Science). The schools to which I am currently applying are: BYU, University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech. Other schools which I am considering include: Texas A&M and University of Utah. The school in which I am most interested in is: BYU. The reason I say hope that I get into grad school is because there is no way I can get acceptance/rejection letters from these institutions within the next 10 days (my job offer expires on December 1st). Doing grad school would certainly put at a lower economic situation (for about 3 years or so), but I would have a higher chance of directly pursuing my dream. Also...let's face it...there's more cute and marriageable girls on a college campus than in a workplace :)

Well....let me know what you think.

sean
11-19-2008, 01:33 PM
As possibly your only fellow BYU-student who's active on this site - may I offer one piece of advice? Don't marry a girl you meet at BYU. That is soo cliche. And most certainly do not propose on Temple Square.

Honestly - if I was you, I would take the job. Where is the town anyway? You could always come back to graduate school after a few years - I would think it makes you much more attractive to grad-school recruiters. You could save up some money for school, pursue some other self-education interests - if that's your thing.

Perhaps a few details on your real dream might help us offer advice on how best to get there...

DavidP
11-19-2008, 01:37 PM
Well the "real dream" just includes a desire to really help out the world for good in a significant way.

I figure if I go to grad school and do research I would have a better chance at that than if I went into the work force. There are 2 main things I am interested in researching:

(1) Artificial intelligence and robotics. Cool stuff.
(2) Bioinformatics. More specifically: researching the signal running through the optical nerve and figure out how the data is being sent from the eye to the brain.

bling
11-19-2008, 02:07 PM
i think you're probably a rare breed...everyone at my school was sick of it (myself included) and just wanted to get out there and work.

as with any question like this, it's hard for anyone to give you any suggestion because we're not you. for example, i'd take the job in a heartbeat because i just hate the thought of going back to school, and hate the thought of having student loans again even more.

anyways, i think taking the job and reevaluating is best, because you have a sure-thing of the job, but it's not a sure thing you're accepted to the schools.

Akkernight
11-19-2008, 02:11 PM
The job then school ;) But if you want more to go to school and have good luck, then go to school :P
But, unless you expect to die soon, I'd say the job then school is the right choice ;)

CornedBee
11-19-2008, 03:23 PM
there's more cute and marriageable girls on a college campus than in a workplace
Your sex appeal is higher if you're a "working man" ;)

I don't know how it works over the pond, but where I live work contracts typically have an initial "trial time". Within this time (typically two months) either side may terminate the contract without warning or reason. So I'd say take the job, and if you get an acceptance within two months, you can still bail out if you really want to.




Meanwhile, I'm over here, laughing at you with my fun part-time job right next to university :p

SlyMaelstrom
11-19-2008, 03:30 PM
I selected the first answer, however, I'm kind of in between the first and second answer... I just didn't like how the second answer was worded. Going to work for one or two years and then quitting to go to grad school does not sound like a great idea. Secondly, I know many people that pursue their Masters at very good schools while working. It just takes significantly longer (probably 6 years or so to get the Masters) but it's worth it if you can manage the busy life style. Now only will you have a Masters degree, but you'll have much more work experience under your belt and you'll probably be getting paid much better with better benefits than you were four years earlier. On top of all that, there is a good chance that any company you work for will subsidize your school costs while you're working there. The only negative is the restriction that you'll have to go to school somewhere near where you work.

To your other point... I think you should probably hold off on the "marriageable girls" while your trying to juggle school and work. You're young... and from what I've experience with women, for short term relationships they're more interested in a guy with a Bachelors and a great job than a guy pursuing his Masters.

zacs7
11-19-2008, 04:07 PM
Can you do both?

ie, take the job and do your masters part time? :D

DavidP
11-19-2008, 04:24 PM
I've thought about doing the Master's degree part time, and in fact the company does have a program for tuition reimbursement. However, if I do a Master's degree I would rather do it full time. I don't want to have to worry about a full time job and school at the same time.

