Job offers - need your opinion?

Subject: Job offers - need your opinion?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Techwriter List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "V. David" <apv -dot- david -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 08:32:36 -0400

V. David wondered: <<I need your help deciding on two job offers.>>

Both jobs sound attractive, so what it comes down to is what you want
to do now, what you want to be doing in the future, and how the job
you choose connects those two dots. The job you want _now_ is one
that will compensate you fairly, but more importantly, one that will
be interesting to you now and that will not close any doors for the
future. (A couple times in my career, I've taken a pay cut to pursue
work that ended up being far more interesting and in the end, far
more lucrative. Haven't regretted it for a moment.)

That being the case, let's look at the two jobs:

<<Job 1: global tech serivces co, working with DITA and SGML writing
about SOA enterprise e-commerce applications, will be working with
remote teams in India & China. This is a contract for a year, and I
will be incorporating. There is a possibility of an extension, but
not likely to become a permanent position.>>

The key words here are "global", DITA, and SGML: all three are hot
topics, and the two latter both provide an easy bridge to XML, which
is also increasingly important. This means that you'll have serious
resume credibility at the end of the contract, so even if it isn't
renewed, you'll be a hot commodity and have an easier time finding
work. Don't let the word "contract" scare you off; contracts
sometimes turn into long-term work, and a growing company that likes
your work will often keep coming back for more. Much easier for them
than taking a risk on someone new.

In addition, my experiences with colleagues in China and India have
all been very pleasant and a real learning experience. Both are
rising global powers, and your contacts in both countries will stand
you in good stead in the future if you spend some time learning about
the local cultures and making friends, not just sources of money.
Personal relationships are very important in both countries, and once
you're part of the network, many doors open. And increasingly many
Western companies want to work in or with India and China, so your
experience there will also open many doors.

<<Job 2: global financial co, using Madcap Flare, Framemaker, Adobe
CS3, writing about web-based apps in .NET, will convert to SOA in the
future, SMEs will be across the room. The position is full-time
permanent, with the usual benefits - stock discount, pension, tuition
reimbursement, medical and dental.>>

Financial work makes my eyes glaze over, particularly because the
companies are often atherosclerotic dinosaurs with paralyzing
bureaucracies. But not all are, and if you got a good feel for the
workplace culture and didn't run screaming, it's a great place to
start: all the software you cite is popular nowadays, and looks good
on a resume. The tuition reimbursement is a particularly nice benefit
because it means that you should be able to choose a future path that
lets you explore your own interests in a way that will also benefit
your current employer, but give you skills you can take with you when
you leave.

Never forget that there's no such thing as a "permanent" position
these days (if there ever was), and this means you'll always be free
to go elsewhere when you've run out of challenges at the current
workplace. But if you like the environment and perform well, the
career path can be significant; a politically astute techwhirler
who's willing to learn how business works can migrate slowly up the
organization chart into management roles, or enjoy comfortable
obscurity at the bottom, depending on your tastes.

You noted that compensation is similar, so that's not an issue. If
none of the above criteria convince you one way or the other, follow
your heart: pick the job you feel you'll be most passionate about
RIGHT NOW. Who knows what you'll want to be doing in the future? So
pick something that satisfies you now. Neither job seems likely to
narrow your future options, so that's not a serious concern.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Job offers - need your opinion: From: V. David

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