This evening sitting in a sushi bar in Northern England I couldn't help but be thankful. I was grinning ear to ear, and while I'm sure it was creepy to the waitress, I was happy. Dinner tonight was the first opportunity I had since arriving to reflect on the first 4 months of my big girl job and and think about what great things are to come in 2016. Being able to sit here, eat delicious salmon, and blog after work is a perk for a traveling consultant, and to me, an important privilege. When we consider going to work for company we immediately think of salary as the end-all-be-all. In making the decision to take a new job, we have to consider a combination of factors:

  1.  Insurance - This is probably the most important factor to consider when taking a job, no matter where your priorities lie. Here in the US, employers must offer insurance options, but making sure they're competitive in price and benefits is huge!
  2. Office amenities - If you're like most people, you're going to be spending 40 or more hours a week in this place. Is the coffee free? Will you be sitting in an office or a cube? Is there a gym, child care, or other free services that will save you time and money? Make sure to ask, and take a tour if possible.
  3. Discounts - Companies of all sizes have great discount programs they've created to incentivize employees. Saving money on gym memberships, travel, attractions, and merchandise really adds up. Make sure your company is helping you save those hard earned coins...
  4. Commute and Location - If you're living in a large metropolitan are you're likely not going to want to sit in 2.5 hours a day of traffic. It's a waste of gas and time. Make sure that commute is somewhat manageable from where you live, and if you don't want to commute, consider one of these companies (my company made #2 on this list!).
  5. Travel - For some, travel is a blessing, others a curse. If a job has travel time at 20%, consider that a little under a week per month. If you're looking forward to traveling (like me, yay) then make sure the company knows you're open to it and sign up for those frequent flyer miles and hotel points ASAP.
  6. Vacation and Leave - In a dream world, we get unlimited vacation, sick leave, and maternity/paternity leave. Depending upon the company, you can reap those benefits! Make sure your future workplace offers a fair share of vacation and other paid time off to its employees.
  7. Growth Opportunity - Today's most successful companies are led by Baby Boomers who are looking to retire in the near future. This large shift toward retirement means more room at the top for everyone else! Closely examine the opportunities for promotion (and education) at your future employer. Do they place value on continuing education and career development?
  8. Bonus Compensation - Depending on your position, a large portion of your income can come from annual or one-time bonuses. Consider a sign-on bonus or the opportunity for a sales/growth bonus as part of your income as well. You never know how big it could be! See here.
  9. Balance and Culture - Sometimes a high-paying job simply isn't worth it if it comes with too much stress and not enough time spent with the ones you love. Check anonymous online reviews about the work culture and see what kind of balance they offer for employees so there aren't any surprises on the first day.

Ultimately, and always, what's good for you isn't necessarily good for someone else. For you, living comfortably may be your biggest priority. For someone else, it may be getting to spend more time with their family and friends. No matter what you choose, take a more holistic approach to choosing a job and watch it blossom beautifully into a career. As always, best of luck!