I wouldn't mind as much, however, full time school and a part time job (heck i am doing that right now as it is).

Just the idea of night classes doesn't appeal to me too much, especially after a long day of work when I know I will be wanting to go home and do some other activities.

That's why I chose to say either grad school now, grad school after 1-2 years of work, or no grad school.

Daved
11-19-2008, 04:49 PM
I think you should decline the job offer.

If you feel you are a good programmer that can get a job somewhere if you really need to, then it's ok not to take this good opportunity now.

If you get accepted to grad school then great! Chances are when you are done you will have a similar ability to get a good job as you do now.

If you don't get accepted, is there a possibility your company will want to hire you even though you declined the initial offer? When you decline, I'd say that it's an excellent opportunity but you're planning on going to graduate school so you have to decline. If grad school doesn't work out (or even if it does) you can always go back and say that you are looking for work again and if they still want you you'd be interested in applying again (or accepting).

I just feel like there will always be jobs if you're good at what you do, but if you start working it will be harder to go back to school and follow your "dream".

Either choice will be a good one, so whatever you do don't have any regrets.

zacs7
11-19-2008, 06:12 PM
If the contract doesn't specify you have to stay there...

Take the job, if you get into grad school then quit :-). Although that probably means you won't be able to use them on your CV... they'll probably hate you.

SlyMaelstrom
11-19-2008, 07:14 PM
If the contract doesn't specify you have to stay there...

Take the job, if you get into grad school then quit :-). Although that probably means you won't be able to use them on your CV... they'll probably hate you.Where do you people work that quitting for school or another job automatically makes them "hate you?" This is the second time I've read this concept on a thread in this forum and I find it ridiculous. People leave jobs all the time to better themselves either with a better job or school. It's not offensive to the employer and any sensible manager would wish you the best and certainly give you a good recommendation if you did good work for them.


I just feel like there will always be jobs if you're good at what you do,That's unfortunately not always the case. With the job market becoming more and more international, it has been becoming increasingly competitive. Not in the aspect of skill, either, but the aspect of how cheap one is willing to perform their skill. The simple fact that we live in a country where the cost of living is double or triple that of a rival nation with just as competent employees puts us at a disadvantage. Certainly there is a level of skill which will always get you a job... but how confident can you ask someone to be that they can believe they're better than a large majority of the market? Also, how far are companies willing to sacrifice efficiency in order to save money? These days a very good job offer is a tough thing to pass up... especially in the Computer Science field.

Now... David was somewhat vague on how good of an opportunity this job is. I believe, however, if he thinks he has a great potential for advancement and making contacts, then grad school can be pushed off until he feels comfortable with his schedule.

That's just my two cents.

sean
11-19-2008, 07:35 PM
Where do you people work that quitting for school or another job automatically makes them "hate you?"

In most cases, I agree - but I believe they were suggesting that he accept the job just to make the deadline, and then change his mind as soon as he gets accepted to grad school. Which is basically forcing them to extend the deadline, and making them tell any other prospective employees, "we have already hired someone". If he hadn't interned for them, and depending on the timing - they may also invest in training him, only to lose him.

edit: basically - if I was the company - I'd be annoyed if you interfered with other hiring decisions, or if you wasted our time. Whether or not that plan might actually do that - I don't know.

SlyMaelstrom
11-19-2008, 08:01 PM
In most cases, I agree - but I believe they were suggesting that he accept the job just to make the deadline, and then change his mind as soon as he gets accepted to grad school. Which is basically forcing them to extend the deadline, and making them tell any other prospective employees, "we have already hired someone". If he hadn't interned for them, and depending on the timing - they may also invest in training him, only to lose him.

edit: basically - if I was the company - I'd be annoyed if you interfered with other hiring decisions, or if you wasted our time. Whether or not that plan might actually do that - I don't know.I agree with that. I suppose that was implied in this case, I just took it a bit stronger being the second time I've seen it suggested.

master5001
11-19-2008, 08:38 PM
Become a combination African Safari master / archaeologist who programs C in his spare time.

