In the weeks and months that follow earning a degree from a college or university, thousands of recent grads enter the competitive world of employment hoping to land a dream job.
While some college grads secure a position before they have a degree in hand, many don’t. Most get their first “grown-up” job after graduation.
Even though “life after college” can be overwhelming, all the hard work and the hours spent searching, applying, and interviewing for the right job will pay off and you will end up with a job offer (maybe even a few).
Money and benefits are typically the most significant determining factors when trying to decide whether or not to accept a job, but there are other things to consider before saying yes to your soon-to-be employer.
1. The Company’s Reputation
When you apply for a position with a company, it’s best to do some research on the company to make sure it’s a place you want to work. If you didn’t read up on a company before applying or interviewing with them and have an offer, it’s a good idea to do some research before you fill out paperwork and become an employee.
A quick Internet search can pull up some incriminating evidence about a company if there is some. Depending on the type of company, you might be able to read online reviews by the Better Business Bureau or other similar sites.
Even if you have a good feeling about the company and they “laid” everything out during the interview, you should still do a little background check to make sure it’s an excellent place to be an employee.
2. How Much Time Will You Spend Commuting?
In a perfect world, many of us would work from home or a short 5-minute walk or drive from work, but most of us spend a lot of time commuting to and from work every day.
According to Tom Tom’s Traffic Index, American commuters spend over 150 hours a year stuck in traffic going to and from work; some of the worst cities include Seattle and Los Angeles.
Even if you opt not to drive to work and take advantage of mass transit options, you might still spend hours a day getting to and from work. While a commute is inevitable for many American workers, you may want to think twice before becoming an employee of a company that’s hours away.
3. Your Life Outside of Work
When you start a new job, it’s not uncommon to spend a little extra time learning the ropes. Even if the salary and benefits package is everything you want from a job, you’ll want to think about how the new career will affect your life outside of work.
Whether you have a family, share an apartment with roommates, or have a pet, it’s important to make sure that the job won’t infringe too much on your personal life or your downtime.
A well-paying career is undoubtedly essential, but it’s just as important to have time away from work and spend it doing things that you love or spending time with people who make you happy. If any of that is at risk of changing, it may not be the ideal job after all.
4. The Office Culture
Working for a company that has a bunch of “zany” employees is never as fun as portrayed on TV. There’s always that chance that there are a few coworkers or supervisors who will get under your skin. This makes the workday a little rough.
If you find the people unbearable, it may not be worth the paycheck and benefits. Low morale, or employees who spend the day gossiping or complaining more than working, can make things unbearable.
A toxic work environment can wreck the productivity and reputation of the company, beyond simply exhausting you.
5. Is Workplace Safety Valued?
No matter where you work, or what field, your prospective employer should value your safety. Before you accept a position with a company, ask them about their workplace safety policies.
Do they have Workers’ Compensation Insurance and offer proper safety training for every employee in the company?
If you work in an office setting, will the employer provide you with ergonomic office equipment to prevent work-related strains? If will be doing manual type tasks, is there adequate safety gear? Is relevant information about workplace safety posted clearly? These are all things to consider and ask, before accepting a position.
A workplace-related accident could result in a life-altering injury or even death; don’t accept a job with a company that doesn’t value every employee’s safety.
6. Is There Room For Growth?
Many people assume when accepting a new job that promotion and other opportunities are inevitable at some point. While many companies won’t (and can’t) guarantee development, it’s important to think about if the career is “enough” for you even if you never officially advance in the company.
Not only should a company help you grow professionally, but how will the job help you improve? Is there an opportunity to share your ideas and learn new skills?
7. Does the Company Make You Proud To Be An Employee?
You might not know how you’ll feel about your prospective employer until you officially join the company. But, big question here, do you feel proud to land a job with the company? If you’re not excited, or outright ashamed, to tell others where you’ll be working, these could be signs to keep looking.
Again, money and benefits are essential when it comes to employment. However, you should also feel good about going to work. Otherwise, it becomes incredibly hard to dedicate your time and energy to a company. Even though you might not love every day at work, you should enjoy it a majority of the time.
Disliking your job, or not agreeing with a company you work for, can affect your productivity in the workplace. It can negatively impact how you interact with others, and even your personal life and your overall wellbeing negatively.