Job Dilemma: Need some good advice

Hey guys,

So I just graduated from college and I’ve been doing a few interviews. My current part-time employer, a multi-million-dollar retail store, knows I have been getting opportunities to interview and job offers so the COO and CFO took me aside today and offered me a really cool job.

The job would be forecasting then ordering what we need based on those forecasts. Now all the company does when it wants to order product is rely on the intuition of the vice president to make the right choices when he orders. The result is tons of money lost when we run out of stock of high-margin items.

They framed my role as basically someone learning how order the right way (forecasting) in categories that the vice president does not even spend much time on (even though these areas account for 50% of our profit).

Now coming out of college it sounds like an amazing opportunity. BUT…

After all of the conversation about role, responsibilities, etc the salary comes. It was a very lowball offer for the level of work I’d be doing in my opinion.

I am being offered jobs that would pay more NOW but the potential leadership role being dangled over my head with this one is making me wonder if I should go with way less money.

I told him I’d give him an answer Monday. What would you do/say etc. I want to basically tell him in a nice way that I’ve been getting offers for much more money but I would settle for less if my performance would definitely yield benefits in the future.

Any input would be appreciated. My father is trying to help me but I need the perspective that I know I can get from here :slight_smile:

Why haven’t you taken up one of the other offers, then?

A job is not just about salary. What’s the cost of working there (rent, transport etc) vs working at one of the other places? Is it a nice place to work or are they slavedrivers? What about the other places?

Seems to me that you should take the job.

Have a more detailed discussion about salary. “Okay, you’re starting me at $xxK – fine, it’s a new position, I’ll be learning, etc. When is the first salary review, what will the benchmarks be for evaluating my performance, and what kind of raise can I expect at that point?” If the answers to that are acceptable to you, take the job – but be prepared to walk if they renege on the salary review thing.

Sorry – should have previewed, this isn’t clear. What I meant was, say they promise a salary review in 6 months, with the understanding that if you’ve done x, y, and z, you’ll get a salary raise of X amount (range is okay here, or percentage, instead of a specific amount).

Then, in six months, it’s up to you to submit the proof that you’ve hit your targets on x, y, and z – and exceeded them, if you’re any good – and ask for a discussion of your raise. If they blow you off on the raise at that point, then you should be prepared to start looking elsewhere.

In addition to roles and responsibilities and salary, you should be finding out the following things:

What are the benefits attaches to the position? Health and dental insurance? Who pays what amount for that? Vacation time? Sick time?

Is the schedule what you want? Some people are just fine with 9-to-5. Others would prefer the flexibility to do 8-to-4 or 10-to-6.

How is the commute for you?

What’s the work culture like? You’ve already been working there PT, so you have some idea, but do the FT people seem happy? Are there FT folks you can have a conversation with to find out more of some of the unwritten stuff?

As Twickster wrote, it’s important to find out the benchmarks for success. Who will be supervising your role and how will they communicate expectations, progress, etc? What are the salary increases attached to performance?

I agree that this could be a great opportunity, in the sense that they are creating a role for you and that is something that will be very impressive to other employers down the line if you are able to succeed at that. But it’s important to look at the whole picture and how it fits into your needs. It may be that you take a hit on the salary now in order to pay your dues and proove yourself, and ultimately get an increase. Or it may be that there is not much hope for an increase and the salary they are offering won’t allow you to cover your expenses.

A multi-million dollar retail store doesn’t already have an inventory manager? That sounds really odd to me.

Follow the advice above and don’t just take the job because you’re comfortable and wouldn’t have to “start over”.

He did mention something like this. A 4 week review and I’ll have to prove that I helped save us money or something and get a raise.

Also, he did mention that the position will expand and that it will eventually go from one person to a department, and that the first guy in will likely be at the top.

Well for health he said they would consider my part-time employment full-time and start giving me full health right away.

I guess I may be able to do this and quit if I do not like it or if I find another job that I like more (I am young right heh)

Thanks guys :slight_smile:

Get details. In writing, if possible.

I am seeing red flags here. Your marketability peaks right after college and then goes into a sharp decline (until you gather enough experience to be marketed as experienced). Also, current employers have a tendency to undervalue education you get while working for them. I don’t have data, but this is an informed opinion from the employee and employer side. Also, you will be subject to the whims of this company deciding they don’t want to have this position after all. Either the VP just likes ordering, or you really don’t save enough money, or whatever. On the other hand, some of the companies you are interviewing with may be considering you for manager trainee programs or whatever, where they know they need to bring in 16 assistant managers each year and advance 8 to manager within 5 years or similar. While there is no such thing as job security, there are degrees of insecurity, and a newly created job is less secure. Your employer may also be playing a game because they don’t want to lose you, and know that’s a big risk during the short period that your marketability peaks (and perhaps is there any kind of seasonal rush/ big project on the near horizon???). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are willing to make the kind of investment that will make it worth your while.