Do not tempt fate and give me such options. Take the job my friend. A job is more important than school in many ways. I do not have a degree in either CS or IT and have done both during my career (and am now in school to become a psychiatrist--go figure).

So in my humble experience, work experience is exponentially more important.

kermi3
11-19-2008, 08:43 PM
David - I'm in the exact same spot as you a couple years down the line. I had to choose between my career or grad school for a PhD in a related field. I chose the field. I've been teaching for about 2 years now, and I'm very glad I did. I've learned so much about the real world - and I continue to do so. I'm in the process of doing the grad apps now, hoping I get in, but the job has allowed me to save up a lot of $$ and to be selective about my grad schools - I have a good job, if I don't get in, I can reapply next year and still have a job.

I don't think I was ready to have a realistic idea of my field and how to without some real field work.

That being said, I have been very clear with my employer about it from the beginning. They've known my intentions since day1 - I haven't advertised it everywhere, but word gets around and I told my superiors directly upfront...Everyone knows now - including clients (ugg). That being said, it's been great to be honest. It's going to be a bit strange if our annual contracts come out before I've heard back from graduate programs, but the honesty is going to give me the space to tell them what's going on. I'm basically going to tell them "If you want me, wait for the apps to come back, if you don't want to wait, replace me." I'm banking on my time and hard work will get them to wait...I think they will - if not, I'll deal and maybe even have time to moderate!

zacs7
11-19-2008, 08:45 PM
> I suppose that was implied in this case, I just took it a bit stronger being the second time I've seen it suggested.
And I did mean it "in this case". If they've spent money training him, and with the internship blah blah. That's like getting a big chocolate cake, to find it it's made out of carob :(

master5001
11-19-2008, 08:47 PM
David - I'm in the exact same spot as you a couple years down the line. I had to choose between my career or grad school for a PhD in a related field. I chose the field. I've been teaching for about 2 years now, and I'm very glad I did. I've learned so much about the real world - and I continue to do so. I'm in the process of doing the grad apps now, hoping I get in, but the job has allowed me to save up a lot of $$ and to be selective about my grad schools - I have a good job, if I don't get in, I can reapply next year and still have a job.

I don't think I was ready to have a realistic idea of my field and how to without some real field work.

That being said, I have been very clear with my employer about it from the beginning. They've known my intentions since day1 - I haven't advertised it everywhere, but word gets around and I told my superiors directly upfront...Everyone knows now - including clients (ugg). That being said, it's been great to be honest. It's going to be a bit strange if our annual contracts come out before I've heard back from graduate programs, but the honesty is going to give me the space to tell them what's going on. I'm basically going to tell them "If you want me, wait for the apps to come back, if you don't want to wait, replace me." I'm banking on my time and hard work will get them to wait...I think they will - if not, I'll deal.

See what I mean. Again, I do similar jobs to any one else here with no formal education in the field. I personally have only experience (and a lot of it). It affords you more lattitude when you do wish to study, that is for sure. Schools actually even like having an accomplished software engineer to become part of their alumni (it makes it seem as if they were a part of that).

kermi3
11-19-2008, 08:49 PM
Yea - everyone in academia I've talked to thinks that my real world experience is going to really bolster my app...plus I've learned so much about working with clients and, just as importantly, other people in the workplace.

master5001
11-19-2008, 08:52 PM
DavidP, I don't normally do this: but feel free to steal the code from my signature and use it for the job interview. No, no. I insist.

zacs7
11-19-2008, 08:56 PM
There's no copyright on it... so I'm sure it's already in George2's book =)

kermi3, are you saying tell them your intentions is the best thing to do? Because it worked for me surprisingly good! Got a job, tonsillitis and exams at the same time. Now due to a scholarship I might not be working there for very long... oops.

kermi3
11-19-2008, 09:03 PM
I'm saying honesty is very important to me. We're on annual contracts, but when they hired me, they put someone else out of my job to put me in it. I wasn't going to let that happen without being honest that I might not be around for more than a couple years (I didn't know it, but he actually wanted out so no biggie.) When we had a new boss come in this year, she did interviews to get to know us. When she asked my long term goals, I said "Graduate school - PhD." She asked if it was a degree I could do part time, I said No.

