As college graduates finish their commencement celebrations and enter the work force, the month of May becomes an important transition period. My job decision was to join Accenture in May 1977 and concluded in May 2001 - 24 years later. That started another transition that is now in it's twelfth year - in constant change.
Last weekend the family attended Paul's University of Cincinnati Graduation and he faces his job decision in early May. My advice to him was to weigh heavily the starting compensation but place even more weight on the outlook 5-10-15 years from now to determine what the career growth opportunities the initial selection might provide. Naturally this is dependent on various career risk parameters - industry growth, geography, functional area and specific company culture/management.
Call me lucky - but Accenture was a great way to diversify career risk. Not only was it in a high growth industry, there was the opportunity to navigate other across industries (and their economic cycles) using common technology expertise. Also during the recession of the '80's, I discovered the power of joining an international firm that had diversity in geography risk,
Even though I remained with Accenture for 24 years (rare in today's career paths), the reality was it was as similar as a person who changed careers 4-6 times. I worked in five different locations, across eight or nine industries, and four to six functional/technical areas. It was rapid and exciting change within the umbrella of one company.
My advice to Paul and new college graduates - Initial selection is not nearly as important as managing career change continuously.
PS - What a coincidence. Accenture just published the results of a survey of recent college graduates: "Four of Ten Recent College Grads are Underemployed".