Here’s A Checklist To Use For Every New Job You Get

So you’ve been offered a job. Congratulations! But before you dive in, letting excitement and the prospect of office dogs overwhelm you, you have a few important things to consider.

There are the obvious things like decent pay and proper superannuation, but there are also things like ensuring you have supportive leadership and opportunities to develop.

Does your new job offer everything you need to succeed? Use this checklist to ensure that answer is yes.

#1 Pay and superannuation

Okay, so we said it was obvious, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to talk about it. Adequate pay and superannuation are incredibly important parts of accepting a new job. It’s a reflection of your experience to date, and is a key determinant of your seniority and responsibility within the organisation.

It will also have an impact on how you live your life, if you can pay your rent, and how viable those boozy mid-week dinners with mates continue to be.

When it comes to securing the right pay, superannuation and benefits, a little research goes a long way. Work out what the average or above wage is for your industry and level of seniority, know your employer’s legal requirements around wages and super, and be willing to negotiate.

#2 Development opportunities

A job offer might seem to be a great fit and the perfect step-up for your career right now, but what about in two years’ time? A great new job will also provide direction and avenues for you to grow.

Whether that’s upwards into a more senior role, latterly into another department, on-the-job training or external classes or workshops, a new workplace should be brimming with potential. It should never look like a dead end, no matter how flashy the title or benefits offered are.

To assess the potential for personal and professional growth at an organisation, discuss this with hiring managers during your interview. Ask if there are formalised learning and development programs in place, or for examples of staff who have progressed at the organisation, and how the employer supported them.

#3 Location

Sorry, your new job is where? And that’s in actually in the state, you say? These are not questions born of inner-city snobbery, but rather of genuine concern for how long you’ll be in transit every day.

Whether you get to work by car, public transport, on bike or foot, it’s always time that has to be added to however many hours you spend at work. Obviously. But that means if your commute is an hour each way, and you work a standard eight-hour day (though most Australians work more), your day is now 10 hours long before you’re at home or enjoying rest and recreation time.

In most cases a commute wouldn’t be enough for you to turn down a great job offer, but it is something to be aware of. That’s precisely what this checklist is all about, seeing a new job holistically. And look, if you do have to undertake extensive travel for work, we’ve whipped up a couple of ways to make the commute suck less.

#4 Flexibility

Yoga classes are a nice touch, but we’re talking about a more important flexibility — a better bend if you will. This flexibility is an employer’s capacity to be accommodating to your needs as an employee.

This might refer to altering your start and finish times so you can drop your kids off at kinder or school, helping you set up a functional work from home arrangement if you have extensive travel time, or being adaptable with your work load if you have a persisting medical condition.

Employers being flexible doesn’t mean open slather for you, or that you can waltz in and start making outrageous demands before you’ve even started, but it does means that both parties need to be reasonable and open to compromise. Again, ask about this in your interview, research online and ask people within your network to share their insights and experiences.

#5 Culture

Is your future workplace well-known for its positive culture? Do people speak fondly of working there? Or is there a high turnover of staff? Culture can be a hard element to gauge before you actually start working at an organisation, but there are a few key markers that should provide some clarity.

For one, establish how senior leaders engage with other staff. Is it very hierarchical, with junior and senior staff shut off from each other, or do executives liaise with members of all teams?

Workplace culture also extends to work-life balance, and how your pursuits and passions outside work are valued. Look also for diversity and how well represented and respected a range of genders, cultures, religions and ages are at the organisation.

Use tools like Glassdoor and SEEK Company Profiles to read candid reviews about organisations from employees, who make assessments on a number of workplace issues. They also provide an overall employer satisfaction score.

#6 Mental Health Support

All jobs come with highs and lows. Just like life. And sometimes the happenings of work and life cross over, intersect, or crash so aggressively against each other that you could and do keel over. When this happens, you need to know your workplace has your back. 

Many workplaces now offer mental health leave days, will financially support confidential appointments with counsellors or psychologists, or make generous accommodations to ensure that you can continue working if at any time you struggle with mental health. No matter what industry or organisation you’re about to start working for, make sure you know your rights and obligations around mental health.

Take inspiration from this employer, who praised his employee for being open about her needs, and called for a complete de-stigmatisation of mental health in the workplace. Now this is the kind of place we’d like to work in.

Izzy Tolhurst is a copywriter and editor. She writes about music, the arts, employment and international development. She also sings and plays an impressively amateur level of guitar in Melbourne band Go Get Mum. Find her rambling on Twitter @izzytolhurst