Last Tuesday night (morning?) I stayed up until 4am. No, I wasn’t working on an assignment due the next morning; and no, I wasn’t screwing around when I could have been sleeping. Instead, I was staring at my laptop screen trying to craft a tactful email explaining why I was turning down my first full-time job offer.
What the hell was I thinking, you ask?
I spent my summer in Colorado because I had a software engineering internship that allowed me to pursue a career path I fell in love with and experience living outside California (largely at the company’s expense) for two and a half months. I worked on a project I was passionate about, and didn’t mind working early mornings and late nights as my presentation date came closer. I appreciated the work-life balance Coloradans had, and how I bonded with people over hiking instead of coffee dates (how many Californians can say that?). I left Colorado with fond memories and friends with whom I still keep in touch.
Over the course of my internship my manager and director never mentioned full-time offers or prospects of my return to the company. Thus, I was surprised when I received a call from the university relations recruiter in mid-September telling me my director wanted me to go back after I graduated. While indulging in the outdoors and building sincere relationships were great for the summer, packing up and relocating to the Denver Tech Center was a decision I couldn’t make in one phone conversation. She gave me two weeks to decide, and I thought long and hard about the pros and cons.
My main dilemma was that I was lined up for interviews the same week my offer was expiring. Even if I had passed my first-round interviews at other companies with flying colors (which I didn’t), I still wouldn’t grasp another tangible offer in time to weigh my options. As a result, I was up at 4am October 1st reevaluating if I was ready to let go of the only job offer I had (at the time).
I was scared. And anxious. And worried. I was afraid I was limiting myself because I didn’t want to be too far from home for too long, and the idea of starting over in a new state was terrifying. I couldn’t guarantee if, when, and from where my next job offer was coming; or if my next opportunity would allow me to pursue my interests as much as my past internship allowed me. I was literally giving up the closest sense of stability of my post-graduation plans.
My parents believed this would be the first of many job offers and that I shouldn’t be quick to jump the gun at my first offer (sometimes I swear they have too much confidence in me), especially since this particular offer was keeping me up at night. While I eventually heeded their advice, I realized this was the first of many difficult decisions I’ll have to make in shaping my future. The real world poses almost too many possibilities, that it’s almost impossible to know where I’ll be a year from now. However, unlike my freshman year, I’m not [as] afraid anymore.