8 Things to Consider When Looking for a New Job

istock
istock

When deciding on whether a new job is right for you, it’s important to look past the paycheck. While salary is important, it doesn’t always spell happiness. Here are eight things to consider while weighing the pros and cons of that new position. 

1. BENEFITS 

Remember that your base salary is just one part of your compensation package. Insurance, retirement contribution and matching, paid time off, equity, bonuses, and more should all be considered—and negotiated—before signing on the dotted line. It’s important to also ask your potential employer about perks the company offers: Are there wellness plans (including discounts on things like gym memberships), pre-tax travel options, or reimbursement for relocation costs at your disposal?

2. HOURS 

Not every office job is a 9 to 5. Before committing to a job change, reach an understanding with your potential employer of expectations for regular working hours. Beyond whether your start time is 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., try to get an idea of how much after-hours work is considered normal.  And when considering a job with different hours from what you’re used to (such as a weekend schedule, evening hours, or an early-morning shift) make a list of how this change will impact your life—maybe you’re not as much of a morning person as you thought. 

3. OFFICE CULTURE 

Getting a handle on your new position’s hours can also be your window into one of the most elusive decision-making factors: the company’s office culture. Are the employees at your new job happy? Do they enjoy working for the company—and with one another—and do they feel like their work is valued? While something intangible like “office culture” and “vibe” can be tricky to figure out prior to your start date, the answers to questions about flexible hours, team-building events, and regular reviews (opportunities to give as well as receive feedback) can be a valuable litmus test. 

4. THE TEAM 

Nothing affects office culture more than your co-workers, which is why it’s a good idea to meet as many as you can during the interview process. While the hiring manager can speak to the team’s talent and dedication, your peers—if it’s possible to talk to them—can shed light on group dynamics and management as well as share their own reasons for choosing the company. Consider all interactions, including email responses (are they timely and courteous?), when determining whether these are people you’d like to work with. 

It’s also important to take a look at personnel higher up the ladder. Do some research to learn a bit about the people who will be your managers.  Do you see mentorship potential in any of them? Do they have a track record of supporting more junior talent? And look outside the immediate hierarchy—if there were to be a management shakeup, would you be happy with new leadership? 

5. PASSION 

One good indicator of your future team’s happiness is how passionate they are about the work they’re doing. Having a unified vision and values can buoy the office atmosphere. Ask yourself if the company’s mission excites you the same way it (hopefully) does your potential co-workers—this can be a good indicator of whether the job will be a good fit.

6. GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES 

During the interview process, be sure to ask about advancement opportunities within the company. Doing so will not only help paint a better picture for you of what a future with that employer may look like, but shows the hiring manager that you are looking to invest your time and talents in the company long-term. It’s also worth perusing the social media pages of employees at your potential organization; look for things such as how long they stay in the same position 

And while the traditional growth trajectory includes promotions to more senior roles within your department, it’s also smart to ask about horizontal opportunities. As your skills and interests evolve, you may find you want to pursue a lateral move to a different area within the company. 

7. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES 

The bottom line is, you want to work for an organization that supports and encourages your growth—and sometimes, in order to grow, you will require additional education. Ask about whether the company provides stipends for continuing ed courses or professional degrees—and also whether employees are encouraged to take advantage of these resources.

8. COMPANY HISTORY AND STABILITY 

It can’t be stressed enough that you need to do a bit of research on your potential employer before making anything official. Do they have a track record of layoffs and cutbacks? Are they making headlines for the right reasons (such as reaching new audience milestones or expanding the business) or ones that raise red flags (legal issues, financial troubles)? While joining a startup can be exciting, it’s also a huge risk—be realistic about whether it’s a good time for you to take one. 

Wells Fargo Advisors knows the importance of a team that feels like family: It’s worked to foster a refreshing culture of respect and support since Day 1. Learn more at joinwfadvisors.com.

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

9 Outdoor Accessories for the Perfect Backyard Party

Amazon/OtterBox
Amazon/OtterBox

Hosting the perfect party in the great outdoors doesn't have to involve you moving any further than your own backyard. Whether you’re looking for games to play with friends, chairs to keep you comfortable, or tents to turn your yard into your own personal campsite, check out some of these essential products that will transform your own patch of nature into a true outdoor oasis.

