Jobs are more than money

When making a career choice, it is important to consider the benefits beyond the paycheck.

Whether you are finding your first job or moving to a different position later in life, choosing a job or career involves many factors that are not always as simple as an hourly wage. Michigan State University Extension and the National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program provide the following questions for you to consider.

  • Paid leave. How many paid days off are allowed? Sick time, personal or vacation? Having the option to take care of yourself is an important benefit.
  • Health insurance. What type of insurance is covered? Can you see the doctors you choose? Who is covered – yourself, spouse, family? What do you pay and what does your employer pay? Pay attention to details.
  • Dental or vision insurance. What is covered by the employer and what do you pay? Where can you go for service?
  • Retirement plan options. Does your employer provide options? What are their contributions versus your contributions? It is important to start saving for retirement as soon as possible.
  • Schedule. When do you have to work? Is it consistent or does it change? Does it include holidays or weekends? Does the schedule match your best time to work or your other life obligations? Is there an option for flexibility with your schedule so you can adjust based on personal commitments?
  • Transportation. How far is your commute? If you drive for your job, do you have assistance in paying for your mileage or car up-keep? If parking fees are a part of your work, do you get reimbursed?
  • Travel. Are you required to travel? Where do you go when you get to travel?
  • Training. Does your employer support or encourage continued education? Are leave or flex time opportunities provided to allow you to continue your education? Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement and, if so, what is the financial limit to that option?
  • Experience. Is this job a chance to gain experience, build relationships in your network and learn more to catapult you to a different or better career? Are there opportunities to advance in the organization?
  • Advancement. Are there opportunities to advance in the organization? Can you be promoted or earn bonuses?
  • Discounts. Does your employer provide other perks such as gym memberships, discounted products or free opportunities for friends and family?
  • Passion. Will you love doing the work? Is it something that will interest and intrigue you every morning you get up?

The money made at a job is a huge factor to consider before accepting a position, but it is also important to look at the additional benefits that add value to the job. The answers to these questions relate to your personal values, however, and are not the same to everyone. While one person might value having holidays off work, another person might value working on holidays for the potential overtime pay or chance to interact with lots of different customers on a busy business day. There is no right or wrong answer. There is a right fit for you, however. Consider all the benefits before making that final decision.

MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development has many resources to help youth as they prepare for careers.

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