When money isn’t everything: How to choose the right job

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Are you the new kid on the block just out of school and looking to land that dream job? Or have you been in the same job for a number of years and looking to make your next move?

Maybe you want to go in a totally different direction and make a career change. Whatever your scenario, have we got some tips for you to assist in planning your next move!

First things first, let’s talk money. Everyone likes to be independent and look forward to earning enough to not only meet your basic needs, but also to have enough left over to afford some nice luxuries for you and your family.  But let’s be real; money is not everything. When making a career decision you should incorporate various factors. For example, how much do you have to lose? Can you afford to sit it out and wait on that six-figure offer that will keep you on par with the Joneses? Do you have dependents or liabilities that can’t be neglected? How important is this job to you? Is experience the most important thing or just a fat pay cheque?

If money is your main impetus for accepting this job, keep in mind that this may only last in the short term before you get bored and at some point you may want more – either fulfilment from the job or more money. And high paying jobs usually come with a price: more of your time, which could mean early days and late hours, possibly weekends.  Travel, endless meetings, 24-hour access and less ‘you’ time. Did you really think those company Blackberries, laptop and vehicle came without strings attached? Guess again.  More money usually means added responsibility and more stress, since the blame usually starts with you if anyone under you should slip up. I am not saying that this is a bad thing, just be aware that there is no such thing as easy money. You have to be prepared to work for it and some people are not always ready for a position such as this depending on what stage they are at in their life. Single parents, newlyweds planning a family, and persons with an active social life should consider all aspects of the job before signing on the dotted line.

Choosing experience over money can be a tough decision, and there are many reasons why you may want to consider one job over another. If you are thinking of changing fields for instance, you may want to sacrifice a higher paying job in the same field, for getting experience in the designation of your choice, and penetrating the market at a lower salary. Generally, the more experience or qualifications you possess, the more you are able to bargain or negotiate your price, as you progress in your career. So my advice is twofold. Firstly, never stop developing yourself professionally, even if it’s to pursue a diploma or short course or serve on a voluntary committee. You are never too old to learn something new, and you would be surprised at how these things come in useful at a later stage in your career or personal life. Secondly, think twice before turning down any job offer because sometimes “you have to stoop to conquer” (I like to quote these old sayings). You never know where you might end up or again what you might learn or who you may meet along the way.

Similarly, the organization or industry that you desire to work for, is also a consideration where expectations of salary are concerned. Some industries (such as oil and gas, multinational corporations) are in a better position to pay their staff at a higher level for obvious reasons – their profit margins and budgets are greater. Whereas certain fields do not pay that great and the reason for you entering is just for the sheer passion and enjoyment. So it is important to know what your priorities and goals are from the beginning so as to not pre-empt your future aspirations. But at the same time, always know your worth.

It is important to weigh the pros and cons of any job offer. Although you may accept a job that may not be exactly what you want or where you want to be at the present moment, I am sure it beats being home possibly with no other source of income or visibility. Being employed allows you to gain exposure, network and meet new people who can put you “in the know” and open doors for future opportunities. On a lighter note, interpersonal interaction at the workplace sometimes provides your daily dose of comic relief, and can trump even the funniest sketch comedy on television. Weighing the pros and cons of any job offer can be a mind-wracking decision, but if you focus on what’s really important for you, you’re more likely to find some satisfaction.

Carolyn K. Correia is a Human Resource and Communications professional with over five years' experience. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English and Communications from The University of the West Indies and a Masters in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester. Her first love is writing, however, and she is currently working on two books. Follow her at http://inspirationescape.blogspot.com.

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