The College Grad’s Version of a Critical Decision


"To Know the Road Ahead, Ask Those Coming Back"

Since graduation I have had five interviews. I thought I was one of the lucky ones until I realized I will be having to make an extremely difficult decision in the upcoming weeks (if all goes as I hope and think it will).

OPTION A: Before graduation, I had interviewed with an NFL team for a position in community relations. “What could this position be,” you may ask. Aye, there’s the rub. It is an intern-level position. Now before you shudder in disbelief that I may be considering an internship position post-graduation, I need to let it be known that it will be paid. I do use the term “paid” loosely; it would be minimum wage, without benefits (bites finger). Yes. After four years, thousands of dollars and three unpaid internships, would the next step be to a paid internship? I’ve been teetering back and forth; the job description is me in a nutshell. Player appearances, media coverage, promotions, event planning…everything I love to do, and coincidentally, everything at which I excel.

OPTION B: I recently had two telephone interviews with a digital ad sales company in New York (if you don’t know me, New York is my promised land). My third interview is  tomorrow afternoon at the New York City satellite location. The company prides itself on the benefits offered by the 30-something executives. With the founder being just a little younger than 35, the company knows what is enticing to its younger-than-normal team;  it offers health, vision, dental and little perks like car washes and happy hours. The position for which I am interviewing isn’t necessarily in the field of public relations but the closely related and perhaps, more profitable, marketing and ad sales. This company is showing promise of growing into one of the world’s premiere digital ad sales firms, and perhaps I should hop on the tail of this comet while I have the chance.

But the question remains; is it better to take a salary position with benefits which is not necessarily in your field or a “paid” internship that promises of growth and demands all skills you’ve acquired during your collegiate career? To make it simple; a career for money or a gig for passion?

That Awkward Pause When Asked For Your Salary Requirements Gives Me Nightmares


The SRQ breaks my little heart

Oh yes. The dreaded salary requirement question: in a second, you will go from feeling great about the interview to double-thinking every single moment of your short life. What should you ask for as a recent college grad? If you came here for answers…sorry. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.

I recently interviewed and the SRQ (salary requirement question) made me nauseous. We’re in an economic crisis, 19.8% of people below the age of 25 are unemployed…it is a mess. So what should I have done? If I answer too high, I sound uppity. If I answer too low, I am selling myself short. I was lucky enough to be asked this question twice for the same position. The first time I was asked the SRQ, I did nothing short of sell myself short. I went home, did some research on the title and what similar positions. I learned that I undersold myself by nearly $15,000! DO NOT DO WHAT I DID! I am talented, I have experience and I just spit out the first number that came to mind!

Do your research before a job interview, because I then looked like a fool when I had to correct a previous salary range.

But then came the opposite extreme. According to http://www.salary.com (which I have now made my bible), I should have been asking around $47,000. For some unknown reason, I feel too terrible asking that much and I am not sure why. I could not bring myself to say that number. Usually I am not one to turn down money, but I could not fathom asking for anything greater than $40,000. According to Ronnie Ann, author of the blog “Work Coach Cafe”, women always ask for too little during negotiations. Come on, ladies…we deserve more than what we’re getting.

I just need to figure out how to get around this inexplicable guilt trip I experienced during negotiations. Solutions? Comments?