Should You Work There?

Feb 2, 2018 by

The decision to go on the job market is terrifying as well as exhilarating. There’s so much to think about, from the shoes you wear to an interview to the font you use on your resume. There’s also so much that seems out of your control. What if the person interviewing you is cranky because he didn’t get any of the donuts in the break room at breakfast? What if you have the same name as your recruiter’s mean ex-boyfriend? If you’re lucky, all those questions will resolve themselves and you’ll get multiple job offers. Then you’ll have a tough decision to make. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still going to involve a lot of thinking and perhaps a bit of agonizing.

The office environment

When you traveled to the office for your interview, what did you notice about the building? Would you be working on the third floor of a new building in a trendy office park, or would you be working in an old building downtown that’s located fifty feet from the railroad tracks? A building in a nice office park might mean the company is in better financial shape, or it might mean they signed a long-term lease years ago before real estate prices went up. Think about your comfort level in each type of setting. Some employees will barely notice if they’re working in an office where pieces of the roof occasionally fall off and land on their desk. For other employees, the decaying building may be all they’re able to think about. There are also certain industries that, generally speaking, are expected to have nicer facilities. A public school building that’s old and out-of-date isn’t a big deal, because teachers are (unfortunately) used to cuts in funding, but a supposedly rich tech company that operates out of a space the size of a utility closet will probably raise some eyebrows.

The perks

Things like company health insurance and a 401(k) are pretty standard benefits at this point, but not all health insurance plans or 401(k) are created equal. If everything else is pretty much equal, health insurance with a $1,000 annual deductible is always a better choice than health insurance with a $3,000 annual deductible. Do you need to add a spouse or child to your health insurance? That’s going to cost you a lot more at some places than it will at others.

Would accepting this job require you to move? If so, make sure you get as much information as possible about the relocation package before you start calling moving companies. A new hire who’s moving to Vancouver, WA, will have different needs than a new hire that’s headed to Vancouver, British Columbia, but in both cases, the company should do all that it can to make sure each person feels supported. If a company wants you to move five hundred miles but refuses to provide any kind of reimbursement, that’s a red flag, or at least an orange flag. Moving expenses may not matter as much if you’re happy with the salary you’ll be making at your new job, but if a company is ridiculously cheap, it’s best to find out before you pack up all your earthly possessions and head to a completely new city.

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