If you're in the market for a new job, you're no doubt aware that the salary and benefits package you're presented with will strongly dictate whether you accept an offer that comes your way. But even if those items meet or exceed your expectations, there are other factors that must play into your decision of whether to take the job at hand or keep looking. Here are four you can't afford to gloss over.
1. The commute
Commuting can not only be time consuming; it can also be aggravating and stressful. If you're used to working from home or living close enough to stroll over to your office, then a long trip back and forth to your new job might render you downright miserable, especially if it involves sitting in traffic or cramming your body onto a packed bus or train on a daily basis. Before you accept a job offer, figure out what the commute will be like by actually doing it. Choose a morning or evening and go through the motions of that trip during rush hour to get a real sense of how you'll be starting and ending your days. Then see if you're willing to put yourself through it regularly.
2. The office environment
The atmosphere you're exposed to on a daily basis could spell the difference between you being happy at work or dreading the idea of going to the office. Before accepting a job, figure out what the environment is like. Are people generally stressed? Is it social? Will you be required to wear a suit every day when your previous jobs allowed you to show up in jeans and a hoodie? You'll need answers to these questions to help guide your decision.
3. The hours
Most working Americans aren't happy with their work-life balance. If you'd rather not join their ranks, figure out how many hours you're generally expected to clock in on a weekly basis before saying yes to a job offer at hand. Keep in mind that what you're told in an interview might not play out that way in practice. A company's official policy might be that employees are required to work 40 hours a week. But if the typical worker puts in 60 hours a week or more, you're going to have a hard time getting away with the bare minimum. In other words, make sure you know what you're really signing up for.
4. The expectations
When you interview for a job, you're apt to be given a rundown of the types of responsibilities you'll be tasked with, whether it's analyzing data or presenting marketing pitches. But there's a difference between tasks and expectations, and it's the latter you'll also need to nail down before taking a job. Prior to accepting an offer, try talking to other people at the company or reading online reviews to see how much pressure employees are generally under. If the company's management team is overly demanding, it could set the stage for a fairly stressful experience.
When it comes to taking a new job, money, titles, and benefits aren't everything. Determine how the above factors might play out before saying yes to an offer, or you could wind up miserable early on.