Friday, August 19, 2016

What to Consider When Looking for a New Job

BIG NEWS in the Frugal Rock Household on the Employment Front, there is a new job for Mr. Frugal and this lady couldn't be prouder of him!

Mr. Frugal is in programming/manufacturing and has put his time in working in factories and machine shops. While good experiences, breathing in coolant and manufacturing fumes probably isn't great for his long-term health, so it's great that he has found a job that will bring new challenges, but also a lot of great rewards. Mr. Frugal already started at his new place, but the decision to take the job had to be weighed with a lot of other factors and it got me thinking a lot about how to make career choices and what to consider. So what are the factors to weigh when you are determining whether to take a new job?

1. First and foremost- salary. Be realistic upfront about how much you need to (and want to) make. A lot of people put low amounts on their initial application only to have a higher salary in mind later. If it will take an extra $10,000 or maybe $20,000 to get you to move jobs, it's okay to be open about it. It's also okay to ask about the salary range early in the process. While not a question that is always easy to broach in an interview, when approached by Human Resources for an interview, asking about the salary range can save you (and them) a lot of time if you know up front that it's not going to meet your needs!

2. Don't forget about the 'bennies'- benefits that is! Ask questions about the benefits. Remember that these are a big part of your salary package. A lower salary may be a good trade off for you, with lower health costs, more vacation days, better 401k matches, or other perks.  A great example of this is with Mr. FR's new position. Additional vacation time was big, the 401k match is great, but the health insurance was a huge selling point. While we have always taken my insurance, which is a good policy, my company offers incentives to take your partner's insurance. By not being able to do so, we have left 'free' money on the table the last several years. In addition, Mr. Frugal's new health insurance policy offers a lot of 'healthy' living deductions. For example, employees qualify for a drastically-reduced price fit-bit which if employees and their spouses meet 'healthy living' goals also reduces the price of the health insurance. Score!

3. Consider goodness of fit. So it's not all about the money, right? Even though this is a blog about frugal living, it is also about having a fulfilled lifestyle. Part of a well-rounded happy life, is feeling success and satisfaction. While some people never find it in their work, it's something to strive for. Why spend 40 hours a week doing something you hate or that causes more stress then satisfaction? When interviewing with a company, it's important that you ask questions about things that are important to you. Is it about what type of boss your new supervisor will be? How much you will work independently or in tandem with others? Is it about opportunities for growth or long-term advancement? What's the company climate? Whatever your goal, don't forget that interviewing the company is also part of the job search process. Consider also, it may be worth it to take a salary deduction to switch from a company with no opportunities for growth, to one, that while initially you may take a pay cut, has several positions that you may be able to advance to in future years.

4. Distance. How far is the new job from your old place of employment or your home? This was something that generated some good discussion in our household- especially since we have been trying to decrease our carbon footprint. When Mr. FR was approached about this position, the recruiter mistakenly gave him the wrong location for the company. Initially when applying, he thought it was closer. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Mr. FR loved the company- Goodness of Fit was pretty high and even now several weeks into the job switch- he couldn't be happier.  In looking at factors 1-3 above, it was more then enough to sweeten the deal to make the longer commute more worth while. Mr. FR has also been taking his motorcycle more, saving on fuel costs.

Of course there are additional items to consider after accepting a job offer- like rolling over your 401K, enrolling in a new health insurance program, and making the most of your company retirement match, but that's a whole other post! Is it weird that I can't wait?  Nothing gets me more pumped then open enrollment and 401k matches. :)

What are some factors you consider when thinking about a job change? Are one of these four things more important to you then others?

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