(Originally posted 11/17/2013)
I'm still getting some questions regarding bid leveling your job offers (see below of click here), So I've decided to provide an example. This is an example only and I didn't come up with this leveling sheet (although you should be glad that its author was willing to share it). This is a good template that you can put into Excel and customize to meet your own needs.
Let's start with the basic template:
This is set up for comparing job offers from three companies. You can easily add more columns if you get more job offers or differing offers from the same company (it's happened before). You'll notice that it contains many common items (salary, vacation time, medical/dental/vision, retirement, etc.). But it also contains rows to compare intangibles (culture, relocation, etc.). The whole point of this exercise is that your salary should not be the only item you use to determine your next job. Don't be short term greedy but long term miserable! You want to accept the offer that best balances finance and well being. All the money in the world is not worth it if you're a) miserable and/or b) too busy to spend it.
Now, let's look at a fictional example of a completed leveling sheet:
Keep in mind that this is just an example. But it shows that opening salary is not the only variable to look at. Particularly your 2014 salary. If you're reading this, there's a decent chance you won't even be full time in 2014 until you graduate in May. But that's why you need to evaluate other items (interning until May will likely improve your financial situation). Fore example, the salary plus bonus for Company 2 is much better that Company 1 ($62k vs. $56k). But living in San Jose is a lot more than Sacramento, so that increased salary is probably a wash. I cannot over emphasize that you need to look at the big picture. Do you like the people you work with? Do you like the career path they want from you (field vs. office; commercial vs. heavy-civil; GC vs. sub). Do you like the vibe? Go deep on your due diligence. If you love to travel, then maybe Company 2 is the only offer you entertain because it provides the most vacation time. If you have kids, maybe medical and the offer closest to the best school district matter most. Use the variables that work best for your lifestyle.
One last note: this process can be used for internships and positions AFTER your first full-time position. A lot of people talk to me questioning their current job trajectory. If your current job isn't satisfying you, refer back to this leveling sheet and use it to help you decide to move on or stay.
I know this makes a lot of you nervous, but try to have fun with it and stay relaxed. You're about to enter a very lucrative business. Happy job hunting!
I teach people who will be building our country's infrastructure.