What Matters to You?

Many career advice columns focus on financial compensation, salary and benefits. Negotiation for fair pay is a topic I've spoken on frequently, and people I coach are always quick to ask questions about competitive salary and benefits.

I get it. Being able to support yourself and your family is absolutely the top priority in a job search, without question. It's like the hierarchy of needs graph, where you have to focus on the basics first before you can start worrying about more abstract stuff.

I have talked with clients who are fortunate to be at a point in their lives where salary isn't the only consideration. They may have found that trite phrases like "money can't buy happiness" have a kernel of truth to them. So I asked my LinkedIn network:

What attributes of a company or a job are MORE important than salary?

What are the must-have qualities that - if you suspect they aren't present - would make you turn down a job offer, even if the pay was terrific?

I received more than 30 responses, and many of them generated conversations among the respondents. Here are a few of the answers given by professionals.

  1. Empowerment. The freedom to do great work in your own way. Several folks mentioned the importance of autonomy, being able to pursue your own ideas, and respect for an employee's expertise.
  2. Flexibility. Whether it was vacation time, the ability to work remotely, and acknowledgement of the unique work/life balance issues each of us face were frequently cited as dealbreakers.
  3. Good supervision. So many folks described fantastic managers as being the reason they stayed at a job, and poor managers as the reason they left. Effective supervision may look different for different people, but in most responses it came down to respect.
  4. Inclusion. Several people highlighted that the diversity of a department or company was critical for them, and they wanted to see inclusion practiced in the day-to-day work of their employer. 
  5. Professional development. We need to keep learning and growing, even if we don't plan to leave our jobs. The folks who responded cited how important continuing education and support for learning was in their work.

You know what was NOT included in the responses? Anything about job duties. No one cited the actual work required as a dealbreaker. I'm not actually surprised because in my experience, in the right culture with supportive management and a positive work environment, folks will work really hard to get the job done!

As a postscript, notice how much engagement this LinkedIn post got compared to a typical post which contains an article or inspirational quote. The professionals on LinkedIn welcome the opportunity to engage, converse, and interact. Make your next LinkedIn post a thoughtful question and see where it leads!

If you'd like to read the individual responses, check out the original post on LinkedIn here. Feel free to add your own perspective!