Decision making can be regarded as one of the most important skills one can possess in today’s age, where we are surrounded by hundreds of options for the smallest of needs. A simple night out involving dinner and a movie can present a vast number of options to choose from, making the whole evening exhaustive to begin with. We often find ourselves surfing through various television channels or streaming services, looking for that best show or movie only to end up frustrated without making any choice at all!
However, when it comes to making some of the biggest decisions in our life, such as choosing between job offers, a very simplistic approach is followed by most of us – Follow the Money.
While money is certainly a huge motivating factor, we must evaluate our choices more objectively. Making a wrong decision only based on the salary being offered could wreak havoc on your overall existence. I’d like to share from my personal experience and how I saved myself from living a stressful and unhappy life. Here are 4 simple factors* to consider before choosing your next job.
*These factors could be used for someone transitioning from one job to another or even for recent graduates who find themselves at the crossroads
1. Are you in love with your work?
The first and the biggest factor to consider is NOT money! It is evaluating the kind of work you are expected to perform at your new job. Let’s be honest, you will be spending more than a third of your day at work, five days a week, and if you do not even like your job, you will only be sulking each day. If you are somebody who is looking for a specific job requiring a specific set of skills, and the new job lacks these attributes, the answer is NO. We all love challenges and often enjoy working when we can complete those challenges successfully. When the challenge factor in a job is low, the answer is again NO.
If you are already employed, then you must ask yourself “How excited am I to take on this new role and work?” For recent graduates, it may be hard to figure out these aspects, but it is your duty to ask questions related to the kind of work to be done during the interview process. Not only does it make a good impression, but will give you a clear idea whether you will tap dance to work or sulk through it!
2. Work Life Balance
We live in a fast changing world with unending deadlines to accomplish. However, you must realize that your job is a part of your life, it isn’t your life. In order to lead a happy life, you must have the opportunity to enjoy life outside the workplace. Spending quality time with family and friends must always be a priority and you should not compromise this for a little more money when selecting your job.
There are several websites like glassdoor, where current and past employees of a company share valuable feedback ranging from growth opportunities, salary and work life balance. Do your research before you make a decision, contact some of the team members through LinkedIn to understand the company culture. You wish to be surrounded by smart intelligent people who not only cherish what they do, but also value their life outside the workplace.
3. Fascinated by tall glass buildings are we?
Your next step is to analyze the location of your workplace. If you are easily fascinated by the thought of living in big cities, read on. It may sound tempting and a bit pompous to be working in one of the major cities surrounded by tall glass buildings and major corporate offices, but there is also a downside that needs to be considered. While the big city may be your ideal place with great nightlife and party spots, it also comes with a price tag. It is imperative to understand the cost of living differences between different cities where you may work.
One of the easiest ways to see a comparison is by using bankrate.com, which draws a detailed analysis of the cost of living difference between two cities. For example, I compared the costs between the cities of Atlanta and New York and found that my living cost in New York would be 29% higher. Not only can I see the overall difference, but the analysis also shows me various housing, dining and utility cost comparisons. While both these cities are considered major metros, the cost of living can be a major concern when planning a future.
Another aspect that also must be taken into account, is the weather of the chosen city. If you are somebody who enjoys the cold snowy weather, you wouldn’t mind living in freezing weather, but for those who crave for a balmy weather year round, New York would certainly not be the place to choose. Other non-quantifiable factors such as travel time must also be accounted for.
And lastly …
The last thing to consider is usually our first point in decision making which obscures the importance of all other factors above – Money! Yes, money is important, and we all work hard for it to be able to meet those deadlines for our bill payments. While negotiating a salary package, you must also compare the benefits offered by each company. Understand the health insurance, vacation, maternity/paternity and retirement policies thoroughly before signing that offer letter for the company offering the highest base salary. Sometimes a lower salary can be coupled with extraordinary benefits such as paid maternity leave or more vacation days. In all, you must consider all the factors listed above in order to make a sound decision between having money or having a LIFE with money.
Let us take the example of choosing between Atlanta and New York, and the company in Atlanta offered a salary of $65,000 whereas the one in New York is offering $75,000. At first sight just a difference of $10,000 is enough to decide your next destination, but let’s analyze the factors deeper.
Keeping all other factors from the kind of work, work life balance and benefits the same for both companies, you are now looking to choose only based on the difference in location of each company. You realize that New York is 29% more expensive, therefore a $75,000 salary is essentially equivalent to only $58,000 in Atlanta, thereby reversing your decision of picking New York.
This objective approach will save you from being in a cycle of constantly searching for that perfect job and allow you to enjoy your work as well as life. I hope the next time you are at a crossroads, you will be reminded of this post before you make a decision 🙂
Be Frugal, Be Smart, Be Rich!