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Career Coach: Accepting a Job Proposal

The Career Coach points out various considerations and things to check out before you enter into a relationship with an employer that will hopefully result in a happy employment.

June is traditionally a month for weddings. Who you choose to marry can change your life. Who you choose to work for also changes your life and can determine your outlook, health and happiness. Like a marriage, when you accept a new job, you are committing to a relationship. Before you marry someone, its a good idea to find out as much as you can about them. The same is true for a potential employer. Before you say, I do to an employers job offer, consider these factors to make the honeymoon last as long as possible:

1. The Match Game

Do your skills, interests and values match the tasks and functions of the job? Will you be doing what you love to do? What youre good at? Does the position meet your long-term goals or help you on the road to getting there? Will you be able to learn something new? Is the job vital to the companys core business? Are you comfortable with the demands of the job-hours, travel, responsibilities?

2. Whos the Boss

The number one reason people leave jobs is poor supervisory behavior -- in other words, a bad boss. When you interview with your prospective boss, evaluate his or her interpersonal, management and communication style. If you dont meet with your prospective boss, try to find out what he or she is like by asking other employees or through industry contacts. Do his/her expectations for the job seem reasonable? Will he or she be a good mentor? What can you learn from him or her? Is your prospective boss capable? Interested in your growth? Will he or she make sure you have the training and resources to do your job? You want a manager committed to helping you succeed.

3. Guiding Light

Are the organizations interests and beliefs compatible with your own? Does the company have a reputation for being ethical with high professional standards? Is it committed to workforce diversity? How does it contribute to the community, other than providing jobs? Does the company promote from within? You should feel good about the values and philosophy of the company you work for, and be comfortable with the way it conducts business.

4. Environmental Issues

What is the atmosphere and quality of the facility and the surroundings? What is the dress code? During the interview, try to see your actual workstation and watch your co-workers in action. Dont underestimate location as a satisfaction issue. Will you like the area where youll be working and living? Will the commute be manageable?

5. Command Performance

Stable, steady employment is rare in the animation and visual effects industry, but before accepting an offer, give the company a performance review. Assess the companys financial health, market position and management strength. Is the company well known and have a good reputation in the industry? Does it have steady clients? Is it growing or is it faltering? Dont put yourself in jeopardy by working for a company that may not be able to meet its payroll.

6. Lets Make a Deal

Analyze the total compensation package including salary, any variable pay such as bonuses or profit sharing, comp time policy, insurance and other benefits such as 401(k) plans, vacation policies, tuition reimbursement and other perks. Find out how often your salary will be reviewed, how bonuses are determined, what your share of the cost for insurance and other benefits are and when benefits begin.

7. The Dating Game/Family Matters

Although much of your time is taken up with work, maintaining a work-life balance is vital. Will the companys values, programs and practices accommodate your commitments to family, friends and outside activities? How many hours do people typically work? Is there any flexibility in when and where you work? Does the company provide technology support to those who travel or work at home?

When considering these factors, dont overlook major issues that can affect your quality of life. Of course, no job will be perfect. But if your most important needs and values will be met, this job could be the beginning of something wonderful. Before you start courting that next company, find out as much as you can about that prospective employer so you will be ready to say I do to any job proposal.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter/hiring strategist and career coach. Her most recent recruiting clients include Paramounts feature film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Toybox, a Canadian visual effects company. She speaks regularly at schools and industry meetings and is looking forward to her presentation on résumés and demo reels at this years SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 11, 2004.