Recently I wrote about when you know it’s time to quit your job and start a side hustle but there are several reasons (timing, money, location) why you might not be ready to turn your entrepreneurship into a full-time gig. Here are things to keep in mind when considering a new job.
3 Things to Remember When Looking for a New Job
- The benefits are the culture.
- Trust is more important than money.
- Where you live is more important than where you work.
The Benefits Are the Culture
I can read the culture of a business by its benefits — salary, vacation, and health care. Unlimited time off? Nope. We left that back in 2015. No salary or salary range in the listing? That tells me you don’t want your other employees knowing how much (or how little) you’re paying them. Bottom-shelf insurance policy? Now I’m calculating how much of my paycheck will have to make up for your penny pinching. Benefits can be an expensive investment for new companies, but for any established business with consistent revenue it sets the tone for how employees are valued.
If you’ve spent any time in the world of digital marketing, you know employers like to boast about their culture. For example, culture is what Peter Thiel told Airbnb to focus on after investing $150 million. In this instance, it seems “culture” means lack of regulations, which admittedly has worked out well (economically speaking) for market disruptors like Airbnb. But this particular culture has also generated absolute nightmare fuel. But I digress....
What you should expect to learn from a prospective employer is how existing employees feel about the company. You shouldn’t just get to know chief executives, HR and managers. If they don’t offer, you should request to speak to some of your would-be peers about the culture and benefits. In other words, don’t let them tell you; make sure they show you what the real quality of life at the company is through the eyes of existing employees.
Trust Over Money
Now this may seem contradictory as I just said don’t believe the hype around company culture, but even more important than salary and benefits is a boss or manager that trusts you. This starts at the interview level. Did they need a long cover letter and multiple rounds of interviews? Or did they look over your credentials and trust your background?
I’ve been at jobs where a boss looks over my shoulder and wants constant updates about exactly what I’m doing every day. It’s horrible and it’s essentially two jobs: One job is actually doing the work and the other is proving you did the work. Great places to work provide employees the guidance and tools to keep people on track and aware of what the rest of the team is doing. From Monday.com to Airtable, collaborative software is key to staying on target without micromanagement. If a company trusts you to do the work they hired you for, that’s worth thousands of dollars a year in my book.
Where You Live Is More Important Than Where You Work
Tens of millions of people were forced to start working from home due to the pandemic. Millions will never go back to an office. I understand the importance of a collective, creative space to collaborate. However, I can’t fathom why it’s necessary to travel miles and miles round trip every day simply to sit in front of a computer (which you can do at home). That time adds up, as does the cost of commuting. The city where you live and your proximity to your workplace also has a huge impact on your quality of life. I’d also venture to guess that happier, more well-rested employees have more impact on a company’s culture than a ping-pong table and kombucha on tap.
I’ve worked for companies all over and traveled around the country for clients managing various projects: digital marketing, PR, advertising, branding, product consulting, research and investment rounds. Through all of that I found Boston is my home. I love the community. I need to be here to be my best. No matter what type of work I’m doing in a particular field, Boston is where I’ll be doing it.
Find a place that’s home to you. You’ll be happier doing whatever you’re doing in a place where you feel like you belong. A dream job will never be worth living somewhere you feel unfulfilled, or worse, a place you despise.