Thursday, June 16, 2011

It’s Not all About the Money – 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Job

Have you or someone you know ever had an unpleasant job – the kind of job where it is very hard to get out of bed in the morning? I once had a job where I literally sat in my car dreading the day and putting off going into the building until the last possible minute. When I think back to that job, I realize that I did not evaluate my choice of jobs very carefully or realistically. Often times, we get so caught up in the job hunt and landing a position that we forget to slow down and ask ourselves “Do I really want this job?” Here are some factors – in addition to salary – that you should always consider.

Work Environment
If you consider that you spend at least a third of the hours of every weekday at work – often more time than you spend with friends or family on any given day – then you might as well spend this time enjoying yourself. Consider the company culture; is it formal and focused on rules or is it more laid back and open. Assess your personality and identify what is important to your job satisfaction to determine where you will best fit.

Quality of Life
Some people are willing to trade their free time, family time, or even sleep for a high-paying job. It is important to periodically assess your value structure to determine where your priorities lie. For me, my value structure and priorities changed when I started a family. There is no right or wrong in this situation, only what works best for what is most important for you. You must choose a career path that is aligned with your values and ideals.

You need to assess the future growth of the position and determine your opportunity for advancement. Find out if the company offers education and training opportunities, if they value promoting from within, and how the position aligns with your long-term goals.

Constant Challenge and Variety
This factor may be more important to some than others. Evaluate how you feel about change and variety before you start interviewing. If you like predictability and routine, there are some jobs that are definitely not for you. The opposite is true if you become easily bored or distracted when doing repetitive tasks.

Job Security
The average worker is likely to change jobs at least ten times in their adult life according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, you should still evaluate the company’s stability and their reputation in the industry prior to accepting a position.

Some sources say that benefits can account for as much as 30% of your compensation package. Find out how much medical, dental, and vision coverage the company offers and how much your contribution will be to the plans. A higher salary may soon dwindle when you compare benefits packages – especially if you have a family. I have two children, the first one cost $10 to give birth to and the second one cost more than $1,500 due to changes in benefit plans. Consider other non-traditional benefits such as flexible work hours, a reduced commute, employee discounts, or a car allowance.

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