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Five questions to ask when considering a new job

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Financial, emotional, and physical well-being are important when considering a new job offer. Studies indicate money isn’t everything in terms of job satisfaction.1 In fact, an extensive 2014 survey, polling over 200,000 people worldwide, showed that an “attractive fixed salary” was only number 8 on a list of top 10 factors people value in a job.2

Aside from salary, make an informed decision by considering the perks, pros, and cons of all aspects of the job before committing, and don’t lose sight of the biggest picture of all – your personal growth and long-term security.

 

Ask the following questions to help you evaluate when considering a job offer.

  • 1

    What health benefits do they offer? Beyond medical insurance, coverage like dental and vision insurance can not only contribute to your total health, but also help protect your wallet. Out-of-pocket costs (e.g. the ones you pay for yourself on top of insurance coverage) can take a serious bite out of any paycheck – things like annual deductibles (how much you pay before insurance coverage starts) and copayments (the payment you have to cover on top of insurance coverage). Are there forms of supplemental insurance coverage available that can help pay for things your medical insurance doesn’t cover? These can include policies that cover expenses associated with treatment for cancer, critical illnesses, accidents, and hospital stays. Take a look at the employee health benefits outside of insurance. Is there a gym membership to help you stay in shape? Some companies have wellness programs that you can participate in and benefit from. It’s good to know the company’s true range of benefits before accepting a job.

  • 2

    What financial benefits are included? Compensation should be taken as a totality, and salary is only one part of the equation. 65% of employees believe their benefits positively impacts their overall financial security3 Retirement savings plan such as a 401(k), are part of an employee benefits plan that can help improve your overall financial well-being. Virtually all retirement plans work on the principle of accumulating increments of money over a long period of time, so being able to start paying in sooner will make a massive difference. Find out if there’s “vesting,” meaning that after a qualifying period (generally 3-5 years), the company will put money into your retirement plan to reward loyal service.4 Some employers will match your own retirement contributions, which is about as close as you can get to receiving free money from them. Additionally, see if you’ll have access to life or disability insurance to protect your loved ones and income if you get too sick or injured to work, or if you pass away. 

  • 3

    Are there prospects for advancement? People show higher satisfaction when they have possibilities for progress at their company.5 If a job at a particular company is likely to significantly enhance your reputation within your field, this might be a worthwhile tradeoff against a lower pay offer. Being stuck in a job where you have no chance for mobility can create a stressful working environment.  

  • 4

    Will you learn skills/have access to new technology? Keeping up with technology can improve your marketability. Therefore, access to training and the ability to stay current with necessary skills is vital. Find out whether the company offers free training or has reimbursement programs for education. 

  • 5

    What’s the company culture? Will you be working late eating pizza most nights? Does the company offer a work from home option? Are there perks like pool tables and summer Fridays? Stress and fatigue from chronic overwork can affect not only personal relationships, but also your health and productivity.6 Try to find out what sort of work-life balance culture prevails. Studies have shown that physical health and mental well-being can significantly impact your career success.7

Before accepting any job, it’s important to get the full picture of where you’ll be working – you’ll likely be spending a lot of time there. It’s also important to get a feel for what type of employer you’ll be working for before you accept, so you can weigh how it will affect your overall well-being.

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1,2,5 Jacob Morgan, “The Top Ten Factors For On-The-Job Employee Happiness,” Forbes.com   Dec. 15, 2014

3 Third Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, 2015

4The Ultimate Gide to Retirement Guide: How does vesting work, exactly?’ July 2016 

Mayo Clinic Staff, “Work-life balance: Tips to reclaim control,” July 2016  

7Adam Grant, “The One Question You Should Ask About Every New Job,” Dec.19, 2015