When considering a new position, pay is a priority, and it’s easy to let it eclipse all the other factors involved in creating a quality work life. It’s true companies who pay better tend to value their employees’ time, but some of the non-monetary pieces of compensation can be just as, if not more compelling.
You may have already decided whether or not you’re willing to relocate, but be honest with yourself about other factors as well. Are you going to be happy with a 2-hour commute? How feasible is travel for you? While some people thrive on the road, others find it tiring. It cuts into family time, as well.
Can you leave early to pick up the kids from school or work from home on occasion? How about time off for volunteering in your community? How much vacation time will you get? Some companies even offer month-long sabbaticals after a certain number of years of employment — an attractive package for most people.
Company Size and Stability
Startups can be exciting. You get to be involved from the business’s inception and often have a larger say in developing company policy and structure. They do, however, lack stability. According to a Harvard School of Business study, 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. If the very real possibility of looking for a new job in a couple of years stresses you — emotionally or financially — maybe be a larger, better established company would be a better choice.
Health care benefits are huge, especially for people with dependents. But don’t just focus on copays and networks. Check out if the company is invested in their employees’ wellness. Do they subsidize gym memberships or encourage health in other ways?
Opportunity for Growth
Continuing education and advancement is what keeps us satisfied with our careers year after year. What sort of training does your employer offer; do they reimburse college tuition? Eventually, as you become more proficient, you’ll be ready for new challenges. How do they support advancement or new projects?
I once interviewed at a place that looked great on paper, but there was a vibe in the place; the employees were emphatically not happy. They seemed either stressed or lethargic. I ignored my intuition, and ended up working there for the longest seven months of my life. Lesson: don’t ignore the feel of a place. If you walk through the building for your interview and everyone seems grumpy, there’s probably a reason, and it may not be worth any extra monetary benefits you get for it.
Salary is important; fair compensation is one way a company shows how much they value (or undervalue) their employees. But being well paid may seem less important if you work long hours, miss out on time with family and friends or spend half your life in airports. Money can’t buy happiness, but a work environment that fits your lifestyle will get you part of the way there.
Sources: Forbes.com, TheMuse.com, Entrepreneur.com
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