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10 Things Almost Everyone Forgets to Consider When Accepting A Job Offer

10 Things Almost Everyone Forgets to Consider When Accepting A Job Offer

The feeling is sensational. Euphoric. There’s nothing quite like it. For a few brief moments when that outstretched hand reaches toward you, you feel invincible, important, and untouchable. You’ve just been offered a new job.

It’s easy to get caught up in this moment, nod furiously, and clasp the hand opposite in an excited fit of appreciation. Someone wants your services and is willing to pay you for them – it’s no wonder you feel a little giddy.

But what else is this person really offering you? What sort of position will this new job put you in? There are several elements you really ought to consider before accepting the offer of a new job, and listed here are 10 typical things that pretty much everyone forgets to take into account when it comes to deciding whether to add that new company to your resume.

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1. Sacrifice

One of the main things that people really forget to take into account when it comes to accepting a new job is what they will realistically have to sacrifice in order to fulfil their new duties. A new role – whatever it may be – comes with new responsibilities, and it’s absolutely vital to make sure that you get a good idea of what the new position will involve and whether you can amend your social calendar accordingly. What will you have to give up in order to succeed? And is this really viable?

2. Environment

Meeting your fellow employees for the first time is always an uneasy, awkward experience. You may often feel like a spare part when you’re a newbie, and without the right people around you, you may end up feeling that way for the rest of your time in that position. Before you accept a job offer, ask to meet some of your new fellow employees. These are the people who you will be spending over forty hours a week with, so it’s absolutely essential that you’re amicable with them. Being in the wrong work environment is damaging for your career, your well-being, and even your mental health. Don’t take a leap of faith when you’re offered a new position – make a conscious effort to introduce yourself before you even accept the position. If your boss is a good one, they’ll be more than happy to let you.

3. Stability

Starting a new job isn’t much good if you end up walking out the door after a few weeks. When it comes to accepting a new position, make sure you are financially and contractually secure in every aspect. A lot of people never consider the prospect of being made redundant just a few weeks after starting their new job. After all, you’d have to be incredibly unlucky for it to happen to you, right? ‘Fraid not. There are several industries out there who are prone to making forced lay-offs, and no new job is ever 100% secure. Take the state of the current economy and financial climate into account before shaking hands, and do some independent research into the financial welfare of the firm you’re all set to become a part of. Can this company really afford you? And if so, for how long? Always make sure you’ve settled on stability before accepting a job; in writing too. Verbal contracts aren’t much use when redundancy hour rolls in.

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4. Your own lifestyle changes

Okay, so everyone takes salary into account when it comes to being offered a new job. In many people’s cases, it’s the motivational factor for applying for positions that otherwise seem somewhat mundane. But what a lot of people don’t take into consideration with regards to pay is whether this is enough to live on if circumstances were to change. There’s no problem with thinking about the “now”, but before accepting a job, you need to think about the future too. Life is spectacularly unpredictable, and just weeks after accepting a job that has a perfect pay rate for you to live on as a single person, it might no longer seem like such a healthy wage if a new partner and family are lying in wait around the corner. You can’t always plan when you’re going to fall in love and have a family, but you can plan which job you’ll take so that you have some insurance cash to fall back on if things turn chaotic around the corner. Don’t settle for stable living – look at the job offer and determine whether the pay rate will be enough to get you through more financially burdening times that might lie ahead.

5. Benefits

A lot of companies offer some great looking benefits on paper, and when you’re on the verge of accepting a new job at an exciting and well-established business firm at a young age, any benefits at all seem delightfully appealing. Whilst the word “benefits” does a great job of leaping off the page at you, in reality, it’s a word that can be startlingly misleading. Benefits may be exactly what they say on the tin, but are they necessarily right for you? When accepting a job offer, make sure you’re getting the type of benefits that you deserve and need in order to live comfortably.

6. Commuting

Sure, that commute from your place to your new work location looks completely doable on paper, but have you actually put it to the test? One of the biggest mistakes people can make before accepting a job offer is merely assume that travelling to work won’t be an issue. You can’t put your whole faith in interactive maps – the journey from your home location to your new place of work is something you have to complete for yourself in order to determine how long it will actually take you. Before accepting any new job offer, be sure to practice the commute route a couple of times, ideally during rush hour, to get a realistic sense of how long it will take you to reach work every day. Long journeys to your daily job will take their toll on your health and may even put your new career in jeopardy if you’re turning up late on a regular basis.

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7. Challenge

Many people consider their dream job to be getting money for sitting around with their feet up and a big ol’ glass of good wine in hand. Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the human mind wouldn’t take long to fall apart if we lived our lives like that every single day of the week. Our brains need stimulation and challenge for happiness and development, and you need to make sure that your prospective new position is going to offer you the kinds of challenges that will make you want to succeed and better yourself. It may not always feel like it, but challenge and a decent dose of hard work is actually extremely good for you. That’s why sitting around with your feet up and a big ol’ glass of good wine in hand feels so good when you actually find time for it: it’s because you’ve earned it.

8. Pride

Many people treat working as something that ought to be left at the office and never discussed outside of those four walls. But this is no way to live your life. Studies have shown that you can spend as much as 32% of your entire life at work. Ask yourself this: is it really worth having to dedicate almost a third of your total time on this planet to being bored and miserable? Before you accept a job offer, make sure it’s one that you can enjoy and be proud of. Something that you don’t mind getting up for, and something you can happily discuss without feeling nauseous.

9. Stress

Simply put: there is no perfect job on this planet. Every occupation comes with a certain degree of stress, and that’s just the way that life is. What you can do, however, is determine whether you will be able to realistically handle the amount of stress this new job might impose on your life, or whether it will leak into other areas and damage you completely. A lot of people who are offered a job that comes slapped with a warning sticker for stress usually dismiss the caution and claim they’ll be able to deal with it when the time comes. This is always a mistake. Before accepting any new job, sit down and look at what the position requires of you. Can you realistically achieve the targets set for you? Becoming wildly stressed will place a huge strain on your health as well as on your social life, so make sure that your new job is going to be something that’s both manageable and fun – not something that’s going to give you a heart attack.

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10. Opportunity 

What exactly does your new job offer you in terms of opportunities? Does it provide you with some juicy substance for you resumé? Will it allow you to gain knowledge and develop within a particular industry? Can it act as a stepping stone to greater things? These are all questions that you need to take into consideration when accepting a job offer, as it’s all too easy to see a nice wage scrawled down on paper and jump right in. A good job should open you up to other opportunities.

Featured photo credit: picjumbo Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Gareth Lloyd

Freelance Writer

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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