Deciding on a long-term career path can be challenging if you’re not using a set of criteria to compare your options from the start. Most people get an idea of what they want to do and then follow that aspiration without considering alternative avenues, and as a result a significant percentage of employees eventually become unhappy with their jobs. Indeed, a short-sighted approach can leave you wishing you were doing something else. With that said, it’s important to look for the following 10 benefits and perks when comparing occupations:
1. Freedom of Relocation
Could you easily transfer to another region and yet retain your job position with the career you’re about to pursue? That’s an important question to ask yourself if you don’t like the idea of being tied down to a single location for the foreseeable future. Earning a degree that will make you eligible for higher ranking government jobs, is one way to ensure that you’ll have a high chance of landing a lucrative job just about anywhere. Some institutions even offer online professional degree programs for people who may already have full time work, but wish to further their career by completing further education.
2. Paid Travel
There’s a difference between a job that allows for easy relocation and one that will cover your travel expenses and send you on interesting trips frequently. If you like the idea of travelling as part of your job, a career that offers paid travel would be ideal. Even if the job doesn’t directly pay for all of your travel expenses, essentials like hotel stays and flights are usually included.
3. Vacations, Holidays, and Sick Days
The number of paid vacations, sick days, and holidays you’ll receive is another important factor to take into account if you value having free time without sacrificing your income. Public administration jobs and other government positions tend to offer the most in this department, as all federal holidays are honored and vacation time is generous.
4. Job Security
Feeling comfortable that you won’t be laid off any time soon is an essential assurance to have in today’s uncertain economy and with a continually increasing cost of living. Thus, it’s good to research job security stats and avoid sectors that see frequent terminations, lay-offs, and high unemployment rates.
5. Personal Fulfillment
Aside from the more obvious and tangible benefits, it’s also wise to consider whether you’ll receive any personal enjoyment or fulfilment from the career. Is it something that you’re going to take pride in and be passionate about? That’s a pertinent question to ask yourself when you’re thinking about hunkering down for the long haul.
6. High Rate of Compensation Increase
Some jobs experience prevalent pay cuts while others are known for providing consistent wage increases. Obviously, the latter is more desirable if you’d like the opportunity to grow your salary year after year. Although government employees receive a 5x higher rate of compensation increase than conventional employees, leading private sector occupations in this category include attorneys, professors, and software engineers.
7. Opportunity for Professional Growth
In addition to seeking a job that provides a heightened salary, it’s also wise to choose a path that allows you to climb the ladder into higher ranking positions. This will start with your degree, as certain educational credentials will make you more eligible for those prestigious positions you’re after.
8. Job Availability
Examining the unemployment rate is definitely a worthwhile step to take, as you don’t want to be stuck with a specialty that doesn’t keep you employed. Likewise, it’s best to choose a career that will give you plenty of job opportunities regardless of where you choose to live in the future. While job availability will vary depending on the area, some tend to have more open positions on an ongoing basis. The healthcare sector is a good example of a field that is always hiring somewhere.
9. Insurance Benefits
Although most companies will provide some level of health/dental insurance coverage, not all policies are made equal, so you may want to closely compare the average insurance coverage provided in each occupation before making your selection.
10. Retirement Benefits
Finally, to truly take your long-term goals into consideration you’ll want to also factor in the kind of retirement and 401k contributions the job provides. Although this can vary depending on the specific employer, certain fields (i.e. government and infrastructure) are known for offering particularly desirable retirement benefits.
Choosing a Job that Accommodates Your Preferences
Of course, you aren’t going to find many careers that provide all of the above benefits at the highest level, which is why it’s important to think long and hard about what your highest priorities are. Selecting a job that you know you’re going to be satisfied with is perhaps just as important as salary amount. Fortunately, with the above checklist you can easily put your comparison into perspective and narrow down your list until you’ve made a decision that you’re satisfied with.