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Five Golden Rules for Choosing a New Job

When it comes to job hunting, salary and status aren't necessarily the best indicators of future job satisfaction. Here we discuss the things that tend to slip our mind when we've decide to move on, and the reasons they are so important to remember.

Employers take extreme care when hiring new staff; recruitment is expensive, they care about the business, and don't want a nightmare member of the team to manage. So why should it be any different the other way around? Most of us are guilty of jumping into an opportunity simply because it is the first to come along. Sometimes it isn't easy to do otherwise; maybe you have limited options, or you simply don't have the luxury of time and/or money to wait for the perfect opportunity. Even so, taking five golden rules with you regardless of your circumstances, and trying to make sure your next workplace ticks at least one of these boxes, is a good place to start.

1. Your Manager

A manager is like a helicopter parent - often they'll be sitting next to or opposite you, you will bump into them in the loo, you will see them in Pret when you're getting your breakfast, and if you're really unlucky, they might even share your commute. With this in mind, you better hope you like 'em. It can feel like you have very little choice in your manager, but during an interview you have to remember that you are also asking the questions, and if the person you'll be answering to gives you a bad vibe - run for the hills. It is not worth your sanity to spend 8+ hours a day around someone who will make the majority of your week a living hell. Put your sanity first - there are thousands of incredible managers out there, so do yourself a favour and don't rest until you find one of them.

2. Company Culture

'Company culture' is a term that gets thrown around so often that the phrase has lost almost all meaning. Nevertheless, it does seem to be the case that companies can become tribal, and will hire like-minds over skillsets more often than we think. Whilst personality-based hiring isn't okay, it can also be hard to avoid, and ending up in the wrong tribe can feel like a total disaster. It doesn't help that company culture is more of an idea than a measurable thing - it varies from office to office and finding out where you fit in can be as difficult as shopping for clothes online. For some, the culture might be going out for drinks religiously every Thursday night, for others it might be dressing down and flexi-hours, whilst a third could thrive on the uber-corporate. It all depends on your personality type, and it's best to try and find somewhere you don't get imposter syndrome all day every day.

3. Progression

No one wants to get stuck. If there's one question you should ask in an interview it's this - how can I progress? Where do you see my role in three years time? No one starts a new job on the assumption that they'll soon be looking for a new one, you have high hopes; of pay rises, promotions, and progression. So it's essential to establish if your hiring managers have the same vision that you do for your future.

4. Commute

If all else fails, this has to be the rule to follow if none of the others are possible. Having a good commute means that if everything else in the 9-5 is falling to bits around you, you can at least get back to your happy place as soon as possible. A short commute can also benefit your productivity, physical health, perceptions of a work-life balance, and ultimately, your job satisfaction, which was the whole point of the job-hunt anyway, hurrah!

5. The Office Space

Finally, if you're going to be spending the majority of your week in one place then it better be nice. The rise of shared workspaces such as WeWork have had great success because of the simple realisation that we're more productive if we're happy (or at the very least, comfortable). If we're spending more time away from home than inside it, then our workplace needs to bridge those gaps. To help you out, here are some things to look out for during your interview:

  • Spaces where you can go to relax or work away from your desk

  • Free sustenance (e.g. coffee, tea, snacks)

  • Free or cheap fitness and wellness classes (such as yoga, boxing, running club, meditation)

  • Free or cheap personal development classes (e.g. key note speakers, work skills)

  • Free or cheap perks (e.g. puppy therapy, nail salons, socials, games nights)

  • Dog friendly offices (making it impossible to have a bad day)

  • For parents: some shared offices offer daycare or creches for free/reduced rates, a feature that (quite frankly) should be offered by all offices, everywhere.

Further Reading


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