Is it worth it?
Financial flexibility, meaningful work — the benefits of a “good” job, whatever they may be to you.
How much are you willing to give up for it?
40 hours a week? Okay, yeah, that’s a given.
Beyond your time, though, there are certain sacrifices that, no matter your salary or role, are never worth sacrificing. Here are seven:
Unlike poor sleeping habits or diet, it’s very difficult to track general health on a daily or weekly basis. As a result, it mostly comes down to how you feel. When you’re half-awake with a pounding headache and stressed to the gills, your present health speaks for itself.
A demanding job with unrealistic hours or obligations can cause health issues like hypertension due to stress, so if a certain job is not remotely conducive to healthy habits like walking breaks, healthy lunches and free weekends, it’s worth evaluating the potential impacts on your health.
2. Personal Identity
When dealing with business associates or clients, it’s logical to take pride in your role and publicly identify with it. When speaking with them, it’s not odd at all to talk mostly about business.
However, there is a variety of people who enjoy your company outside of your professional expertise, like friends and family.
If a job demands so much of your time and mental energy that you lack outside hobbies, it may begin to rub off on your identity outside of work.
An overbearing job can encourage a more one-dimensional personality that prioritizes business ahead of all else, which is not conducive to forming meaningful relationships outside of work.
This can have a very detrimental impact on mental health, according to a scientific study. The study’s lead, Dr. Shira Gabriel, says the research shows “that the events that end up being most important in our lives, the events that bring us the most happiness and also carry the potential for the most pain, are social events — moments of connecting to others and feeling their connections to us.”
It’s easy to perceive your job as a necessary cog in furthering a better life for your family, with a more secure financial situation meaning you can provide adequate food and shelter for your family or your kids can go to college debt-free.
These are well-intentioned thoughts, but a lack of quality family time could be a major consequence of over-working that impacts family relationships for the worse.
Of course, most jobs mean 40 hours away from family, but not all jobs are created equal when it comes to work-life balance.
Be sure to choose one that doesn’t interfere with your family. Remember that, in the long-term, beautiful memories as a family trump a sparkling income.
4. Sleep and Sanity
Sleep and sanity go hand-in-hand, as a lack of sleep can contribute to psychological disturbances, specifically in regard to the medial prefrontal cortex, the “policeman of the emotional brain.”
The effects range from trouble focusing to a less patient demeanor, neither of which are positives in business or personal life.
Additionally, insufficient sleep has a variety of long-term consequences that include increased blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
Some jobs will demand seemingly non-stop overtime and ridiculous deadlines, so be sure to evaluate how a job will impact your sleep schedule before signing on. Turning a poor sleep schedule into a habit can have devastating health consequences that may make retiring in good health an uncertain proposition.
5. Your Network
In an ideal world, every prospective employer would be completely transparent, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Rather, there is a range of businesses that routinely hire and fire people, purely with the objective to use their personal contacts and dump them when finished.
There’s zero reason for any professional with hard-earned contacts to start sharing that list with a new employer, apart from specific circumstances involving some sort of guaranteed stake in that business. Your contacts represent your hard work and effort. Plus, your contacts trust you to not simply hand over their information to someone else.
Keeping your contacts confidential often presents a better long-term business outlook than spilling the beans with a new employer. If you were hired for your contacts, specifically, it very likely is not a good fit anyway.
It takes a lot of time and work to establish yourself as reliable and trustworthy. Being known as a person with integrity is often enough on its own to reel in new clients or opportunities.
It’s highly important to analyze whether the business’s morals align with yours. Some businesses are utterly cutthroat when it comes to competition and clients, no matter the cost, so be sure to ask yourself whether excelling at another’s expense via questionable tactics is worth climbing the professional ladder.
It’s difficult to detect immediately whether a prospective employer has integrity or not, though employer review sites like Glassdoor have made it easier to view opinions from previous and current employees. Checking out resources like these, as well as the business’s mission statement on their website, is a good way to hopefully determine whether a business’s integrity aligns with yours.
If not, it likely won’t work out in the long-term.
A good boss and co-workers should be supportive, but also constructively critical at certain points, with everyone aiming for universal improvement.
Becoming acquainted with potential bosses and co-workers before accepting a job is very prudent. It’s easy to get a feel for an office’s vibe when seeing how employees interact with one another, and whether those relationships are normal or have hints of jealousy or animosity.
Co-workers don’t have to be best friends, but it’s a red flag at an office if everyone is curt with one another. Conversely, offices with the occasional smile and a natural flow during collaborative tasks shows more effective leadership.
A toxic workplace with bitter or jealous coworkers can hamper one’s self-esteem and impact work and personal relationships as a result. As a valued employee, you should feel wanted at your place of work, not ridiculed or ignored. If that’s the case, it’s time to get out – now!