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5 Things to Look For In a Job Other Than a Hefty Paycheck

For most of us, when we think about a job (like a “real” job), we think of paychecks, and we think of salaries. After all, why shouldn’t we immediately think about compensation? For years, money and looming money woes have been pounded into our consciousness. So, when it finally comes time to enter the working world, we’re concerned about getting that paycheck and keeping our young heads above water.

However, many young professionals make the mistake of focusing too narrowly on this during their job search and job examination process. Yes, salary is important and a bigger salary is always welcome, but your final decision about whether a job is right for you shouldn’t come down to the dollars and cents of the situation. Young professionals need to broaden their search criteria. There are many other things to look for in a job that play a vital role in your health and happiness within a company that outweigh your potential salary. When considering a job offer, examine all of the aspects and attributes that job has to offer — don’t be blinded by the dollar signs.

  1. Company Benefits

    In many ways, a job’s benefits can be just as important as its potential paycheck. Benefits, like a strong health and dental insurance plan, can be just like a larger number on your paycheck. If you are contemplating a job offer, you should carefully examine and discuss the company’s benefit package. What type of health insurance does the company offer? How much of the premium does the company compensate for their employees? Taking a careful look into insurance plans and policies can be a huge headache — trust me. However, if your employer provides health insurance support, they should have human resources staff that can walk you through the policy and plan options.

    Also, look into what options the company offers for things like vision, dental, and life insurance. These are all important (and pricey) things that a supportive employer can really help out with. Moreover, even as newbie 20-somethings entering the “real world” for the first time or veterans who are searching for a new career path, retirement is something that should be near the forefront of your job search and considerations.

  2. Perks and Privileges

    It is also important to consider other perks a job might offer. Take into consideration things like parking, vacation time, and sick time when reviewing job offers and opportunities. These types of perks and privileges can play a huge role in how happy you are at a position and how much money you actually make at the end of the day. Many downtown companies will not validate their employees’ parking. If this is the case, parking costs can really add up. Ask your potential employ about parking situations, if this is a concern. They may have parking advantages as a company with certain nearby lots or garages.

    Of course, things like paid time off and paid sick leave are also important perks to look into. Many companies will offer some amount of sick and vacation time that you will not lose pay for. Find out the policies on paid time off before you accept a position. Consider how much vacation time you need to be satisfied with your job as a whole and anticipate times of illness or emergency that may occur. While these challenging issues are never predictable, understanding your companies absence system.

  3. Hours and Travel

    Be sure you understand clearly the hours and schedule that is required of you in the new position. Is the job a strict nine to five? How flexible is the company with flex-time? While much of this depends on personal preference, finding a position that complements your schedule can be extremely important for many individuals. Whether you have family to care for or other personal obligations, finding a position that allows for a flexible schedule can be very useful and, for some, just as essential as a suitable paycheck.

    Find out if you are able to alter your hours when you need to make up time or accommodate other responsibilities. Take note of what your daily commute might be like. Is the position worth spending more time on the road? Have you factored in gas prices into your overall salary? While this may sound minuscule and silly, long commutes can be a huge task and can take a chunk out of your paycheck each month.

  4. Company Culture

    While salary can pay a major role in your job satisfaction, it rarely outweighs an enjoyable work environment. When you are evaluating a job offer or potential company, you should examine the company culture and overall office atmosphere. Feeling comfortable and happy in your daily work environment is essential to finding professional and personal success. Are company team building events important to you? Do you value a relaxed work atmosphere?

    You want to make sure that you will not only be making the money that you deserve, but that you will also enjoy your time working. If you find yourself in an office that is too strict for your personality or that fails to create a positive environment for you, it is very unlikely that you will feel happy with your work (even if you are making “the big bucks”). Company culture is an important aspect of any job and plays a tremendous role in how successful you are on a daily basis. Try to determine how well you mesh with your potential coworkers or employers. Though work is always going to work, it is also a social experience that you need to be comfortable with.

  5. It’s Something You Love to Do

    Sometimes our dreams jobs don’t come paired with our dream salary. This is just a fact that at times we will have to face. If you think you have found your absolute “dream” position, that satisfaction may be enough to compensate for the lacking digits on a paycheck. This is something that can only you can determine. The truth is—you want to find a job that motivates and excites you each day merely by the nature of the work. While it may sound trite, the joy you find in doing the thing you love every day lasts a lot longer than the extra money you might make with a larger paycheck.

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