Despite popular opinion, or atleast common rap loar, it's not all about the Benjamins. There is more to consider when reviewing a job offer than your salary. There are other powerful levers within someone's compensation that can make or break a jobs incentives.
The following outlines many of the largest, most common factors including salary. It covers what I’d consider the tangible parts of compensation:
- Equity / Stock Options
- Health Insurance
- Vacation & Time off
- 401k match
- Profit Share
- Continuing Education
There are also intangibles, or items do not have a direct, guaranteed ROI. They do, however, impact the everyday enjoyment and career opportunities presented throughout work.
- Team members you work with.
- Autonomy within your position.
- Status inside and outside the company.
- The mission of the organization.
- Creativity to solve problems and choose projects.
- Pressure to complete work or hit goals.
- Upward mobility to outgrow the current position.
Before waiting until you have an offer on the table, it's helpful to review these considerations in advance. The following exercise could be helpful. As you proceed, consider there is no perfect answer. Job conpensation, like most areas of life, has tradeoffs that must be managed.
Personal Compensation Priorities
For each of the following items, rank your personal preference on a scale of 1-10. 1 means the items aren't that important to you. 10 means it's very important.
- Short-Term Benefit.
Income actualized immediately. (salary, insurance, time off, free lunch, etc.)
- Long-Term Benefit.
Income actualized over time. (stock options, retirement, profit share)
Amount of freedom in choosing project or way of working.
- Purpose & Fulfillment.
Importance of "the greater good".
Daily or weekly flexibility in how/when you work.
- Work Conditions.
Options about the conditions in which you work.
New projects, tasks, and opportunities.
Level of difficulty.
Working with others.
- Growth Potential.
Opportunities to move up within the organization.
After ranking the importance of each item, jot a brief note beside each, describing why you gave it the corresponding score. The goal is not you create a magic formula. Hopefully you develop a deeper understanding of what's most important to you.
If it seems like a lot, you are right. Comparing your options can be mind-numbing and overwhelming. There is no standard formula or true point of comparison. My primary suggestion is simple: If you’re new to a career, solve for this season of life. Instead of getting stuck in the future and long-term potential, identify the most compelling option for today. Understanding these variations and ways of being rewarded helps inform your decision-making as you decide on which work option you desire.
Happy job hunting!