When searching for a job, the first thing often thought of is salary. We assume that if the salary is high, quality of life will be great and we will live worry-free. But have you stopped to consider benefits? Do you know what kind of benefits (medical, leave policies, vacation/holidays, discount policies, etc) are being offered? And, more importantly, do you know what it is you are looking for?
- Are looking for a job with paid parental leave?
- do you need health insurance and if so, what (or who) does it need to include?
- Does the expense of the health insurance outweigh the increase in pay?
- Are their discounts for childcare?
- Can you work remotely?
- Can you commute tax-free?
These are just a few things to consider, beyond salary, that will affect your quality of life and bank account when searching for a new job.
It seems that companies who care about their employees are still in the process of figuring this out themselves. Sometimes something seems like a good idea, but in actuality, it is inefficient or ends up posing a problem. Recently, Forbes released an article addressing benefits they don’t think work for employers or employees. This includes unlimited vacation days, in-office beer, and free wi-fi on company supplied transportation. This is a good read just to give job hunters an idea of what could be available, and how something that taken at face value seems amazing, might actually back-fire, or be used to take advantage of you (intentionally or not). I don’t agree with all of what they say. In some cases, I think if management implemented policies in a more direct and encouraging way, certain benefits would actually achieve the intended goal. A good read none-the-less.
Parental leave is frequently spoken about, and I am intentional in my use of the word parental rather than maternity. Everyone deserves time off to take care of a new baby/child at home, but many companies don’t offer this, or at least not with pay. It is important to mention that in some places, paid leave is now mandatory, and you should certainly know if your state/city is one of those places. However, length of time and amount/percentage of pay varies widely from place to place. So know your rights. Here is a positive account of unexpected support for maternity leave from a pro golfer!
Leave isn’t just for new parents. Many people need to take care of a sick family member. The ins and outs of leave are complicated, but this read will help you understand who qualifies for family leave, the federal FMLA policy, and what you can ask for based on your location. Read here about how and why the co-founder of Rent the Runway changed her paid family leave policy, and the feedback she got from her team and employees.
The point is – know what you need/want and do your research. You may be offered a job with a higher salary, but with benefits that are less comprehensive or less useful for you than what you receive at your current job. Never take a job offer at face value. Research, research, research, and negotiate! The best advice – ask around. Talk to friends, family, people in your field, a career counselor, anyone who may be able to shed light on what you are losing or gaining when deciding to accept a job offer.