Whether you’re a new college grad seeking your first full-time job or someone with a well-established career who is in search of greener pastures, you shouldn’t settle for less than you deserve at work. That does not mean you should make unreasonable demands before you are even hired—and if that’s your plan anyway, good luck on actually getting the job—but there are some benefits that you shouldn’t have to beg for. This is especially true if you are a parent or caregiver with a family. Work is important, but we all have other responsibilities, too.
If you think you’ve found your dream career, here are 5 non-negotiable job benefits that you should take into consideration before signing on the dotted line:
- Flex time. Despite a regular work schedule, things come up. Cars break down, kids get sick, and we all need to visit the dentist a couple of times per year. An understanding employer should offer flex time to help you fulfill your weekly work schedule yet take care of other non-life-threatening emergency incidents that occasionally occur. Working from home on occasion would be nice, too. (You could make up time missed in the evenings!)
- Paid sick time. Although flex time should be offered, there will be days that you are honestly too sick to work. Your dream career company should offer a set number of sick days per year. Just be sure you’re truly sick when you take advantage of them.
- Health insurance. Speaking of getting sick, a dream employer should also offer its employees the benefit of health insurance. Far too many Americans do not have coverage. If the company does not offer health insurance, inquire about reimbursing you—at least partially—for your own private health insurance policy.
- Education and training reimbursement. With any dream career, there should be opportunities to improve your education and opportunities for advancement. If on-site training doesn’t happen periodically—or even if it does—you should inquire about the possibility of tuition reimbursement. An employer should also pay for your travel and admission to industry-related conventions and conferences.
- Relocation benefits or sign-on bonus. If you are moving to a new city or state to accept a job, a relocation bonus or sign-on bonus to help pay your moving-related expenses is crucial. You would not be very happy if you broke a lease or sold your home, paid movers to take your belongings across the country, and wound up in a job that didn’t pan out as expected or ended six months after you arrived.
Accepting less than you deserve at work just to land the job might make you bitter after just a short while. If something doesn’t seem right from the get-go, try your best to negotiate. Some large corporations with firm rules in place may not be able to make accommodations for you, but many smaller companies and newer firms usually realize that employees are people outside of work.
Michael “Big Mike” McCaffery works to provide television packages at Go Dish, and enjoys helping people searching for jobs. If you would like to connect with him further, please check out his facebook page.