You have two job offers. Which do you choose? You’re expecting a baby. Do you stay at the job, scale back or quit altogether? You’re unhappy in your current job. Do you move laterally, find a new employer, or change careers? You will make many career choices in your lifetime. A matrix of your priorities and your options is a useful decision-making tool:
In the above example, our decision-maker has two job options. Perhaps, she dreams of being a writer and gets one offer for an editorial assistant and one for a technical writer. The assistant job is closer to her desired career track and work environment. The technical job has higher compensation. This matrix provides a clear, visual interpretation of her tradeoffs.
The choice matrix is particularly useful when you are faced with many options and priorities. Decision-making calls forth a host of emotions – exhilaration, stress, confusion. In the midst of these competing emotions, it is easy to gloss over the bad points or to overestimate the benefits of each option. Creating the matrix forces you to define your priorities and to judge each option against each priority. You have a visible approach to weigh your options. You list your priorities so you don’t forget anything, and then you can make a choice based on what you most value.