Money Isn’t Everything

By Lisa Cohn, PHR

Let’s face it.  No one ever thinks they make enough money.  Whether your company is non-profit or for-profit, large or small, nearly everyone thinks they deserve a larger paycheck.  With that said, there are so many other important factors and benefits to consider in your job search aside from your ideal salary and 401K package.  After having worked in different fields and for organizations from small non-profits to larger corporations, I’ve come to realize that money is important, but not always the most significant factor to consider related to your job and career.

I recently moved from Baltimore City to Howard County with the whole gang- husband, 2 year old daughter, and mutt.  While I was packing up boxes and moving, I started to question whether I should consider looking for a different job. After all, I was taking on a larger mortgage and adding an extra hour onto my daily commute. I ended up making a list of the pros and cons and was surprised how many items were on the plus side for staying at my current job:  flexible work schedule (leaving early on Fridays and being close to daycare), supportive work culture (team-oriented atmosphere), and professional development opportunities (able to attend seminars and conferences and take on new job assignments).  This exercise really got me thinking about how much I valued my personal work relationships with coworkers and feeling part of a team, as well as having a work-life balance for my family.  In the end, staying put was worth the compromise.

An article on LinkedIn called “What employee perks best motivate staff?” really spoke to me when writing this blog. The article talked about how traditional employee benefits such as salary, insurance and holidays are great, but actually not as effective in attracting new workforce talent.

Here are some non-financial work benefits to consider that may be of interest to you during your job search.

  • Flexible Work Schedule: Are you allowed to set your own hours and schedule?  Is remote work an option either fulltime or as a hybrid schedule with some days in the office and some days remotely? Do they close early for “Summer Fridays” like many major city businesses now do?  How does the employer handle snow days when schools are closed?
  • Benefit Package: Does the benefit package meet your and your family’s personal needs, and is it cost effective?  Do they offer tuition reimbursement or continuing education classes?
  • Health & Wellness: Is there an on-site gym, or does the employer offer a free or discounted membership?  Some companies even have wellness lunch and learn programs, or smoking cessation and weight loss classes.
  • Organizational Values & Behaviors: Is the organization giving back to the community? If so, is it woven into their busines and daily operations and does it align with your core values? Do they have a social or environmental conscience that is particularly important to you?
  • Physical Environment: Would you be comfortable in a cubicle, or would you prefer a desk with a window?  Consider also if you prefer working in the city, or a residential town.   And if you don’t have personal vehicle, is the company accessible via public transportation?
  • Work Culture: Is there a supportive team environment?  Do people socialize during the day, or do people work independently?  If there are company outings like baseball games, happy hours or virtual events would you enjoy attending?
  • Dress Code: Does your company have casual Fridays or other dress down options?
  • Time Off & Holidays: Does this company offer enough time off for work/life balance for friends, families and mental wellness?
  • Work Proximity: Will the drive wear you out, or is it worth it? If you have children, are there daycare options close to work?
  • Technology & Resources: Are you looking to work at an innovative company?  Check out the current employee resources and software programs.  Do they offer employees laptops and IPads, and are they working remotely and virtually for meetings and programs?
  • Professional Development: Are there opportunities for advancement and professional and personal growth?  Are raises and promotions connected to yearly evaluations?  Are there lateral moves available to gain additional skills and experience? How are rewards given?
  • Other: Some companies even have an employee cafeteria, or offer discounts for things such as dry-cleaning, movies, or community events.

I know it’s unrealistic to think that money doesn’t matter, as you do have to be able pay your bills and support your lifestyle, but you also need to factor in your own happiness, and your personal and professional goals.  It’s important to prioritize what’s most essential to you in a job and to hopefully identify an employer that has a work culture and environment that aligns best with your personality, work style and values.

By Lisa Cohn, PHR, Account Representative, Ignite Career Center

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Centera program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go farther and get there faster.  Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition.  For information, call 410-466-9200 or contact us through our website.

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