Since then, my being honest and upfront with her has been recipicated several times. It really paid off in starting my relationship with her. It was a really good place to start. They like me, they like the work I do. They don't want me to go, but the solid relationship ensures that they also want what's best for me, appriciate me, and treat me fairly and respectfully.

I'm not advertising it to the world, because it does lead to some strange conversations, but if anyone asks, I'm not lying or misleading. I want my students to be completely honest. Shouldn't I model that behavior?

zacs7
11-19-2008, 09:14 PM
> I want my students to be completely honest. Shouldn't I model that behavior?
Yes! Honesty has got me many things :). It almost feels like cheating when it works out great.

sean
11-19-2008, 09:27 PM
Amen to Kermi! When I interviewed for my current job the ad said, "longevity preferred" and I told them in the interview "You can for sure count on me for longevity!" At the time - I had every intention of staying for a long time. As time went on, I told them I was even more committed because the job changed and became even better for me.

Then one day I suddenly noticed a lot of things I didn't like about my current setup - and I spent several days spending every spare moment looking at alternatives and thing like that. So I went to my boss and said, "look - I know I promised longevity, but this-thing and that-thing changed, and now I'm kinda looking at making some big changes" and we talked about my options at the company.

I thought that my mere mentioning the possibility of leaving would infuriate them, but I think because I was so honest about my motives they reacted well. They told me that if I really wasn't happy where I was- that I should make some changes - they even recommended some other places to go! THey also said that if I want to stay but focus more on work they're offer me a full-time position, and remove my student-employee status so I could get benefits and everything.

I ended up deciding to stay and just change my major and a few other details - but my boss and I definitely have more respect going - just because he knows more about why I'm there - and I know more about how much he's willing to help me out.

cpjust
11-19-2008, 09:39 PM
My answer depends on certain factors.
If you have tons of money, go to grad school, you obviously don't need the job to pay the bills.
Otherwise, take the job.

I don't even have a Bachelors and I'm making tons of money. Now the only problem is, trying to get a degree & work at the same time is nearly impossible (at least for me); and I don't really feel like going to school full time, burn up my savings & make no income for a couple years, especially with the state of the economy...

sean
11-19-2008, 09:47 PM
cpjust makes me think of another thing:

Nothing against the CS program at BYU - but I think they'd have a much higher-quality CS program if more good programmers stayed in the program longer. It seems to me that a lot of the really good ones leave to pursue jobs before they graduate, just because they already can. I know of at least a couple that left where I work... So if you're looking the change the world - I think a good programmer with some real-world experience going through the grad-program could make a difference to the quality of the program, however small. I've found a lot of the professors there are lacking in that department...

DavidP
11-19-2008, 10:09 PM
kermi3, thanks for the thoughts. They were insightful and definitely help out in making my decision. Thanks a lot.


posted by sean:


I've found a lot of the professors there are lacking in that department...


I'd have to disagree about BYU's CS department, personally. I don't think I have ever had a bad CS professor (although I did have a Chinese guy once who was slightly hard to understand because he had a really strong accent). I also don't know any other CS students who have left school early before getting their bachelors degree to pursue careers (although I know that was extremely common in the era before the .com bust, or so I have heard). Now...if you were to say the same thing about the professors in BYU's math department, then I would agree :)




Now... David was somewhat vague on how good of an opportunity this job is. I believe, however, if he thinks he has a great potential for advancement and making contacts, then grad school can be pushed off until he feels comfortable with his schedule.


True, I was somewhat vague about the job opportunity as a whole. :) kind of on purpose.

sean
11-19-2008, 10:19 PM
I'd have to disagree about BYU's CS department

But then again - I am only in 142. I had better change that to "I've HEARD that..."

