It’s going to be great when we all get that first salary offer out of college. For most of us, it will be the first stream of steady income we’ve ever had. But before you sign a contract with an employer, there are a few questions you should ask. You might be surprised to find some unexpected perks attached to your new contract.
Health and wellness
This goes beyond providing health care benefits: Some companies offer discounted gym memberships, in-house work-out facilities, or yoga during the day. Others like White Wave Foods will provide you with free marathon training and pay your registration fee. Dig in and find out if they have a flexible spending account for medical expenses, which can help you lower your taxable income. Does the company seem concerned with your longevity as a human? If not, you may not be working there for long, for more reasons than one.
Yes—that’s right. Someday you might have kids, and your company’s policy on parenthood should matter. Are they a family-friendly employer? Do they want you to spend 75 hours a week at the office instead of with your kids? Google offers $500 in “Bonding Bucks” to help ease the transition to parenthood. Companies like ENLASO let you take the entire summer off to spend time with your kids, and there’s no stigma attached or upward mobility lost. ENLASO also mandates that its employees work from home at least one day a week, which can be helpful if you’ve got a sick kid home from school. While the mommy-daddy stuff might seem far off, it’s never too early to get a feel for your new company’s true values.
SendGrid, a Boulder, Colo., start up, sits on the second floor of its building. The first floor is occupied by Chipotle, which means the company has an unlimited burrito account for all employees. Other companies have “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” every day of the year, while others have subsidized company cafeterias, beer fridges or weekly barbecues. These benefits don’t add cash to your wallet, but they’re likely to improve your mood and boost your relationships with your co-workers.
So make sure you read beyond the bottom line. Find out what your company’s internal value system looks like. If you want to work somewhere that supports saving the earth or keeping families together, make sure you ask before you accept the position. Plus, if you’re still in the interviewing phase, knowing the company’s core values and relating them to yourself can push your resume to the top.