Accounting Career Conundrums: Put Down the Pot or Take a Gamble on Another Offer?

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Hey guys,

I just started reading your website and it has so much helpful information. I am hoping you can help me out with some advice for a friend of a close friend. This friend of a friend, we’ll call her Michelle, is facing a seriously difficult decision. I don’t personally know Michelle and actually have never met her, but based on what I am hearing, here's what I know:

1. Michelle is an accounting/finance major

2. Michelle has received a competitive job offer from a big-4 tier consulting firm but hasn't made a decision yet

3. Michelle has several other interviews lined up, including multiple big 4 and more than one large bank

4. Michelle is a pot smoker

4. No drug test was mentioned by the first and only firm to give her an offer, but she knows (with at least one of the upcoming interviews) a drug test will be mandatory based on what others who work there told her

So here is the issue: while Michelle feels her initial/first offer is (likely) adequate, she thinks some of the other pending opportunities may be more lucrative. She's trying to weigh taking this offer and continuing to smoke pot (because let’s face it, this is college and senior year for fuck’s sake) and the risk of not accepting the current offer on the table, losing it, and failing a drug test down the road and thus losing out on all of her current opportunities.

So help me out here. What should this friend of a friend, whom I have never met, do? She needs an answer ASAP, by the way, as she must accept her current pending offer in the next 48 hours or so I heard.

Thanks GC – you guys are the best.

Sincerely, Mitch
    

Oh boy. We’ve got a situation on our hands, readers. This is pretty good stuff, actually (and I’m not talking about the stuff that Mitch’s supposed friend…of a friend is smoking).

First and foremost, thanks for the great e-mail.  What a clear and concise layout of the situation.  Here’s my quick analysis of your her situation that lays out the assumptions I am making, which will impact Mitch’s Michelle’s decision:

  • Senior year (I am assuming last year – no fifth year)
  • Competitive job offer (big-4 tier and “likely adequate” were descriptors, so we are probably talking competitive)
  • Multiple big-4 / banking interviews on the horizon, with at least one mandatory drug test
  • Regular user of cannabis

And his her options:
Scenario 1: Accept current offer; continue living your life as you have; eliminate anxiety that comes with additional rounds of interviews, uncertainty of potential offers and, worst of all, failed drug tests. Plus, from what I hear, all that cannabis will help with your stress-relief as well (according to my stoner friend who also happens to be named Michelle, oddly enough)
End Game: You’ve accepted your job offer. Congrats. Enjoy the last six months of your life before the shit hits the fan

Scenario 2: Request an extension from the firm that granted you an offer.1 STOP SMOKING POT IMMEDIATELY.2 Proceed with caution through interviews. If and when the time to take your drug test comes, attempt to delay delivery of that likely dirty urine sample for as long as humanly possible without having the firm report you to the DEA. Hope for the best when you hand over that cup-o-urine and, equally important, hope the version of yourself that just went through this grueling cover-up/interview process while simultaneously (likely) experiencing some form of withdrawal due to abstaining from your favorite illicit-recreational past-time was good enough to render an offer from these pot-policing firms
End Game 1: That drug test? Sorry. All those sauna sessions, laps around the track and carrying gallon jugs of water around like you were a body builder were no match for the 4+ years of blueberry-kush you had stored up in the ol’ bod. You failed your drug test and will never know if you would have received an offer. The firm that granted your initial offer has since backed away. Things are looking pretty grim
End Game 2: Congrats! You passed your drug test. You received a few offers, the highest coming in at roughly 10% more than your initial offer. You just spent the majority of your final days on a college campus trying to clean up your innards like you were Lance Armstrong riding through the French Alps. For what? $6k! After tax, spread over 24 paychecks, that is almost $100 per week! Way to go!

There you have it, Michelle. A few critical points that have been left out are the assumption that all of these positions are identical with respect to your career aspirations, location, you know…”the things you want to be doing” and “place you want to be” as far as your career is concerned (not to mention that marijuana laws vary from state to state).

Good luck making this decision. I won’t tell you which route I my friend Michelle took.

1 This comes with the inherent risk of them telling you to go fuck-yourself (in case you were wondering)

2 IMMEDIATELY BEGIN: going to the gym for 90+ minutes a day, running, sweating, sauna-ing, drinking water like you had just completed a Saharan Exodus, consuming vitamins and anything else anyone around campus wearing a Phish t-shirt tells you to do when you ask them “how can I pass a drug test?”
 

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