By Ralph LaurelMay 25, 2012
Sharing thoughts on what factors matter the most to me in having a rewarding career.
Whether you’re entering the workforce out of college, or looking for a new job, finding the right spot for you can be a challenging task. There are so many factors to consider. What’s the starting salary, where the opportunity is located, the starting position, how many weeks of vacation, insurance benefits, 401k contributions, pension plan, and even future career opportunities?
Did I miss anything? Yes! Only the most important criteria… the people! It’s something that often gets overlooked, but I’ll argue it’s one that is absolutely critical in selecting an employer.
Out of college I saw many friends go with the highest bidder when selecting the company they wanted to work for. Is money important? Sure. Rarely though, the difference in compensation is life altering. A few thousand a year may make a difference but it’s not likely to significantly change the type of lifestyle you live.
Not to mention the starting salary is just that. Long term, it pays out to have a lower starting salary but larger raises. As engineers, we should know better than to base decisions off one number.
When evaluating my options out of college, I realized that the differences in salary and benefits weren’t all that different. Sure one paid a few thousand more and one matched a few more percent in their 401k, and another provided an extra week of vacation. But at the end of the day, those minor differences weren’t likely to shift my way of living one way or the other. The reason I chose to work where I did (and still work there today) is the people.
It’s almost impossible to dislike your job if the people you work with are good people that you get along with. The best job is the one where you work with your friends. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that for many years. And no matter how much money you threw at me, or how much more vacation you offered me, I wouldn’t be willing to give that up.
There are places where the competition within a team is destructive, or the willingness to help a co-worker is lacking, or even where the tolerance for different personalities is absent. It’s extremely difficult to overcome that type of environment and still appreciate your job.
So if you’re weighing your options out of college, or wondering if the grass is greener at a new location, make sure you think about the people you’ll be working with. Often times, they are the most important factor in job satisfaction.