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Old 11-18-2015, 03:16 PM
 
520 posts, read 212,207 times
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I've been looking on-and-off for a better job for quite some time now, and I'm really starting to wonder just how many "better" jobs really exist. My friend often says that there are very few truly good jobs, and the people who have them are never letting go. More and more, I think this may actually be true.

For me, the main factors of a good job are positive workplace culture and a good work-life balance. A better salary and job duties better suited to my skills would be nice too, but those are secondary to making sure the job doesn't consume me like my current one has done at times. I'd even take a lower salary (assuming they give raises, which my current employers do not) or a longer commute if the new environment were decent.

The problem is, these factors are not things you can typically learn from a job posting or during an interview. Nobody's going to tell you up front that the boss is verbally abusive, or that they expect you to work 60 hours a week. You typically won't hear the salary until you're made an offer, and nobody wants to discuss things like vacation time until well after you're hired.

So I'm confused as to how to proceed. As it is, I find few jobs that I feel qualified for, and even then all I know is what the duties are. Sometimes even that isn't fully clear in advance.

So, for people who truly like your jobs, what advice do you have?
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:33 PM
 
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I think that a lot of the things you're saying aren't talked about in the job interview are in fact things that should absolutely be talked about in the job interview. If they don't mention overtime or working nights/weekends, you should ask about it. It's perfectly fine to ask if they've provided their employees with raises every year for the past several years. You should be asking good questions to help you figure out the supervisor's management style. If you still aren't sure, feel free to ask to speak to other members of the department in which you'd be working. Ask thoughtful questions about the supervisor's management style (don't put them on the spot or directly ask them to say anything negative about their boss). Ask about the salary range. Ask if your desired salary falls within their range. Talk about vacation time. If not with the manager, at least with HR. How much vacation time is standard? Is their a waiting period before you're allowed to use it? Does the position get paid overtime, comp time, etc? If you already have a vacation planned, let them know the dates once you get the job offer and get them pre-approved. Ask questions about the company culture. Do it in a positive way, but get the answers that you need.

While you can't always figure everything out during the job interview, you should at least be able to get enough informed to make an educated decision on whether or not you should take the job. If you find out that they lied to you during the interview, like about overtime, get your resume back out there right away and stand up for yourself to the manager. "While I understand that things come up and that overtime will be needed occasionally, you were very clear during the interview that overtime isn't the norm. Let's discuss some solutions to alleviate the need for all this overtime, and also I want to make it clear now that I am not frequently available to work evenings/weekends. Of course I'm happy to do so when needed infrequently, but not regularly. If that's something that you now need as part of my position, I think we need to talk about increasing my vacation days or pay to offset such a change."

Finally, I can't stress enough how important it is to find something that you enjoy doing. I'm not a fan of my company's culture, but I like my boss and I like my department, and I love what I do. While I don't love everything about my job, I still enjoy going to work every day. Loving what you do can offset a lot of other negatives. If I didn't like what I was doing, there is no way I could work at my company. I'd obsess about the culture and things I didn't like, and I'd be miserable. Liking what you do can make a huge difference in how your perceive your job and company.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:50 PM
 
520 posts, read 212,207 times
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You make some excellent points. Typically, job seekers are discouraged from asking about things like salary and vacation during interviews. So most people won't ask, for fear of making a bad impression. I really wish more job postings would include this sort of information. I suppose most people wouldn't bother to apply if the job posting mentioned excessive overtime, but then again a company could avoid hiring people then losing them because the hours are too long.

And while I totally agree that a job is so much better when you enjoy the work, I could go either way. I've been saying recently that I would make a small sacrifice or two if the job was really good, but I'd also be willing to do a lesser job if the office environment was positive, the pay was decent, and employees were treated well.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:44 PM
 
1,246 posts, read 2,989,228 times
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You kind of have to learn how to read the tea leaves... and sometimes our optimism works against us in that regard...

In the past, I accepted a job where I thought all the lights were blinking green... turns out I missed a ton of red flags, but was so eager to jump away from the frying pan that I wound up in the fire.

Now that I'm not working and thus paying more attention to how prospective employers behave during the job search process, I can see more of the red flags. Sometimes the red flags come wrapped in "green" - like the small company that sent out an e-mail to applicants (myself among them) reassuring them that they would call sometime the next week to talk further. How nice! Well, they called -- and I was at the dentist and missed the call -- and when I called back an hour later, I reached the guy who left the message and gave my name, and he said "Who? Oh..." and then said he'd call back after his meeting, and he never did.

This was upsetting, but it also made me realize they had been giving off a lot of other subtle signals of disorganization during the process thus far -- a Craigslist ad and no mainstream ad; a hiring manager who called from home with a crying baby in the background; the hiring manager mentioning there would be less hours to work each week than was mentioned in the ad; and three or four different websites for the company. But funny thing is, up until I got the runaround with the phone call, I noted these things, but put no weight on them. If I had been around to answer the call when it came in, I might have found myself working for someone really disorganized and unprofessional. And to be honest, at this point in my life, I've been there and done that.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:47 PM
 
520 posts, read 212,207 times
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I've heard it said numerous times that one of the biggest mistakes job-seekers make is to use the interview solely to impress the hiring manager. It's also supposed to give the candidate a sense of whether they actually like the company and really want the job. If a job environment is unsuitable there are usually signs but, as you said, if you're not looking for them you won't see them. I've learned to be very cautious, I just hope it doesn't hinder me more than it hurts.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:36 AM
 
1,246 posts, read 2,989,228 times
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It kind of amazes me that people scrutinize and research their dates more than they do their prospective employers. You're going to be spending a few hours per week, tops, with a date... you're going to be spending 8+ hours per day with an employer...

Job sites like Glassdoor can help you learn about the "real" company culture, but unfortunately most people who post reviews on Glassdoor already have a big chip on their shoulder or don't have a really broad experience at the company.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:57 AM
 
520 posts, read 212,207 times
Reputation: 688
I'm weary of using Glassdoor, for a few reasons. Mostly it's because you only see a small handful of comments for any one company, which doesn't really give you a true sense of how people like it there. (It's similar to avoiding a hotel because 2 people in 10 years had a bad experience there.) Also, a lot of smaller companies aren't even listed on there, and for bigger companies you'll find reviews for multiple locations which doesn't really tell you much about the specific office you're applying to.
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