Daved
11-20-2008, 12:17 PM
SlyMaelstrom and kermi3 make good points.

The thing that gets me though is that you describe the grad school route as the path to your "dream". I'd prefer to reach for your dream and if it doesn't work out then adjust your plan then (assuming you have lots of options which I think is the case here). If you were already accepted or were very confident that you'd be accepted then I'd say this is a no-brainer and you should go to grad school to pursue your dream.

Since that's not the case, then going to work and being honest that you might want to go to grad school in a couple years is a perfectly acceptable compromise, IMO.

Again, either way you'll be fine.

DavidP
12-03-2008, 11:52 PM
*bump*

Sorry for bumping the thread, I just thought I'd tell everyone the result of my decision.

I took the job offer.

I am still hoping to go to grad school. I am not sure when, where, or how that will happen, but I will definitely do it. It just felt right to take the job offer at this point in my life.

SlyMaelstrom
12-04-2008, 12:03 AM
*bump*

Sorry for bumping the thread, I just thought I'd tell everyone the result of my decision.

I took the job offer.

I am still hoping to go to grad school. I am not sure when, where, or how that will happen, but I will definitely do it. It just felt right to take the job offer at this point in my life.You took the job?

Dude... we were being sarcastic.


Hehe, I hope it works out for you. I would have taken the same route.

jwenting
12-04-2008, 12:20 AM
you took the job of African safari guide? Great decision! :)

Mario F.
12-04-2008, 12:39 PM
I am still hoping to go to grad school. I am not sure when, where, or how that will happen, but I will definitely do it. It just felt right to take the job offer at this point in my life.

Dammit!
Sorry for only seeing this now. Been a tad busy the weeks.

Too late I guess, but my advise would have been school now, work later. A good job opportunity today doesn't mean good job opportunities for the rest of your career. A degree, and hopefully a masters would ensure not necessarily good job opportunities, but would push your salary opportunities, your general knowledge and open up more career options.

"We will see later" or "I'll resume the studies later" is fine on paper or when seen a priori. Problem is you have no way of knowing if it will indeed happen. Life may throw you in the pond faster than you can hold your breath. I know it has me, and all of a sudden you find all your plans ruined and having to stick to what guns you might have at that point. Not necessarily the end of the world -- other opportunities might arise (again, they did to me too). However, not as you planned for yourself, and not probably as good as they would have been otherwise.

My fear is you end up not pursuing your studies. Especially in these days where such a prospect is indeed much harder. In my time, when I quit my studies in favor of an also excllent job opportunity in Alcatel, I could afford the decision. knowing such things as BASIC, Clipper, Dbase and Pascal already made a space scientist of you. Today is not like that at all; Programmers are not rockstars anymore, there's heaps of them and the market can affor to select only the best for those jobs that would really make a difference.

...

Alcatel is long gone. Just as I didn't realize then, no job lasts forever. And when it was gone I was able to slowly build up my career basing myself on my working experience and study of new programming languages. As other programming languages start to appear or become mainstream I struggled to keep up. Because I didn't have the basis, the marrow that would allow me to speed up my learning process, I eventually started falling behind. Meanwhile, as new job opportunities arised and I was able to take hold of them, I also started to realize (starting in the mid 90s) my lack of a degree was affecting my wages. Same work, less pay.

Maybe your experience will be different in years to come. Maybe you can indeed pursue your studies later. I'd hope so. But I'm afraid -- sorry for the bluntness -- I highly doubt you will.

Your studies will dictate your career, these days more than ever before. The easy path is oftentimes the wrong path.

EDIT: How rude of me. Was forgetting this: In any case, all the best!

twomers
12-05-2008, 12:31 PM
I skipped most of the replies. You could accept the job and apply for grad school anyway. You could always quit the job and go to grad school. I just started 'grad school'[1] a few months back and am lovin' it so far.

[1] We don't really do it the way Americans do it[2], but it's the same idea.
[2] I assume you're American... or were attending an American university.

PS A big danger is that you'll like earning money and won't come back.