Monday, May 28, 2012

Is it a Job or a Career?

Considering a job offer can be a scary proposition.  We counsel our students to consider five factors when considering a job proposal.  Sure, it's hard to turn down a job in this tough market but if you have confidence in yourself, you should make sure you start out in a career and company that is a good fit.   Here are 5 things I think are important in evaluating your job offer.

Culture:  There are books written on the subject so I'll be brief.  What does the company stand for.  Read what they say they stand for on their website and annual report.  And match that with evidence they back up their words with actions.  We are teaching our MSBA students to behave in an ethical and upright manner.  It is important to choose a company that respects that, no, demands that.  If making money at the expense of honest and ethical behavior is the norm, do you want to work there?

Growth Opportunity:  I think this is critical.  I've had students accept lower paying jobs because the company had a well defined growth plan to award top achievers.  The students knew they would be out-earned for the first 6 months or a year but had the confidence that in two years, they would catch up and surpass their peers in both salary and position.   I think some companies want to attract recruits that have that confidence and aren't simply chasing a big starting salary.  When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense

The Buzz:  What are others saying about the company?  Employees, customers, creditors, especially former employees.  Check the social media.  It's not too likely that current employees will be registering public complaints but former employees and customers sure will.  Especially look for reaction to difficult incidents; an employee layoff, a product quality issue.  Sometimes bad things happen to good companies.  Did they react with compassion and care for customers and employees?.  Try to meet with current employees in private and ask pointed questions about what's it like to work for the company.

Benefits:  I counsel students to look beyond just the starting salary.  That's important of course but don't let your ego get in the way.  There are many other factors that affect your well being and your net worth.  First of all, remember that your parents insurance no longer carries you when you are fully employed.  Health insurance is an important benefit.  Most young employees are relatively healthy so a plan that is flexible and allows you to choose from a range of coverage and cost is important.  A 401-K that has matching contributions from the employer is just plain free money.  I tell students to sacrifice whatever they must to participate fully.  That's how I was able to retire and start my second career in academia at an early age.  Don't be too concerned about vacations and days off.  You just started working, it will be minimal.  You can't afford a vacation anyway!  Put a value on these benefits.  It's usually 25% to 30% of your salary.  Feed that to your ego.

Feel:  I had a student recently turn down a highly coveted job with a big time company.  She acknowledged it was a great opportunity and she could grow and be successful there.  The people were fantastic.  Why the refusal?  It just didn't feel right.  All the nominal factors were there, salary, growth, culture, benefits, people; but there was some intangible that this employee knew was just not quite right for her.  Call it gut instinct, you'll know it when you see it.

There are jobs and there are careers.  Choose wisely.  What other things are important to you in evaluating a job offer?  

Professor Stewart McHie
Program Director, MSBA

No comments:

Post a Comment