Recent research has shown that a bad job can be worse for your mental health than having no job at all.
However, by taking charge when job hunting and making sure you look at all of the 'happiness factors' involved in a role, you can go some way to ensuring your future job satisfaction...
1. Money, money, money
ABBA thought it was so important they sang it three times! Although they say that money can’t buy you happiness (perhaps a straw poll of lottery winners may say otherwise!) at a time when cost of living is on the up, you need to consider your living expenses and what you’re worth. This is why we at totaljobs.com have a salary checker, to allow you to see whether you’re being paid a fair amount. Don’t take a job for a low salary because you’re desperate as you will probably just end up feeling resentful.
And also remember to include benefits and perks into this equation, as things like season ticket and bike loan schemes, pensions, car allowances, gym concessions and child care vouchers can all have a huge impact on your overall finances.
2. Location, location, location
Another one so important it had to be said thrice! Nobody enjoys commuting. You may think you can deal with a 3 hour round-trip every day because it will give you a chance to catch up on your reading, but try reading when crushed into a space half your size on the train every morning. Exactly.
If you want to lower your stress levels then be realistic about how far you’re willing to travel for work. Check our totaljobs.com jobs map and transport links features to make sure you know exactly what the location is before you spend time applying for a role you’ll never realistically be able to accept.
3. The importance of work-life balance
While asking "what are the hours and how many holidays do I get?" are big interview no-nos, you can usually get a sense during an interview – and sometimes even on a job advert – of whether the role will expect you to put in a lot of hours.
Some people thrive on a hectic working life and enjoy the rush of a 45+ hour week. Others accept it is an integral part of their career. However, for some, working late every night for no overtime just wouldn’t work with their family commitments. Is this you? Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for… After all, a job needs to fit in with your lifestyle if you’re to enjoy it long-term.
4. Where will my career path lead?
What are your ultimate goals and will this job help you to achieve them? This doesn’t mean that if there are no opportunities for quick promotion in a job you want then you should refuse it... You just need to ensure that it’s moving your career forward or you could soon feel like you’re stuck in a rut.
If you’re going to be learning new skills, receiving training, managing a project or contributing to something that you can be proud of, then it will be easy to use this to boost your CV when you eventually decide to move on.
5. The company we keep
We spend, on average, 8 hours a day with our colleagues. That’s more time than many of us spend with our friends and family. If you don’t like the working environment or hate your workmates then this will have an immediate and detrimental effect on your happiness. So make sure you ask about the company’s working environment – if you’re straight-laced and the company encourages chair races every lunchtime then it may not be the job for you.