You were recently laid off or fired, and now all you can think of is how you’re going to make it through the next couple of months. Your emergency savings is dwindling, and you only have enough to cover your mortgage payments for another two months. Consequently, you take the first job that’s offered to you. It’s now two months later, and you’re wondering what you were thinking. Your boss hates you, your co-workers are terrible gossips, and you’re ready to leave during your lunch break and never come back.
When you’re looking for a new job, sometimes it’s easy to let your desperation take over and blind you to aspects of the job that aren’t a good match for you. However, jumping at the first job offer without careful thought could lead to a world of misery. Take time to ensure the jobs you apply for are a good fit when it comes to personality, experience, financial needs, and work-life balance. Your quality of life could be greatly affected by a poor job choice. Here are five factors you shouldn’t overlook when looking for a job.
1. A boss you can tolerate
You can work for the best company on the planet, but if Dr. Evil is your boss, it doesn’t matter. Each hour of your day will be spent trying to survive. Know that management style is everything. If you’re wildly independent but end up working for a horrible boss, this isn’t going to work out in the long run. Sure, you can pay your bills, but over time the frustration won’t be worth it. You’ll likely be so stressed out by working with your supervisor that you won’t be able to enjoy your job, or your life. A bad work experience tends to seep into the rest of your social interactions, so until you get your work situation straightened out, you’ll likely be a cranky mess.
2. Work hours
If you’re a night owl, working a day shift might not be for you. You would probably be better of finding a job that allows you to work nights. We’re all different. Some people produce their best work during the day, and others don’t really start becoming productive until after dark. Find out what times work best for you and make a point to identify jobs that can accommodate your work rhythm.
The experts at Quinyx say good work hours are not only beneficial to employees but also employers. When employees produce during times that work best for them, the business is also more productive. “Good schedules are like a good motor oil. When they work well, they help the business achieve maximum performance. When they aren’t working effectively, the business will grind to a halt. A good schedule is about getting people in the right place at the right time and, importantly, doing the right task. At the same time, effective scheduling allows businesses to empower their employees, become more productive, and ultimately deliver a better service to their customers,” said the Quinyx experts on their website.
3. A salary you can live on
Working for a cause you believe in is great, but you still need to eat. Passion won’t pay your mortgage and feed your children (unless Passion is the name of your rich sugar mama). Make sure you can make ends meet with the salary being offered. If you see a job that interests you, don’t immediately discount it. Interview for the job and then make your case for a higher salary during salary negotiations. Just make sure to back up your request with solid research.
You might be willing to travel to the ends of the earth for your job now, but that will change. A long commute will wear you down and leave little time for you to wind down when you get home at the end of a rough work day. Any commute longer than one hour might be a problem. However, if you like long commutes, carry on. If don’t like long commutes but don’t have much choice, use the time to read or catch up on emails. If you’re driving, find some interesting podcasts you can listen to.
5. Work culture
Company culture is important. If you’re a poor culture fit, it won’t be pleasant to work with your employer a few months down the road. You’ll always feel like the odd person out. You can get more information about a company’s culture by asking specific questions during your interview. Ask what a typical day is like at the company as well as what type of employee the company values most.
Culture fit is also important to hiring managers. This is one of the first factors they tend to assess. David Waring, co-founder of Fit Small Business, told The Cheat Sheet poor culture fit is enough of a reason not to extend a job offer. “If both candidates are equally qualified, then the make-or-break will be whether or not they are a cultural fit,” Waring said.