How Tasty is Your Opportunity Pie?

When I talk to candidates about Potential Opportunities (yeah, Bolded and Big as that’s how I see it when I say it), I always ask them to examine all the different aspects. Taking a new role isn’t about just one slice of pie – it is about how they make the whole pie as a whole. Now, my local super market sells this giant cheesecake made of all different slices of cheesecake. In many ways, that is the kind of thing we are talking about here. Each one of these pieces are not just different sizes, they are different flavors – all delicious, but some of them have a lot more chocolate fudge than others!

All my percentages and what not are just my personal observations. In fact, I know they also reflect very heavily on what is important to me, personally, when I am evaluating an opportunity. However you slice your personal pie, I hope the examples listed here will help you when dealing with a candidate hung up on one slice— or help you when examining your next opportunity. Please, my peers, I beg of you: Comment, comment, comment. I feel like there are things I am missing, and my values are, well, my values. Tell me about yours. With that said, let’s look at each slice, in order of size.

1) How much will I enjoy the work? – 18%:

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.

– Bob Dylan

I think this sums up not only why this is the biggest slice, but why it really overshadows everything else. If you are not happy doing what you’re doing every day, the rest won’t really matter, will it? Yeah, as my wife Senda likes to say, “They call it work not super-duper happy fun time for a reason”. I always reply with, “Well, that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy your job!”

2) Culture – 16%:

You might be a landlord, you might even own banks, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody!

– Bob Dylan

From the intern to the C Level, we all have bosses. Even CEOs report to a board or shareholders. Does the company culture reflect YOU as a person? Is this someplace you can be happy? It flows like water right back into number 1. The work and the place you’re doing it must give you satisfaction. Chris O’Donnell talks about the “Politics of the Possible”. Well, nothing will ever be perfect but is it close enough to what you need to enjoy going in 5+ days a week, to a place where you spend more hours than the time you spend with your family?

3) Where will it put me in 2 years? – 15% & Internal Growth Potential – 15%:

He who isn’t being born is busy dying.

– Bob Dylan

What will I learn? Can I grow as a professional within my skill set during a 2 year period? Can I learn a new skill set? How will this opportunity make me more marketable? In fact, can I use what I learn to advance in the firm or will I have to call a recruiter? I gave these equal weight, but listed them on the same line, as they are so intertwined. You may learn skills that make you at your manager’s peer— but she is 29, stable and the CEO’s niece. You may learn nothing but have a clearly defined path that goes AVP-VP-Director but virtue of coming in every day and not doing something that ends with the board of directors being indicted. You know me., I’d rather learn but your mileage my vary…

4) Salary – 12%:

They never did like Mama’s homemade dress, Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough.

– Bob Dylan

This is the People’s Recruiter, so you know where I put money… I have no problem with making money, and my wife will tell you I have no problem with spending it, BUT it isn’t the most important factor in an opportunity. Is it a factor? Of course, silly. Being a left wing social anarchist (How’s that for a label?) doesn’t mean I have a problem with people being comfortable. But that is a whole other article on a different website, lol. A fair wage, commensurate with your skill set, ideally 3-6% higher than your last salary is what I suggest. Unless factors 1-3 say that a lateral move, or even taking less might be better in the Long Term. That’s why there are slices, not one big cake that says JOB.

5) Quality of Life AKA Home vs. Life – 8%:

It was just the other day, I was bringing home my pay, when I met an old friend I use to know.

– Bob Dylan

If you are working so hard, and working so much, that your family has become someone you used to know, then, well, I am really sorry for you. TS Elliot talks about putting faces on to meet the faces that we meet. To be more pedantic, there is Relationship George and Independent George:

You have to have a healthy balance. Will this new role allow it?

6) Benefits and Vacation – 5%:

It’s alright mama, I’m only bleeding!

– Bob Dylan

As long as they have them, it’s all good. There are degrees, of course… but on the whole, each industry is pretty standard, AFAIK. If you have special needs, this might go up in importance of course but on the whole? Take ‘em as they come, they tend to be non-negotiable.

7) Bonus and Options – 5%:

Money doesn’t talk, it swears.

– Bob Dylan

You should always be more concerned with your check, then the “Maybes”. What are bonuses and options except for Maybes?

8) Commute – 3%:

I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, I thought you knowed…

– Woody Guthrie (but Dylan did sing it)

Yeah, it sucks. But compared to the things above it, how important is it really?

9) Job Title – 3%:

But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked…

— Bob Dylan

I didn’t want to even put this on there…. But I know titles are important to people. IMNSHO, who cares what they call ya, as long as you are having fun. But, again, it’s my article and my perspective, so there!


Bottom line, the final countdown, is that you cannot take an opportunity for just one slice of the pie – you need to examine each piece and decide what its value is to you. Then, just to throw some craziness in to the mix, what if one slice is double chocolate fudge, with that chocolate lava filling that slowly leaks out on to the fresh raspberries next to the cake and the chocolate is fair trade Peruvian and….

Well, that throws it all out of whack. In that case… make your own pie chart!

If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself.

– (you guessed it… – Ed.) Bob Dylan

By Jeffrey Newman

Jeff Newman a.k.a. The People's Recruiter, has been a Full Life Cycle IT Recruiter and Full Desk Placement expert for over 14 years. He prides himself on always making sure that what he is offering a candidate is an Opportunity and not just another job. He is a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Mobiquity. Watch Jeff live on stage: "Recruiters: The Good, The Bad, and the Devious."