1. Wine Tumbler; $20

Tumblers from Otterbox
OtterBox

These wine tumblers from Otterbox will make your backyard the toast of the summer. Made from 100 percent stainless steel and lined with copper, these 10-ounce cups will keep your wine at the perfect temperature until the last s’more is eaten and the fire is put out. Each tumbler holds two standard wine pours and has a sweat-resistant design so you can leave your coasters inside. And each tumbler is fitted with a press-in lid, keeping your drink secure whether you’re taking a walk or playing a game with friends.

Buy it: Otterbox

2. Wood-Burning Fire Pit; $300

Wood-burning fire pit from Wayfair.
Martha Stewart/Wayfair

This steel wood-burning fire pit is exactly what you need to create a little ambiance once the moon is out and friends and family are ready to unwind with some roasted marshmallows. The pit itself is only a few feet across, so you'll be able to build a cozy fire for a handful of people, and the mesh screen that secures over it will keep the sparks away from you and your party. 

Buy it: Wayfair

3. Kabob Grilling Baskets; $17

Kebob grilling baskets on UncommonGoods.
UncommonGoods

No backyard adventure is complete without a tasty meal, and these kabob grilling baskets will help you spend less time on the grill and more time enjoying the beauty of nature. These baskets can be packed with all the ingredients you could ever want for kabobs, and without wooden skewers involved, you’ll avoid any unwanted splinters in your meal. With the ability to customize each basket, you’ll have the flexibility to create the perfect portable dinner for guests (or just for yourself).

Buy it: UncommonGoods

4. Beer Caddy; $25

A beer caddy on Amazon.
LEGACY/Amazon

Beer lovers won’t have to worry about foregoing a cold one while spending some time outside. This soft cotton canvas caddy can hold up to six bottles or cans, and it comes with a removable inner divider, so you have the flexibility of mixing and matching different-sized beverages. Its attached bottle opener—which is hooked to the caddy via a retractable cord— can be stowed in a side pocket for quick access, allowing you to open your drinks with ease.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Outdoor Jenga; $119

A large outdoor Jenga game
Jenga/Amazon

Mix up the usual ghost stories and campfire singalongs with this giant game of outdoor Jenga. Fifteen times larger than the size of a standard Jenga game, these extra-large Jenga blocks can stack up to over 5 feet high and are the perfect size for a deck or beach towel. This set comes with a portable bag for all the blocks so you can easily transport the game from one spot in the backyard to another.

Buy it: Amazon

6. and 7. Camping Chair; $30 and Loveseat Camping Chair; $73

A Colman outdoor chair on Amazon.
Coleman/Amazon

If you’re not a fan of sitting on wet grass or getting bugs on your clothes, this camping chair from Coleman will help you kick back in style. The chair has a cushioned seat and back for maximum outdoor comfort, and it also has a built-in four-can cooler pouch to keep cold beverages handy. It even comes with a nifty side pocket for books, magazines, and newspapers.

An outdoor loveseat that's available on Amazon.
Goplus/Amazon

For anyone who hates toting multiple chairs outside, check out this loveseat-style camping chair! Its ergonomic design seats two people with ease, and it’s supported by a rust-resistant steel frame and weather-resistant fabric for withstanding the elements (or just a shower from a nearby sprinkler). Even though it can hold up to 400 pounds of weight, the chair itself weighs only 11 pounds, making it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to avoid making extra trips to the garage for gear.

Buy itAmazon (camping chair); Amazon (loveseat)

8. Camping Hammock; $29-$40

A hammock that's available on Amazon.
Wise Owl Outfitters/Amazon

If you're one to go a bit horizontal toward the end of a party, take a look at this hammock from Wise Owl Outfitters. Made from heavy-duty parachute nylon, this hammock is incredibly durable and can be secured to trees with a simple set of straps. The hammock comes in two different sizes, a twin and a full, so you can choose the size that's right for you. And best of all? The largest one weighs only 26 ounces, making it easy to take comfort on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Magnetic Door House Tent; $172

A magnetic door house tent on Wayfair.
Wayfair

Mosquitos, flies, and other outdoor pests don’t stand a chance against this portable screened-in porch from Wayfair. This outdoor sanctuary is big enough to fit a picnic table (and all of your friends) inside, and it features two magnetic-close front and back doors. This tent even comes with a 10-year warranty, so you can rest easy knowing that it will provide you with backyard adventures—and zero bug bites—for years to come.

Buy it: Wayfair

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.