Look before you leap!

JumpOne thing I always make very clear to soon-to-be college graduates is to make absolutely sure you understand everything about a particular job offer before you jump at the chance.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking – lots of people looking for work. Maybe I shouldn’t be too picky and pass up an opportunity. Often true, but with just a little homework, you will be able to better evaluate that opportunity, and that thoughtful pause is even more important if you have more than one offer to choose from.

All jobs are NOT created equal and, in fact, the highest paying job may not always be the right choice. If you’re about to send me a “lol”, hold off for a minute, will ya’?

Here are just a few of many issues:

Benefits. This is certainly common sense, but failing to ask about the details of the company’s employee benefits could make it impossible to compare competing offers. Does the company provide health insurance? If so, what is the employee contribution?

Is there a 401K plan? Does the company match a percentage of your contribution? Do they offer tuition reimbursement for completing college or other courses? You get the idea. Total these benefits, and you could be talking serious money!

Cost of living. Trust me – a $100,000 annual salary in New York City is not the same as that same salary in Birmingham, Alabama. Having moved all over the country in my business career, I well remember those cities with the biggest sticker shock. If you have to live more than an hour away from your office because you can’t afford to live any closer is no fun, believe me, not to mention the cost of the gas to get you there.

Taxes. The famous saying: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Before accepting any job offer that requires you to move to a different state, do some research. Is there a state income tax? What are the municipal and other taxes that may apply? Moving to a state like Texas or Florida where there is no state income tax can mean more money stays in your pocket, where a move to Taxachusetts – sorry… Massachusetts may mean a substantial tax burden.

These and other issues – quality of life, local social scene, arts and culture – the list goes on, and are obviously subjective decisions only you can make. So as your unrelenting teacher, I ask only one thing: do your homework. You’ll be glad you did.

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