‘Thou Shalt…’: First Job Commandments
When looking for your first job, you should consider the take-home pay, but there are many other important factors, too.
Google just called you as you are recovering from your graduation party with a $200,000 job offer. Of course you are going to drop everything and say yes! But for most people looking for their first jobs, the compensation offered may be in the more “normal” range. Still, it could be the decisive factor in accepting or rejecting an offer.
Although money is (very) important, the decision to pick one job over another is about more than just the first paycheck. At least, I think so. Here are a few other aspects of your job that you need to consider, aside from money:
1. Money, Baby! (The Entire Package, Please)
Yes, money. It’s a massively important part of our lives. Use an online salary calculator to see if a job you’ve come across pays fairly. And don’t forget to use this cost of living calculator.
A job that pays $100,000 would be fantastic for rural Kansas. But $100,000 won’t go nearly as far in the big city.
2. Location (Never at One Place)
Where do you want to live? Your hometown? Your college town? A big city far, far away? These days, for a professional, your place of work could be anywhere – ensconced at home in front your screen with your cat purring on your lap, or riding the subway to work in New York or Singapore. The choice may not be always entirely up to you, but if you do have the option, pick a place where you feel comfortable.
And if you’re ambitious and don’t mind moving out of your familiar surroundings, plan to be where the big action is. If you’re passionate about investing and finance, then consider Wall Street. On the other hand, if you’re into IT, think California – even if their water is running out.
3. Growth Potential (Unlimited)
Before I accepted my first job, I talked to the company’s current analysts to get a real picture of the company culture. I was particular about details on their promotion policy and the career trajectory for young employees.
Fulfillment. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Money, location, and growth potential don’t mean much if we don’t feel fulfilled.
Like a wise man once said, if you find something that you like to do, it won’t feel like work.
When you’re fresh out of college, neck-deep in debt after years of dining on ramen noodles and tap water, you want money, and you want it immediately. But be patient – not too patient. Just a little. Find work that you love to do. Money will come. And you’ll be a lot happier.
5. The Environment ( On-Site Ping Pong)
When I started my first job, the dress code was professional. We weren’t allowed to eat at our desks. We couldn’t use our cell phones. It was bleak.
I should have considered my environment before choosing that job.
All that stuff may sound trivial, but it had a big impact on company morale. I resented these policies greatly. If I was stuck on a three-hour impromptu conference call that started at 11, I would get hungry while at my desk.
But things improved. First, they allowed us to eat at our desks. Next, we got microwaves in the break rooms. And before you knew it, we were talking on cell phones and wearing jeans five days a week! Everyone was happier, and our stock price continued to soar.
Strict policies are becoming less and less of a problem in American corporate culture. Heck, the Kansas City Federal Reserve even has some surprising perks. When I interviewed there, they told me about an in-house masseuse and a discounted oil-change service located inside the parking garage!