Why I Turned Down Several $60k Job Offers After College
I know what you’re thinking, “Wow you are straight tripping”, “Who turns down that much for their 1st job after college”, as my New York friends would say “Nawww you wildin B”. But, let me explain to you the cost and standard of living !!!
In the spring of 2012, I graduated from college with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. It took about 8 dreadful yet progressive months for me to land my first job in Alpharetta, GA as a software engineer. I turned down several job opportunities in New Jersey, DC and Virginia areas for around $60k each. I can understand the average recent grad in America would leap at opportunities like this without any hesitation. Especially with the average amount of student loan debt college students are graduating with these days. However, I was thinking long term and patience is definitely a virtue. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to just pack my stuff up and drive off to begin this new journey. My frustration levels were at an all-time high which led to arguments with my mother. I also felt disappointed in myself for not being able to go out on dates and socialize with my peers. Plus, applying to and getting rejected from sooooo mannyyyyy jobs.
I began to have doubts about whether or not this career path was the right choice for me and just overall indecisiveness on what I wanted to do with my life. It’s hard for a passionate person like me to stay patient but in the back of my mind, I had faith that I would land the ideal position. I didn’t want to go into a situation I didn’t like so I wasn’t going to settle for a lesser role. The best advice a Tech Lead at AT&T gave me after an interview was to “Never do it for the money, if you love what you do and you’re passionate about it, the money will come”. In my head, I’m like, I’m just a broke recent grad trying to scratch the surface of money but honestly, this advice really stuck with me. After the long wait, I ended up getting my first offer in Georgia for right around $56,500 including bonuses.
When I was comparing these job offers I started thinking about all the variables like the cost of living, work/life balance, cost to relocate etc. I went away for college, but pretty much everything was taken care of since I was on an athletic scholarship. Now, in the “real world” I have to pay for an apartment, furniture and bills you know the exciting adult stuff. Furthermore, I wasn’t ready for all of these expenses without any visible means of income flowing in. So, I compared the cost of housing in cities like Newark-New York City to the DMV(D.C., Maryland, Virginia) areas against Metro Atlanta’s prices and I couldn’t believe it. You can literally buy a 4-bedroom home with a pool and 2-car garage in the south for some of the prices a studio apartment would cost up north.
Just look at the difference in housing cost. In order for me to make my equivalent salary of $56,500 in Georgia, I would have to earn $72,500 in New Jersey and $79,900 annually in the DC area. I just want people to look at some of these factors when they’re deciding which cities they want to relocate to. A higher grossing salary might not always mean more net income(take home pay) because of the location and cost of living. This is one of the main reasons why people and companies are flocking to cities with cheaper real estate.
I was born in New York, but I absolutely hate cold weather. There wasn’t any motivation for me to deal with another roommate after college and honestly, I was not ready to spend half my salary on housing. Staying in Georgia not only saved me a bunch of money, more importantly, it made me happier in the long run because I’m closer to family and friends. You really can’t put a price on happiness. If living in expensive areas is more fun for you and makes you happy then live there!!! There’s just some things money can’t buy. Another deal breaker for me was the fact that they don’t even have Zaxby’s in New Jersey or the DMV areas and that sauce is indescribably good. I mean I really think it’s hand made by Jesus Christ himself.