Is there Anything More Important than Money when it comes to a Job?

There are a ton of people who either love their job, and alternatively, there are a ton of people who hate their job but the money is just too much to pass up.  But is there anything more important than the money? Are there characteristics about a job that make it amazing?

What does Evan Do?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, because each day is different.  Since I just checked the google results for “my official title” and “Evan” and up pops me! I can’t be giving that to you, but I can discuss my responsibilities a little.

I am back-office support for a large number of financial planners in an agency of a fortune 250 insurance company.  My daily responsibilities can include brain storming cases, reviewing client’s/prospect’s Wills for possible issues, reviewing other documents such as Buy-Sell agreements, preparing life insurance illustrations, teaching about topics, creating cold calling lists and just right this second a planner called me looking for a roth conversion calculator (I directed him to Dinky Town’s Calc).

Do I like my Job?

When I get to a client/prospect review and the planner is giving me his or her assets, and there is an estate tax…yes, I get a rush from the brain storming that occurs.  Can a GRAT work? How about an ILIT? Is there a Tax Senstive Will?  Does that Will follow the Testamentary Intent of the client?

Some people would get the rush from the sale to the client (but I guess thats why they are in financial planning and I am in supporting Financial Planners).  I get paid regardless of whether they make the sale, and I have stated over and over that I really love my job, but it isn’t because of the pay.

What to Look for in a Job besides Pay

I guess the real reason for this post, was two-fold…one tell you a little bit more about me, since everyone knows I like talking about myself (hell, I started a blog where the first word in the domain is, “my”).  The Second, was to discuss various other factors that should go into your decision when thinking about taking a job, beyond the paycheck.  So what factors are more important than a salary when it comes to taking a job?

Professional Autonomy

This is probably the most important thing to me.  The ability to practice law on the side, the fact that when my dad was in the hospital I left everyday at 3pm to get to NYC to visit him, time off to visit doctors in the middle of the day - this sort of freedom is worth a lot to me.

Funny story, when I first started here I needed time off for my house closing, so like any good employee I went into my boss’ office and asked/told him.  His response has stuck with me for 2.5 years – “This is not going to be our relationship.  If you need time off take it, I don’t care, just get your work done.”

Being stuck somewhere would make my head spin.

Benefits

This is a no-brainer.  Is there a health plan? 401(k) Plan with match?

Mental Stimulation

Is the job going to keep you happy and stimulated?  There are a lot of people that forgo this one, for a paycheck.  I hate to say it, but I am pretty sure I am one of those people who could be bored at work if I made enough money.

The only solace is that I know I am not alone.

How are the Co-Workers?

You won’t be able to tell if there is a great office life there, but during your interview you should be able to tell if your boss is a miserable human being.  If he or she is miserable during the interview they are going to SUCK to work for.

Room to Grow

This could mean anything from higher pay, to a chance to move up in the corporate world (if that is even your wish).  I believe humans need goals and objectives to meet.

Travel

Does the job require travel? Is this a good or a bad thing? Are you reimbursed for your travel expenses?

What am I missing? What did you think about before taking a job?

30 Responses to Is there Anything More Important than Money when it comes to a Job?

  1. Daniel says:

    Extremely interesting post. I currently work for the paycheck, but hopefully a few years down the road I will find something I have interest in pursuing. Coming out of college, it’s hard to find exactly what you want, especially if you’re not sure what that is.

    The thing I wish I had was professional autonomy. I’m here 8 hours a day because I need to be, and getting work done seems like it’s not the top priority.

    • Evan says:

      Coming out of college, you need to first determine what you want to do. I don’t think that is even easy for most people.

      I am feeling the hat by the way, I am pretty sure if I rocked that out I’d look like a weird man-turtle creature

  2. Joel says:

    The biggest thing that helped me was to start writing down things that I wanted in a career even if they were very general things at first and then start making them more specific and then find/create a career that would fit all of those criteria.

  3. Matt SF says:

    Location, location, location!

    I’ve honestly turned down jobs just because I didn’t want to deal with the commute or bumper to bumper traffic. Same scenario applies if you like where you’re currently living, and being asked to pick up roots and replant elsewhere – if I don’t like it, I’m staying put.

    The funny thing is when you give this excuse to an HR manager why you *don’t* want the job, they immediately throw money at you.

    Of course, you have to interview for the job or done previous consulting work with them to give them an above average reason to hire you, but they honestly get a little miffed and try to buy you off. Just something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a believable tactic to squeeze 5% to 10% more salary out of a future employer.

    • Evan says:

      Matt,

      LOCATION – IS HUGE! With your permission (kind of because I am going to do it either way) I am adding that to the post!

  4. Kevin M says:

    That’s a pretty solid list, Evan. Actually, I think I would like your job :).

    I’m really struggling with the “mental stimulation” part right now. I’ve been doing basically the same thing for 10 years, with slightly increasing difficulty the first 7-8, but the last 2 it is really stagnated. I’m OK with it b/c I make decent money, have health and 401(k) benefits and a really flexible schedule like you. But it’s really tough some days when that little voice inside you keeps saying he needs a challenge.

    I am conflicted b/c I know it’s a good job but at the same time I know I could do more. I’m also looking at stuff to do on the side as a challenge, but haven’t found anything exciting enough to get me going yet.

  5. Mike says:

    Exit opportunities are a big thing for younger kids.

    A lot of my peers are slaving away at investment banks, consulting, legal and accounting firms not because they’re on the partner track but because of the exit opportunities that working for one of these brand name companies can provide.

    • Evan says:

      Mike,

      I am not sure its the exit opportunities but rather the name recognition associated with an employer. and that is a really good one.

  6. Matt SF says:

    Ha! That’s fine by me! Always happy to add value to the conversation.

  7. LeanLifeCoach says:

    What’s really important to me is the opportunity for personal development. For the first time I work for an organization that encourages as much personal training and development as possible.

    The other thing is a company that encourages all employees to strive for continuous improvement.

  8. Ken says:

    I would add “good, affordable health insurance.” This can make life easier knowing you and your family are getting quality care.

  9. Sounds like the perfect job to me… Can I get one there? :-)

  10. david @ MBA briefs says:

    I’m finding coworkers and room to grow are pretty good reasons to take into consideration, and also working conditions. I make fairly decent money working in a refinery but it can be pretty messy and nasty at times.

  11. E-dog top answer your question “what are you missing”…… it feels like you are missing a sense of urgency. You seem very happy with your position. This can be good, or this can be dangerous.

    Sometimes it’s good to look at time like a currency. In 365 days we can make X amount so we can do something else we really really want to do.

    If you are happy with your position, then that’s all that matters. I enjoy pulling on the strings of urgency, but of course trying to always appreciate what I have.

    • Evan says:

      I meant the question and items to consider just general items, and then just applied it to my situation.

      What do you mean by Urgency?

  12. Ever heard of the quote “Only the paranoid survive”? It’s kind of the same thing.

    There has to be some sense of urgency that we could do more and not be complacent with status quo.

  13. Ryan says:

    I really like the bullets on mental stimulation and autonomy. Humans differentiate themselves from other animals in our ability to think – mental stimulation. Also, learning your purpose life provides the best return on your time – autonomy.

    • Evan says:

      Like I said Stimulation is HUGE, but I am almost positive I am one of those people that would forgo stimulation for a huge paycheck lol. Don’t judge me! HAHAH

  14. I love to get stimulated by huge paychecks, don’t worry Evan!

  15. Daddy Paul says:

    There are few things worse than working at a job where all you get is a paycheck. Too many jobs turn into that after a period of time. The way the economy is at this time many have been downsized into a job they do not enjoy doing.

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