“I feel sorry for the person who can’t get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.” Walter Chrysler
When considering a job offer, many jobseekers focus only on the salary and benefits. But there’s more to work than what you bring home in your paycheck. Here are three factors you might not think to consider that can make a big difference in job satisfaction:
Big company versus small: There are advantages to both large and small companies, and your job satisfaction can be heavily influenced by company size. In a small company, you may be asked to “wear several hats,” or pitch in on many projects or tasks that are not strictly in your job description. The down side to that is that you may prefer to stick to your field of expertise; the up side is that you will gain many new skills, and the confidence to solve any problem. It’s also very satisfying for some people to be involved in the decision making process, and to be able to go straight to the boss with problems. In a large company, you will be asked to follow more formal procedures and will probably have a more defined job description; the up side is having more resources and a bigger team to get things done.
What is the physical environment like? You’ll be spending more time at work than at home some days, and an uncomfortable or unorganized working environment can wear on you. Cubicle living means lots of distractions and noise and little privacy – not to mention little wall space for art or mementos. If the open space in the office is run down or cluttered, you may be tempted to hole up in your own office, which could impact your effectiveness. If the environment seems chaotic while you’re interviewing, don’t be afraid to ask if that day is a typical day. It’s possible that the office is in the process of reorganizing or remodeling.
Who are your customers? It’s common to give careful consideration to your future coworkers when considering a job, but many people forget to consider who they’ll be serving every day. Classic examples of this oversight come when people enter the medical field. One physical therapist stated that she loved the idea of helping people, but eventually got worn down by dealing with people in pain every day. “Many of my clients were severely depressed, and I had trouble maintaining my own mental health after a while,” she said. Think about whether you’ll be working with very busy people, people under stress, or customers with special needs like the elderly or very young.
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