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Four Small Differences in Jobs that Make or Break Your Overall Experience

Jennifer | June 5, 2011

When you first start looking for a job, you may not realize all the small differences between workplaces that could affect your overall enjoyment of your career there.  Here are four things to keep in mind when you are comparing job options and to start thinking about.  If you were comparing two great jobs with vastly different environments, benefits and expectations, which would fit your personality the best?

1.       Cube World versus The Office

I’ve worked in both a cube land and in my own office, and they are different experiences, no doubt.  A cube is louder, less private, and sometimes you feel like you just have less of a personal bubble, but it is also far more cooperative — its much easier to work together, yell over at each other, and work in a group mode.  An office is more private and can give you space and quiet to get work done, but can also make bonding with your coworkers  a bit more difficult.  If you need sunshine, like I do, an office might be the only option for that – sometime small like the amount of nature you see during a day can make a big difference in your enjoyment of your job. 

2.       Corporate Casual vs. Business Casual

Office attire is changing for everyone, and while many offices are getting more casual, I do see the pendulum starting to swing back to a more professionally-defined dress code in many offices.  Some offices are fine with the step-up from jeans and tshirts, some want a step-down from a full business suit.  These are different looks, but, unfortunately, they may all call it the same thing – corporate casual, business casual, business friendly, etc.  Keep an eye on the attire when you are there visiting the office or on an interview to see how the current employees interpret the dress code.  If it is dressier than you are comfortable wearing every day – keep that in mind.  If is more casual than you feel comfortable wearing in a work place, that might be something to consider as well. 

3.       Benefits

Wow, I really didn’t know much about benefits before I got into the work force, and it can be overwhelming.  It still confuses me sometimes.  Two weeks of vacation versus 4 weeks – these are big differences.  Paying $60 a month for insurance versus $200 a month is also a big difference when you are comparing salaries.  What about life insurance, retirement, tuition-reimbursement?  Many benefits are of similar categories across different jobs and offices, but they are certainly varying in the amount and scope of them.  Don’t be afraid to ask what the benefits are in the jobs you are considering.  Take some time to think them over, also.  Maybe tuition-reimbursement isn’t important to you now, but if you want to grow in your career, it could signal an office that supports your interests in growth.

4.       Outside Jobs

Do you want or need to have a second job?  Some businesses are absolutely okay with this, some make you go through a formal approval process, and some absolutely forbid outside jobs.  This is one of those things you may not think about, but it can make a big difference for some people in whether or not they can accept a job.

Keep an eye open for the small things, especially if they are big things for you!

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Category: Jobs

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