Good news, everyone! After three months of job interviews, calls, negotiations, asking people for advice and what not I have made my choice and will be signing my contract this Friday.
Out of the five companies I've had serious talks with, two weren't a good fit for me, two were really interesting, and one was the gig I'd been doing alongside my last year of my master's degree. They made a compelling offer but I mostly thought of it as my backup option. Yesterday I called my manager there to let him know:
"Hey! I've made my choice, and it's sadly not in your favour. I had two other very interesting options - one was [well-known engineering firm], and the other was [the Chosen One]. I appreciated your offer and am glad that I could work for you guys, but the Chosen One was better in [all the ways that matter to me]."
"Congrats on the choice! You definitely chose the best out of the three, [Chosen One] is a great company and would totally fit you."
He said that like three more times in the same phone call - not at all disingenuously. I do think I've made the right call, the company I chose is a small urban planning consultancy focused on sustainable innovations. If I were to start a business like that, I'd probably do it the way they already do.
Now I just gotta finish my darn thesis. I want to have it done by Christmas so that I can spend that week with family (and without worries). I've written my executive summary, formalised my methodology and have rewritten the first two chapters, so I'm on track, but I still have lots to do. Plus, I need to do Adult Life Stuff like find a better insurance company and find a place to move to. What's the John Lennon lyric again? Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?
edit: Also, because I don't celebrate Sinterklaas this year I bought myself this Casio I had been eyeing for a while:
I love that it has a world map! I can scroll through time zones and the map will show the part of the world covered by that time zone. Plus, it's supposedly inspired by the James Bond's watch in Octopussy.