10 Important Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Taking Up A New Job

Originally published at lmt-lss.com on October 27, 2015.

There are many aspects to a job that you need to consider.

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Receiving a job offer is an exciting prospect filled with new opportunities and challenges. You may have gone through several rounds of interviews and waited long and hard for the offer to arrive, and when it does, you can’t wait to respond with an acceptance email. However, we suggest you hold on to your horses before you click send.

While a new job offer might look great on paper, there are many other aspects to a job that you need to consider. Here are 10 important questions you need to ask yourself before taking up a new job.

1. Is this a long-term career move?

Your career is defined by the jobs you take up over the years. Hence it’s very important that you look at the bigger picture. A job might look great in isolation but may not be ideal in the grand scheme of things. Before taking up the job, take a good look at your career goals. Even if this particular job does not directly help you reach your goals, check if the experience that the job offers will aid your growth in any way.

2. Does this job align with my personal values?

We all live by certain principles and values that we hold dear. Sometimes, they may not align with the values of the organization, and in the course of your job, you may have to compromise your own values. The Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue gay marriage licences is a perfect example of a clash between personal and professional values.

3. Will the work culture suit me?

The recent article on New York Times about how the culture at Amazon only rewards high performers and weeds out people who cannot cope shows that even the most amazing companies have their own downsides. A company’s culture is something that’s been built over the years to suit its business requirements. If you can’t fit into it, you’ll feel miserable during your entire tenure with that company.

4. What are others saying about this company?

It’s important to evaluate what others inside and outside of the company are saying about it. By joining this company, you’ll become a representative of its brand, and its actions will reflect on you. Do a thorough research by logging onto sites like Glassdoor and reading about the company’s history in the news. Check if the actions of the company, both with internal and external stakeholders, is fair by your own standards.

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5. Does this position challenge me?

In many cases, the job description mentioned on your offer letter will be vastly differ from your actual job. Even before considering the offer, look closely at the job role and your responsibilities. Have a candid conversation with the person in charge of recruitment and if possible, your reporting manager to ascertain exactly what your daily duties are going to be. Proceed only if you think that they’ll challenge you enough to go to work every day.

6. What level of autonomy will I have in my position?

This is a question that hinges on your own strengths and will have a huge impact on your day-to-day well being. While some people need a fair degree of support and feedback; others want to know that they can be trusted to work on their own with a large degree of freedom and autonomy. You need to decide which category you fall into and then gauge the new job on offer accordingly.

7. Will I like my new boss?

People don’t leave companies, they leave their managers. It is not necessary that you become buddies with your immediate supervisor but the fact is, you will be working with him every day and he will have a huge impact on your happiness at work. During the interview process, make sure have a discussion with your reporting supervisor about what his expectations are. Pick a boss you can respect, trust, and like.

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8. Is the office location a comfortable distance from home?

While this might sound trivial, studies show that a person’s commute time has an enormous impact on their level of happiness and well being. If you can’t relocate, be realistic about the commute time and decide if that’s something you can live with every single day. A long commute can cause more stress and eat into your personal time. You don’t want to feel burned out even before you arrive at your office.

9. Will this new job address the issues I had with my former job?

If you’re leaving your current job because you’re unhappy, this is a crucial question you must ask. There’s no point getting into a similar situation with the next job and going through the whole cycle again. Whether it’s your boss, the culture, the performance assessment or the pay, the first step is to identify the factors that kept you unhappy in your current job. Once you know them, check if the new job will put you in the same situation. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into aspects like the way performance is measured and other conditional benefits.

10. What does my inner voice say?

Every single job has several pros and equal number of cons. You can try to be as analytical as you want about weighing your options but nothing is really certain. The manager who hired you for his team might leave, a new CEO might want to change the work culture and due to a business requirement, you might be moved to a different role. Despite all the possibilities, your need to check with yourself if the new job ‘feels’ like something you want to take up. This is a purely instinctual question. Sometimes, your instinct can be your most powerful guiding force.

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