“Never settle,” said Steve Jobs in his infamous commencement speech to Stanford graduates in 2005. He was referring to the search for a better career, and his words have stuck with me ever since. If you’re looking for a new job, you too may have realised the dangers associated with getting too comfortable in your current role.
7 things to consider before taking on the new job
However, if your career has stagnated or stalled, it is easy to make the mistake of jumping the gun without thinking everything through. Before taking on a new job, there are numerous things to consider, because what at first may appear to be grass of the greenest kind on the other side of the fence, might actually end up being another muddy field into which you’re career aspirations will sink.
I’ve been there, done that and have taken my lessons with me throughout my career. So, it’s time for you to learn from my mistakes as I offer 7 things to consider before taking on that new job.
1. Career progression and stability
As exciting as the new job may seem on paper, you need to dig a little deeper.
During the interview process, make it clear that you would like to have access to some form of career progression. You’re not asking to become the CEO on week two, so don’t worry about offending anyone – you just need to know there’ll be the opportunity to grow and move beyond the initial position for which you’re applying. Equally, you want to know that the role isn’t a flash in the pan or a short-term consideration as far as the employer is concerned. An unstable job isn’t worth moving to.
2. Salary and benefits
Money matters and there’s absolutely no harm in asking yourself serious questions about the package on offer for your new job. Is it a step up from where you are now? Is it a step down? If it’s the latter, is it either augmented by achievable bonuses or does the change in career justify the wage decrease?
If you’re taking a hit because you want to built a different career, just make sure you can still pay the bills and live comfortably.
Consider the benefits. Are you losing a company car you currently have? If so, you’ll probably need to buy a vehicle of your own. The same might go for IT equipment such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Consider the cost of changing jobs. Demand for a certain industry also influence the salary rates being offered. If you’re thinking of changing careers, try and look at the state of the industry too. Technology and computer related jobs being in high demand, are among the best paid with the average salary for a software engineer earning six figures annually, if your career plan has a similar path.
We spend as much – if not more – of our waking time with colleagues as we do with family members. It therefore stands to reason that picking the right bunch of people to work with is an important consideration when moving jobs.
It’s tricky, this one, because you probably won’t fully discover the characters traits of new colleagues until you’re settled into the role. The interview is quite a good indicator, though, and if you liked the people asking the questions, there’s a good chance the rest of the company is made up of likeminded individuals.
The smaller things count, too. What’s the dress code like? Does the way the office is decorated fit with your own personality?
4. Your responsibilities
When considering a new job, remember to contrast the pay with the responsibilities. Are you being asked to do too much and look after too many people or too big a budget for little recompense?
Equally, do the responsibilities match your ambitions? Are you being tasked with overseeing the thing or people you aspire to?
Even if the responsibilities on offer are very well recompensed, don’t fall into the trap of trying to earn too much. Your work-life balance will suffer greatly as a result.
Long commutes can destroy careers and create unhappiness at home. If you’ve found a dream job but it is a two hour commute each way, give serious consideration to the impact the travel time will have on your life. You’ll be leaving early and returning late every day, so test the journey and be honest; is it simply too far?
Jobs can be too close, too. Sure, walking around the corner to the office sounds like a dream, but do you want to live in such close proximity to your working life?
6. It is really what you want to do?
If things aren’t going well at your current place of work, don’t assume the grass is greener elsewhere. No business is perfect, and if you’re chasing a different job because you’re unhappy, you need to make sure you catch the right one.
Keep your options open. If you think you’ve found a new job that fits the bill, put it to the test by applying for a job which is markedly different. Once interviewed, do you still feel the same about the first job you found?
When job hunting, start by asking the question: is this really what I want to do? We can turn to Steve Jobs again here, who quite rightly pointed out that, if you can’t look yourself in the mirror each morning and say that you’d want to do what you’re about to do if it was your last day on earth, you need to change something. Find what you love.
7. Is the company reputable?
We now live in a world of commerce driven by the consumer. Online reviews are available for businesses in nearly every industry imaginable. It has therefore never been easier to suss out the perceived reputation of the company you are hoping to work for. They may not be all sweetness and light, after all.
The right job is out there, but before taking on what you think to be the perfect new career, you must ask yourself some pretty direct questions. There are tips abound when it comes to getting the job you always wanted, but don’t let the hunt for perfection get in the way of an honest assessment about whether or not the new role is right for you.