Picking a job for more than the money

With debt and college loans at an all time high, the American public is struggling not to get ahead, but simply to break even. So it’s easy to disregard all other faucets of job provided it pays. In the short term, this method seems simple and effective enough. Show up, get paid. But under the surface, self sufficiency is much more complex than being competent and being present. I propose a few questions to ask yourself as you submit resumes, go for interviews and wait for call backs. Answer honestly and help yourself to find a job that offers more than just a paycheck.

1. What is important to you? Where do you get your fun fix?

Do you play videogames at home on the couch whenever you have a spare moment or do you participate in community sports league several nights a week? By knowing and acknowledging the things you do for fun, you make them a priority in your life – and that’s important. All work and no play makes everyone a dull soul. Consider the time, both length and frequency, that are required in a given week for you to achieve some degree of contentment and satisfaction with your life. Maybe it’s important for you to have a job with the flexibility to make 90% of your children’s extracurricular activities or perhaps you need Sundays off to attend your polka group, the only day of the week it meets.

Regardless of when or how you get your kicks in life, you’ve got to get them. It not only makes you a better person, but it makes you a better employee too. If you have something to look forward to, it makes putting in the required time to get there that much more bearable. If you do something fun and fulfilling every week, then those long days at work appear more manageable because you know your efforts will be rewarded beyond simply the financial means to do so.

Money means nothing if you haven’t the friends to spend it with nor the time to go out and spend it. To apply this logic to the job hunt, think in terms of compromise. Can you handle doing work you don’t necessarily love if it promises the time off to do the things you do love? Will you take a night or an evening shift if it means you’ll work an opposite schedule of everyone in your social group? Will you take a job that offers flexibility as it relates to your home life if it means you’re available by technology 7 days a week?

2. What about the future?

Such clichés like “Carpe Diem” and the cringe inducing “#yolo”, serve to remind us to live in the moment, seemingly good advice right? Except that as we age and acquire more responsibilities in the form of mortgages, healthcare and children, we tend to look ever increasingly toward the future. It follows naturally then, that when looking for a job we want one that will grow with us.

The longer you work the more skill you learn and the finer you hone them, making you a more valuable commodity every year spent on the job. It makes sense to find an employer who will recognize and reward your commitment and growing skill. As you job hunt consider employers who offer retirement packages, programs that pay back student loans, or exceptional insurance or savings plans. These are all perks that when combined with your salary go a long ways towards securing your future and personal peace of mind.

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Finding a great job is all about finding a good fit between what the employer can offer you and what you can offer your employer. Are you eternally enthusiastic? You’d be great in sales and marketing. Are you bored easily? Make sure you find a job that offers daily variety in the tasks you’re asked to complete. Do you struggle to play well with others? Look for positions that afford you the opportunity to complete your work in a quiet, solitary setting – maybe work at home options!

Don’t be afraid to be honest with your employer. Be confident of your strengths and aware of your weaknesses. When you acknowledge a skill deficiency make sure you express an openness and an enthusiasm to grow it into a strength. No one is perfect, despite what a resume or a facebook page might lead you to believe. Admitting you are human, albeit a dependable, trustworthy, problem solver, shows a willingness to grow, to learn, and aspire to highest levels of productivity.

These are all questions to consider when skimming the want ads for a job. It’s not just about what you can offer them, but what they can offer you too. A happy person is a productive person, a good life at home will translate to a good performance at work.