When times are challenging, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll take any job you can get. However, it’s generally wise to be prudent. Accepting a job offer can alter the course of your life. You may have to move to a new city and adapt to a new work environment. Your future is also at stake. An unwise decision can be harmful to your finances, career, and happiness.
Ask yourself these important questions before accepting a job offer:
- Can I be happy here? This is a very general question that takes all factors into consideration. It can also be a gut-level decision. There are companies that just “feel right” for some unknown reason. Others just feel wrong. Ask yourself if the overall culture and feel of the company are a good match for your preferences, needs, and personality.
- Where is the company going? Even companies headed for bankruptcy can have positions to fill. Educate yourself on the past and projected future for the company. Is it in a dying industry? Is the company suffering financial problems? What are the prospects for the company over the next 10-20 years?
- Is my pay fair for the job description and my abilities? This is the most important factor for many job seekers. While money isn’t everything, it’s the primary reason 99% of us work.
- Most jobs pay fairly, but this isn’t always true. You should know what you’re worth and what the market is willing to pay. Is your job offer in line with the industry? Is the salary sufficient to meet your financial obligations?
- Do I have room to grow? Smaller companies and departments can have limited opportunities for growth. This might be fine if you’re a younger, single professional with the ability to move every three years. It might not be as feasible if you have school-age children that need more stability to thrive.
- Are the benefits adequate? Avoid only considering the salary. How much is the medical insurance? How good is the coverage? Is the 401(k) program attractive?
- How much vacation will you receive? How many years will it take to earn another week of vacation? Consider all of the benefits before signing on the bottom line.
- Do I like my supervisor? A new job can be great in every other way, but a bad boss can make your life miserable. The best managers are clear in their directions and grow their employees for the next level. Ensure that you can work effectively with your new boss.
- Do I like my coworkers? There are few positions that don’t require interacting with your coworkers. Ask to meet with the people that you’d be working with on a daily basis. Does it seem like a place with friendly, helpful people? You should already have a feel for the Human Resources department, too.
- Will I enjoy living in this area? $50,000 a year might be enough to live like a king in rural Iowa, but you might find yourself struggling in Southern California. How do you feel about the climate and the people? Is there enough to do? If you love the city, living in the country might be difficult.
A new job offer is an exciting event. Few things can change your life more than a new job. Proceed cautiously and avoid focusing solely on the salary. There are many other factors to consider. Ask yourself the important questions before signing on the dotted line.