(By Lily Zhang)
“Whether you want to evaluate this based on your values or on the company brand, think about how you’ll feel to be associated with this company. Having pride for the work your company does is one of the intangible things that can make a surprising difference in how much you end up liking your job“.
Job offers come with so many emotions. You’re excited, happy, and—likely—quite relieved. This relief, while so very sweet after a long job search, can actually be kind of dangerous. You don’t want to let your desire to be done with the whole process prevent you from asking yourself some important questions about the job.
Obviously, you’ll want to ask your potential new employer some questions about the role, but then it’s time to sit down with yourself and consider what this means for you. Before you say yes to a job offer, go to a quiet place and ask yourself these eight questions.
1. Am I Comfortable With This Job—and Do I Actually Want to Do It?
Clearly, the hiring manager thinks you can do this job, but now it’s time to see if you agree. Review your day-to-day responsibilities, and see if there is there anything you just don’t feel good about. You can obviously do the job skill-wise—it’s about whether you want to or not.
2. Is This Position Interesting and Challenging?
Taking a position and then getting bored in a month is a bit of a waste. Make sure you’re not only able to do the job, you also find it difficult (in a good way) at times. Otherwise you’ll probably lose interest a lot faster than you think.
3. Do I Like My Boss and Co-workers?
Ideally, you’ll have competent, fun, and thoughtful colleagues. But one thing you might feel guilty about thinking about is whether you, you know, actually like them. This is not something to take lightly: Is this a group of people you can feel at home around?
4. Is the Work Environment Somewhere I Can Be Productive?
In other words, is the office space a place that helps you stay focused and happy? And, do you have the resources necessary for success? It can be a really wonderful job, but if you’re more productive on your commute to work than you are at work, that’s a problem.
5. Does This Job Allow for the Lifestyle I Want?
Speaking of commuting, is your commute awful? Do the hours freak you out? Is the vacation package paltry? More importantly, does the job pay well enough (or at least eventually pay well enough) for you to afford a lifestyle that makes you happy? These will all make a difference in how you feel about your job.
6. Will I Feel Professionally Satisfied?
This is evaluated differently for everyone—so it might make sense to think about or clarify your career values before answering—but consider whether your position allows you to create value for the company and if the company in turn invests in your professional development.
7. Is This a Company I’ll Be Proud to Work At?
Whether you want to evaluate this based on your values or on the company brand, think about how you’ll feel to be associated with this company. Having pride for the work your company does is one of the intangible things that can make a surprising difference in how much you end up liking your job.
8. Does This Job Fit Into My Career Narrative?
In other words, is this a short-term or long-term career move? You want to make sure you’re not taking a job just to run away from another job. Does this new position allow you to work toward a professional goal? If not, you may want to reconsider.
Hopefully, you’ll answer yes to all eight of these questions with ease, but if not, take the time to explore why that might be. It may not be a deal breaker, but it’s still good to know where this new job stands on all these fronts before you decide to take it (or not).
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.
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