Great news! You’ve been through all the job hunting, all the interviewing, you’ve put in countless hours of time, and now you have a job offer. You should take it, right? Not so fast. This job may not be to your benefit; it may be more detrimental to your career than you realize. The most important thing is to understand what you are accepting. The job isn’t the only thing you will have to agree with and willing to devote 8 hours of your daily life. It’s also your fellow employees and managers, the culture, the policies, and external forces you and your company have no control over.
Let’s start with the job itself
The job is what your daily tasks are and what you will be accountable for. When you interviewed did you ask questions such as:
- What will I be doing on a daily basis
- What am I accountable for
- Who will I be working with and for. (Did you meet these people)
- What is the culture like and how does it effect my particular job
These are a few good starting questions that will help you get the nitty gritty of your job and what it will be like to actually live it. Some jobs sound great on paper and through the recruiters mouth, but once you are made aware of the details, things can change. Remember, the hiring manager is also trying to sell you the position so wouldn’t it make sense that they would paint things in a positive light? The main point is to put yourself in the new position and think about what you liked and didn’t like about your last jobs, and then try to figure out if this job will be beneficial to you. You don’t want to get a job and then wish you hadn’t.
You are going to have to work with people, know matter what, so would you join a Miami Dolphins fan club if you’re a die-hard Bills fan? Doubt it. When you are in an interview ask questions about who you will be working with and see if you can meet them. Both managers and fellow employees can make or break a great job. Some managers are micro-managers and others are not. Which one do you prefer? You can ask them this directly or try to get your answer by asking roundabout questions about deadlines, policies, and the tracking of employee performance. The way they answer will give you clues as to how involved they are in their employees daily work. Now that you know about the people and your job, you have a better picture of what your daily life will be in this new position, but you also have to think about the overall mix between the two. This is where culture comes in.
The job is the one you’ve always wanted and you feel you will have a great time working with your new coworkers and managers, but what about the culture? Is it an easy going culture or a by-the-book one? Do the overall ethics of the company fit yours? Is the atmosphere one you’d like? These are all things to take into account when figuring out the company and its personally. Just think of Tops and Wegmans. They both have their pros and cons and their staunch supporters. They both sell the same things pretty much so why do some people prefer one over the other? It’s the culture. Don’t believe people when they say it comes down to price. Just like salary isn’t the only important thing about a job.
Policies are a part of culture because they will determine how the employees make decisions. Check with the interviewer and other employees on their perspective of the culture. What is important is to know how the company functions as an organism and what it does when there is change. This is the next part of the job picture: How does the company as a whole manage internal and external change.
Business is based on competition. A business is convincing consumers to choose it’s product and services over another, but it’s the employees that do the actual marketing, customer service, and organizing of it all. As we all know from 2008, the world isn’t always in an economic boom. Some company’s laid off employees, some hired more people, and others cut costs to maintain its current workforce. This is important because you need to know how the company will react to lower revenues. Will they have layoffs, will they cut benefits like childcare, gym memberships, or will they change work hours. Unions can help prevent some of these or reduce the amount of change, but in a lot of office jobs, there is no union so you are on your own when management wants to make some changes.
In addition, you may be really good at analysis so management may decide to give you different responsibilities or change your entire job completely. You could go along with these changes because it seems like a promotion or job enrichment, but what if you end up not enjoying your new responsibilities or new manager?
This will not be your last job
Finally, make sure the job will be beneficial to your overall career path. The feeling you get when offered a job is amazing, especially when you’ve been unemployed for a long time. Go ahead, jump for joy because you did it, and then take a moment to think whether this new job is right for you.