Friday, September 9, 2016

Beyond the Paycheck: Things to Consider When Choosing a New Job

So you find yourself perusing the ads for a new job. You may be astounded by that nice figure in the salary box in the job description. However, there are many other factors in addition to pay that should be taken into account when choosing a job.


Although it might have taken you twenty or thirty minutes to get to your 2:30 interview, the before and after work rush hours can easily double or even triple that time in some cities. As most of us know, Charleston is especially bad for high traffic rush hours. According to The Post and Courier, the stretch of I-26 from the U.S. Highway 52 Connector to Ashley Phosphate Road is the most congested stretch of road in the entire state. An average of 151,400 vehicles pass through there every day. With predictions for continued growth in the city, drivers should expect increased traffic and longer drive times in the years to come.

Corporate Culture:

You probably met your best friends from high school by working alongside them in a biology lab, or by seeing them at your locker or the lunch table every day. The same thing happens in the workplace. Naturally, you are going to build relationships with the people you see day in and day out. The people you are surrounded by and your fit in the culture are crucial for job satisfaction and success. It is good to make observations such as the formality of the work environment, the presence of an open-door policy, and the relationship between different levels in the corporate hierarchy.


Paid leave, health insurance, disability, tuition reimbursement, retirement savings plans, and health club memberships are just some of the many employee benefits offered by companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor requires employers to have certain benefits such as Social Security, 
Worker’s Compensation, and FMLA (The Family and Medical Leave Act) for those who work thirty or more hours per week. It is important to think of benefits as a crucial part of your overall compensation. Prospective employees should also look into the quality of the benefits provided. According to US News, only twenty-two percent of firms provide access to a retirement plan that guarantees payments for life.

Level of Autonomy:

Do you prefer to work alone or in groups? Generally, everyone has a preference one way or the other and each individual performs more effectively in his or her niche of the spectrum. Although developing skills on both sides is important, some are naturally self-motivated, while others are energized by a team. It is a good idea to know what level of autonomy will be expected of you when going into a new position.


We have all heard about those dead end jobs that cause careers to plateau for a bit too long. Those positions that seem to be headed nowhere with little opportunity for learning, growth, or promotion. When looking for a new position, take into consideration how long current employees have been in their current position. Does the company provide opportunities for further education or training? Does the company have a brand that will allow you to network within your industry? Make sure that after a few years of working within the company, you will be further along than where you started.

Work/Life Balance:

Being able to properly prioritize work tasks with everything else going on in your life is crucial to your physical and emotional health and well-being. Perhaps you have a family at home that needs your care and attention. Maybe you have leisure interests that you would like to pursue when not at the office. If nothing else, making time to relax and recharge is essential to maximize effectiveness in all areas of life. Check to see if your job offers flexible scheduling and personal time off. Will you be required to answer work related calls and emails in your personal time? Will you be under a large amount of stress on a regular basis in this position?

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