How to Figure Out What You Need from a Job


Unless you’re a lottery winner, you probably need a certain amount of money from your job. However, most people also want more out of their work than a paycheck. Whether your needs center around a certain lifestyle, a feeling of satisfaction, or benefits like health insurance and vacation time, you should give some serious thought to want you want out of your career. Consider the following when doing so:

Family factors—Not all employers are family friendly, but others don’t blink if you need to duck out early to pick up a sick child up from school. Before you sign up for a career that will have you working long, inflexible hours, think about how much time that will leave you to meet the needs of your family.

Time off—People’s vacation requirements vary. Some use only a small fraction of what their employer allows them, while others are constantly hoping for a chance at an extra week off, even if it’s unpaid. Before you jump into a new job, figure out how much time off you need and how much you want, and factor in these numbers when evaluating opportunities.

Commuting time—People often regret underestimating the impact of their commute on their day. Even a nearby employer can take a long time to reach during rush hour, and losing hours of your day sitting in a car can be maddening if it means missing out on family time or favorite hobbies. Make sure you know how long you’re willing to spend commuting before you commit to a new job.

Independence—Different jobs have vastly different degrees of independence, and you need to figure out the amount of freedom that is right for you. Think about jobs you’ve had in the past and whether you enjoyed your work more when you were given lots of direction or when you were turned loose to tackle assignments however you chose. Whichever arrangement works best for you, be sure to seek it in your next position.


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