By Kathleen Furore

I recently spoke with a friend whose daughter has to decide between two job offers very soon. One is a very good position at a very reputable firm in the town she most wants to settle in – and she is very impressed by the supervisor and co-workers she would be working with. The other is a similar position at what is considered to be a more prestigious company – but it is in a different state, and she doesn’t know as much about the team she would be part of. How can she, or anyone in a similar situation, decide which is the best career move?

Lynn Whitbeck, author of “Practical Wisdoms @ Work” and CEO and founder of the women’s online career mentoring site petite2queen.com, thinks it all boils down to one thing: Happiness.

“Happiness breeds success, and happiness starts by surrounding oneself with a supportive network,” Whitbeck says. “With the information given, I would advise the young woman to take the job with the impressive boss, friendly co-workers and desired location. There are too many unknowns in the out-of-state job.”

Telling someone to do what makes them happy, of course, might sound simplistic – especially to the person in the middle of the stressful decision-making process. That’s why Whitbeck suggests using a relatively quick exercise called CLARITY to assess any career move:

C – Comfort level: How comfortable are you with taking a position with little information or knowledge of company culture?

L – Long-term goals: Visualize your career and where you want to be.

A – Adaptability: Assess how easily you respond to change at your workplace.

R – Recognize the opportunities: What can you learn at the selected job?

I – Identify your support network: What do you need for happiness, balance and fulfillment?

T – True costs: Not just cost of living, but impact to your lifestyle and emotional well-being.

Y – Why: Why does this career move match your values and passions?

And there’s one thing I always tell job seekers in the early stages of their careers to remember: Nothing is forever! If you take a job and end up not being as happy as you thought you would be, there will be other opportunities to pursue!

Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at kfurore@yahoo.com.

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