Pick The Place With The Smartest People
I'm writing this in summer of 2022, where the job market (especially in tech) is volatile. On one hand, weekly news of companies doing layoffs or hiring freezes. On the other hand are companies announcing successful funding rounds and announcing all the roles they have to fill.
This is all with the backdrop of global inflation fears, a pandemic that's still technically happening, along with a myriad of other factors that appear to be leading us towards a seemingly inevitable recession.
One of my previous bosses, who was mid-career through the 2008 GFC, gave me advice a long time ago that always surfaces for me, in uncertain times like these:
Don't choose a job because it pays the most money, or because it gives you a fancy title. Pick the place with the smartest people that will let you join them.
I know it's weird advice to tell people that they should turn down a job offer if they just got laid off. Or to think twice about that role that's going to give them a 30% boost on their salary and a significant title bump.
But we've been here before. This too shall pass. Don't settle. Yes, choose safety if you must. But you have to fight the urge that it is your only choice.
If you have the luxury of doing so, take your time. A ton of smart people are being unleashed into the job market and they will reorganize into teams and companies. These are people you might not have had access to before. When we get through the other side of this thing, you should have as many of these people in your network as possible.
If you can afford it: always choose the long term over the short term.