Here’s what I suggest. Thank them for the offer, but tell them you’ve been getting offers in the range of $xx,xxx. Say no more. If they come back with something really worth considering, on par with the other offers, then consider it.

This is complex. Lots of moving parts to your decision.

As for my bona fides - MBA from a top-ranked school (Kellogg), worked as a Partner at a top-ranked management consulting firm, now the head of Marketing, Business Development and Strategy at a strongly-performing company - bottom line, it is kinda weird stating these credentials to establish myself, when normally I get people calling me hoping I will take the time to offer advice. Do with it what you will - and by all means, feel free to ignore it - clearly your call.

As I said, and others have said in previous posts - there are a lot of moving parts to this offer you have. On its face - it seems great. If you can truly play a role in helping to bring their inventory management processes into the 20th, let alone the 21st, century, you could be doing them a HUGE service and gaining experience that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. Jeez, simply introducing them to ERP software could completely change how they run the company. Having said that, the fact that they are offering it to you - no offense, but you are a lowly undergrad, and the thought of turning that responsibility over to you raises some pretty big flags.

If you think these people are legit, and there isn’t a lot of weirdness going on, you should go for it. If anything is making your Spidey sense tingle, remember - anything that seems too good to be true probably is.

You may have a wonderful opportunity on your hands. If you want to email me and check in, I am happy to talk with you to learn more about this opportunity. Could be a life-changer depending on what you want to do with your career…

I just have to say that my first real job was as a manger at a large supermarket chain and my responsibilities focused on managing an automated purchasing and forecasting systems. I loved it. Supply Chain work can be quite lucrative after you get experience and many people in the field make 6 figures either at a very large company or as a consultant to them. If you are interested in the work, it is a good field and it is surprisingly theoretical and statistics based if it is done correctly.

You’ve been working with the current employer for some time. Presumably you’ve made some observations about them. Are they honest? Straightforward? Ethical? Do they care about their employees? These are the critical questions. They may promise that there’s opportunity for advancement and higher pay, and a possible chance to head a department at some point in the future. These promises are only meaningful if it’s an honest company.

If I could teach every college graduate who’s entering the corporate world one thing, I’d teach them this: oral promises mean jack shit, and most corporate bosses/executives are routinely dishonest. Demand to get promises of future opportunity in writing. Take notice when a company speaks in weasel words ("probably, “likely”, “there’s a good chance…”).

My last advice may not apply to you, since you’d be the lone inventory manager at this store. But it’s good general advice in any case. Don’t get into a situation where you’ll be dragged down by the performance of inferior coworkers. Learn how the company evaluates its employees. Good employees evaluate individual performance carefully.

Thank you Wordman, I have sent you an email with some questions, as you suggested.

ITR, they are ethical, in my opinion, and they are quite fond of me to be honest so I would hope they are not leading me on. I guess if they were I could easily quit, still be young, and have some cool experience to put on the resume…right?

It seems like, in some ways, this job is really probably too big for you and pays too little, and that’s where the problem comes in: you may be expected to perform miracles without the means or resources to do so. I assume there are concrete ways you could go about learning how to do this job more effectively–training or conferences or something. If nothing else, you are going to need to spend quite a bit of time researching.

You might want to see that you and the company have the same understanding of this process: are they going to pay to send you to whatever training is out there? Are they going to give you the time you need to devise solutions, or are the going to expect you to start implementing things from day one?


So I met again with my bosses to discuss the role.

I told them that while I have been offered and interviewed for positions that paid more, I was intrigued enough by the job role to want to learn more. I also told them that I found the way in which performance would be evaluated to be very ambiguous.

They agreed with me and we will meet back to discuss the role in hopefully a more structured form at the end of the week. I also might have convinced them to perhaps increase the salary offer.

Thanks for the advice guys :slight_smile:

Thanks for the update – let us know what happens.

Yep. Very interesting. And, in theory, not too difficult. The trick is getting the amount of data you need to help manage the decisions.

This is one of those risk things. A multi-million dollar retail business without inventory management - I suspect that they are at the grow or die stage. You can help them grow, and there is the possibility of rewards (talk to someone who started with Best Buy or Walmart 15 or 20 years ago with stock options). But there is also the possibility they will need someone with more experience, and you won’t get the rewards promised. Or that, despite your best efforts, they’ve peaked.

Yes, go for it. Sounds liek a good deal for right out of college!

When you meet with them, be sure to discuss what tools will be available for you in the new position. I don’t know a lot about this field, but I do know that software is available to help. However, I doubt it’s cheap. Do they have this software already? If not, are they willing to purchase it and get you the training you need to use it optimally? Are you aware of what it’ll take to set it up, where you want to go with it and how to get there? I’d do some research on these questions before you go into the interview, so that you can tell them that “this is what we need, this is why we need it, here’s what it will cost (in addition to my position), and is that a possibility?”

Yea Snickers that is a good question. I actually asked about it. Apparently they already have a ERP system worth about 250k but nobody is using it.