You've successfully impressed them with your resume. You've dressed to impress with your appropriate work clothes and attention to detail of the dress code. You've effectively answered interview questions and overcame any perceived objections about your suitability for the job. Now what?
What follows is a list of the Top 10 Things to Consider Before You Take That Job!
10. Travel Cost: Have you calculated the actual cost of travel to and from work? With gas prices being what they are, you might find yourself putting more of your "hard-earned" in the gas tank instead of your pocket or purse if you're not careful. You might ask if the company has any arrangements with a transportation company, discounts, or any other perks that will help you save. Also, make sure to find out what the company pays for with regard to travel expenses. Is there a per diem for food while traveling on business? Can you expense meals? Will traveling by plane, train, automobile, or carpool make more sense? Do you have to make your own travel arrangements or do they have a corporate travel office you must use? Or, do you have to pay your own way and write off travel expenses on your taxes?
9. Commute Time: The job might be wonderful, but what about the travel time in order to get there? Sitting in rush hour traffic doesn't bother you much during the interview phase, but once you get hired you might feel differently about all the windshield time. But then again, if you plan things well, you can do the old "University on Wheels" thing and listen to educational or motivational or training materials on audio during your commute. Calculate the time, find ways to maximize your travel, and do your homework on the realities of commuting.
8. Risk vs. Reward: Have you analyzed the risk? Have you assessed the reward potential? Maybe you've just landed a job at a start-up company and the risk is high. Maybe you've landed your dream job and your skills and abilities mean a huge reward is in your future. Sometimes emotion takes over (or maybe ego) and we get overly excited about either the risk or reward found within a new opportunity. Take some time to look into these two important aspects of any new career. Have courage and stick by your decision once you've assessed these things thoroughly.
7. Feeling At Home: In the Military, you feel at home over time. You just get plain used to the system, the rules, the protocols, and the environment. In other words, the culture is familiar to you. Once you ditch the tree suit for civvies, you might look like everyone else based on dress, but what about how you feel on the inside? Do you have a friend at your new job? Do you know who your supervisor is? Do you have a sense of what this new "family" is all about? It may take a few weeks or months to feel at home, but you might find yourself feeling a bit nostalgic about military life. Seek out other former military people at your job. Just listen to what they say, and how they say it. It won't take long before you connect with someone who can make you feel at home at your new place of employment.
6. Living for The City: If you're stationed in Hawaii, that new job in Alaska might be quite a change for you. If you love cold weather and outdoor activities, Phoenix, Arizona might not be a great place to enjoy your "off-duty" civilian time. Then there's that thing about cost of living. That inexpensive 4 bedroom McMansion in Texas costs 4 times as much in California! Not to mention, have you decided to relocate to an area close to family? When the "In-Laws" become "Out-laws" and the novelty wears off in your new city, you'll be ready to move again — but won't be able to! Think about where you plan to live and consider whether the location is truly livable.
5. Opportunity for Promotion: You asked the "upward mobility" question during the interviews. Like dating, everyone is on their best behavior during interviews. You don't get to know the reality of the situation — good or bad — until later on in the relationship. Keep asking questions about the potential for promotion within your new company. Find out how other successful people navigated the organization chart and moved up. Make sure you're taking advice from people who honestly have your best interests in mind. But, who am I preaching to? You learned all of this while in uniform!
4. Leader vs. Follower: One thing that I find interesting is the mindset many former military folks have about this one topic; you left the military leading many and now you lead none. Think about this a moment. If you owned or led a company, would you risk your reputation and success on an unknown, unproven, new hire? I'm a firm believer that any new person needs to prove themselves no matter how impressive their credentials are. Your journey thus far got you hired and in the door, but your job performance is what will keep you there and take you from Follower to Leader. That said; learn to become competent in either role!
3. We Are Family: You'll also need to take note of your ability to work well with others. You may have landed a cool gig at a world-renowned company with instant name-recognition, prime time commercial advertising presence, and world-wide appeal, but if the people you'll be working with have no hint of anything in common with you this could spell trouble! Imagine a very unstructured, casual, laid-back work environment being suddenly disrupted by a gung-ho, STRAC, hoo-ah yelling newbie! I could share stories for days on this reality. Make sure to pay close attention to how well you fit into your new corporate Family — if you don't, you can rest assured your co-workers sure will!
2. The Offer: Is the job offer exactly what you're looking for? Have you negotiated hard or did you just roll over and take the first offer presented. Will you be upset once you find out someone else doing the same job is getting paid much more than you are based solely on how they negotiated? Have you asked for extended benefits or perks that might offset some specific needs in your life (such as; Exceptional Family Member, Disability, or other personal matter or situation)? Do you need to adjust your start date due to out-processing, final military commitments and obligations, or transition leave? If you plan to remain in the National Guard or Reserve, did you get any reassurance that these commitments would be honored by your employer? Ask the hard questions. Get complete answers. Ask around. Find out what you can or cant live with or find a work-around if possible.
And, finally...drumroll please!
1. For the Love of Money or the Love of The Job: All military types know exactly where they fall on the military pay scale. Our eyes can quickly match our pay grade with years of service. Our "Calibrated Eyeballs" may be able to see, but we may lack vision when it comes to viewing the big picture. Your new career might mean a drop in pay or maybe even a huge increase. You might make lots of "cheddar" but you're never home long enough to enjoy your earnings with those people you truly care about. Or, you may have taken this position as a "Settle For" job because nothing else seemed available at the time you left the military.
If you experienced a pay cut at your new job, would you still be able to find a way to enjoy what you do for a living? If your hours got cut, your position got restructured or relocated, or that annual raise never came, would you still love your job?
So, if this is new career is a "bridge career", as in something that will be somewhat temporary before you find the right fit at the right place, my advice to you is to make the most of it! (as with any long-term career plans) Explore all the possibilities that exist at the company. Explore the possibility of maybe one day creating your own opportunity at your new place of work!
Ideally, you need to find something you love to do. What would you do if money wasn't an issue? Now, I'm not recommending working for free! The idea here is to find a place to land where you can feel fulfilled in your work life.
I want you to make as much money as possible! I want you to be healthy, wealthy, and wise! Build a business and meet an unmet need. Get your face on the cover of business magazine. Whether you become a "thousandaire" or millionaire with an "M", or billionaire with a "B", I want you to love the work you do!
What do you consider top considerations before you accept a new job?
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