A job is often more than just a paycheck. Sure, a paycheck is probably the main reason most of us work, but there are plenty of other things about a job or career that can drive ambition. A recent article on CareerBuilder.com listed five top work perks that can be beneficial in retaining employees. These perks consisted of:
- Growth opportunities
- Competitive benefits
- Positive culture
Over the years, I've found that certain non-pay-related perks have indeed been important aspects of motivating me at work.
Possibility of promotion
Building on the "growth opportunities" perk mentioned in the CareerBuilder article, the possibility of promotion can almost be more of an incentive to perform well than a decent paycheck. This point is illustrated by the fact that through multiple promotions, I was able to triple a lower income within the hospitality industry in just five years. So sometimes taking a lower income-paying role with possibility of fast-track advancement opportunities can be better than taking a higher income with lower growth potential.
The work itself and skill/experience building
Learning new skills and getting free on-the-job training can be a wonderful aspect of the work environment. School can only teach you so much before it can be time to go out and ply a trade in the real world and get your hands dirty. As many graduates are finding in the current job market, experience can sometimes mean just as much or even more than a degree. And as many of the longer-term unemployed are finding, having current experience can make it much easier to change jobs or careers. According to an article from The Atlantic, "There are two labor markets nowadays. There's the market for people who have been out of work for less than six months, and the market for people who have been out of work longer. The former is working pretty normally, and the latter is horribly dysfunctional."
Having worked on the 3rd shift in the hospitality industry as well as having worked as a self-employed individual, I can vouch for how a particular work environment can make up for certain other things that might be lacking with a job. Having freedom of schedule, freedom from overbearing bosses, and freedom to do a job as I see fit are a few of the benefits I've enjoyed of particular work environments. Working close to home -- or even at home -- job security, and the pride one might feel at working in a particular location are other aspects that can make up for a somewhat deflated paycheck.
The older I get, the more kids we have, and the higher health-related costs go, the more I realize just how much employer-sponsored benefits can mean. A great example of this is our own family's health insurance costs. While we pay a substantial premium for our coverage, coming in at almost $8,000 annually, we recently got a breakdown of overall expenses during our open enrollment period. The employer-contributed side of such costs is over $21,000! Factor in other benefits such as employer-sponsored retirement plans, uniform allowances, transportation benefits, meal plans, and similar employer benefits, and it's easy to imagine some employers paying as much in benefits as they actually pay their employers.
Therefore, it isn't always just about the pay, but the work, location, advancement opportunities, and all the other benefits that can come along with a job that may make the work worthwhile.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional or career advisor. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or career advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
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- Employment & Career