The final interview went really well. You’ve got the job contract in your hands. It’s time to sign on the dotted line. But hold it right there! Does your new job fulfil important criteria so that you enjoy the role and stay in the job long-term?
According to a study done by Crindle, the average Australian stays in a job for just 3 years and 4 months. In fact, according to the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) the younger generation (under 25s) stay in a job for just 1 year and 8 months!
So what should you look out for before you leap into that new role? Let’s find out what most employees want when they move to a new job to get the job satisfaction they deserve.
First things first: Is the salary being offered better than what you got in your previous job?
If not, does it offer non-monetary perks (free parking, flexible working hours, one-year maternity leave) or very high bonuses? Let’s face it, you need cold hard cash to live – to pay your rent/mortgage, kids’ school fees and activities, living expenses, and yes, even holidays. You don’t want to be penny pinching and putting undue financial stress on yourself in a new role. Your pay structure says a lot about the job and the company – employers that don’t pay well are less likely to value your worth.
Most experts agree that a reasonable salary is needed to attract – and retain – employees as well as to keep them motivated and satisfied. You also need to be paid fairly in comparison to your co-workers.
Does the role excite you? Is it something you are passionate about? Does the job allow you to make decisions and give you a sense responsibility and ownership?
Remember, you will be spending a solid 8-10 hours of your day at work, so make sure it’s doing something challenging and/or fulfilling. Your new job should make the best use of your abilities, give you a sense of accomplishment and teach you new skills. Research shows that if you have some form of control over what you do then you’re more likely to be happy at work, leading to job satisfaction.
According to a study done by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW), although Australia has made some inroads into achieving work-life balance, we are still among the bottom third of OECD countries when it comes to working long hours. About 20 percent of Australian men and 7 percent of women worked 50 hours or more per week in 2015.
Thanks to our smart phones and remote access, the notion of a ‘standard working week’ had changed significantly. This means that while some of us have gained the benefit of flexible hours and working from home, most of our jobs demand that we’re on call 24/7. There is no ‘Off’ switch. Companies that realise the importance of a good work-life balance have a much better track record of retaining good staff.
Ask the recruitment manager if this job allows you to grow – either moving laterally into a different department doing a role that utilises your transferable skills or moving upward in terms of promotions.
You don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end job that offers little in terms of career progress. Your new role should offer opportunities for career development, advancement and workplace training. Career progression allows staff to grow and learn which promotes loyalty and staff retention. It also helps to work for a company that has a good reputation and one that you feel proud to work for.
A good manager
When you went to the job interview, did you have a chance to meet the manager you’d be reporting to? Did you ‘click’ instantly or did warning bells ring? Do you think you could build a strong working relationship with your boss? Did s/he show signs of being a good manager by showing a passion for the job and a can-do attitude? Did s/he inspire others and lead by example?
According to a Harvard Business Review article, good managers “routinely spent time in the trenches with employees, passing on technical skills, general tactics, business principles, and life lessons. Their teaching was informal and organic, flowing out of the tasks at hand. And it had an unmistakable impact: Their teams and organizations were some of the highest-performing in their sectors.”
If you can’t stand the people you work with, chances are you can’t stand your job either. Conversely, when you enjoy the company of your co-workers it makes Mondayitis a lot easier to deal with. You function cohesively as a team and you value the camaraderie you share on and off the job.
A LinkedIn Relationships @Work study found that 46% of work professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness. They help us feel connected, making us more motivated and productive. Given that we spend the most of our day at the workplace, it helps to have a friendly face in the next cubicle so that you can share the good times and vent about bad ones.
In her book ‘How to be Happy at Work: The Power of Purpose, Hope, and Friendship’, author and leadership advisor Annie McKee stresses on the importance of having resonant, friendly relationships at work, “Connecting with people boosts our mood and our morale, and friendships provide us with the emotional and psychological strength to deal with whatever comes our way — whether an exciting opportunity, a challenge or a crisis."
Of course, there are downsides to forming friendships at workplace, such as cliques, divided loyalties, gossip mongering and loss of time, but evidence suggests that these can be can be kept in check.
Yes, there are other points like a short commute, flexible working arrangements, company perks, etc. that might be high on your priority list, so the best advice is to write down your personal must-haves and see if your new job can satisfy them.
If your new job doesn’t fulfil all the requirements, you don’t need to say bye-bye to it. As long as it meets your top 3-5 criteria that you consider essential and non-negotiable, you should be able to “work” around the others.
If you’d like more career advice in landing and making the most out of a fulfilling job, be sure to check out more of SkillsTalk’s career articles here.