Skip to main content

Understanding that a job is more than just the role itself

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 5 Oct 2022

A job is more than a job iceberg image

When we begin our job search, we usually start by searching for specific job titles or organisations we would like to work for. This is the obvious and easiest way to start, but as these applications begin to develop into interviews and opportunities, then it’s time to start thinking about other aspects of the job that don’t just include the role itself. 

Your work life is so much more than a job, it’s about building a career foundation that can help you reach any future goals you have. This article discusses the different elements to a job that you should really consider before accepting a role. 

Ask yourself, what is important to you?

What do you want from a job? If you are simply looking for a role you can go to everyday, work hard and go home, that is perfectly normal. Everyone has their own goals and what they believe a good work-life balance should be.

However, if you are an individual that is following a personal development plan, you need to think about what you want to achieve in your next role. There are many different elements that make up a good job, but what is important to you as an individual? You might be looking for things like: 

  • Good salary
  • Colleagues you can get on with
  • Company culture
  • Opportunities to develop within an organisation
  • How they invest in their employees

We all have different elements to a role that are important to us. For example, if learning opportunities and company culture are things you are looking out for in a good job, then you need to do your research and be prepared to ask questions in the interview stages of your application. You need to find out just as much about the employer as you can, so you can make a decision. 

Where does this job sit in your development plan?

Is this job going to help you reach your career goals or is this the job you want to stay in for a long time. Depending on your goals, you might be looking for your ‘stepping stone ’ job to help you learn and develop in the career you have chosen. Or you might be looking for a long-term role that you want to stay working in for the foreseeable future. 

In whichever case, ask yourself - where do you see this role taking you?

Are you looking for a company that can help you train and learn so you can go and find another role in the future or are you looking for a job in a company that has the resources to allow you to work your way up. Important culture questions you should be asking employers. 

What about the work-life balance?

For some people, having a good work-life balance is crucial. You may need to know that the employer is going to take care of both your mental and physical health. It’s important to get the job done, but it’s equally as important to make sure you are healthy, happy, and taking breaks when necessary. 

A healthy work-life balance means different things for different individuals. So, ask about the work culture and discuss how other employees feel about their jobs. They’re important questions to ask and if you feel like the role isn’t going to aid you in this part of your life, then it might not be worth it. Jobs are important, but they aren’t the only part of our lives. You may have other priorities that are just as important as your job, so it’s your right to not let work get in the way.

Are there extra-curricular teams you can join?

When at work, you are likely to work across multiple teams and get to know colleagues throughout the organisation. Being able to step out of your comfort zone, talk to different people and get involved in activities that might not just be ‘job related’, is something many professionals seek. 

Whether it be a ‘women at work’ society, mental health support or other groups within the organisation that do meaningful work, it is worth mentioning in an interview. Especially if you want to get involved in extracurricular activities. 

Not only does it allow you time at work where you’re not doing the job (this can be important) but it allows you to expand your network, meet new people and make some change within an organisation. 

What projects can you get involved in?

Is your job just going to be your day-to-day duties? Or are there going to be chances to get involved in projects that will develop your career and expand your knowledge. We all have to do our daily tasks, it’s not something we can get away from. But are you able to get involved in wider activities that the company may be working on. 

These may include overtime and out of hours work, but if it’s something you’re looking to get involved in. It might be worth it? That’s something only you can decide. You shouldn’t feel pressured to take on extra work, but it’s what some individuals search for!

Learning opportunities

In some jobs, it can be obvious that learning opportunities are frequent. But in some, you have to ask and fight for them. When you start a job, the employer will train you. Give you the basics that you need to complete your job on a daily basis. However, this isn’t enough for some professionals. You might want to go the extra mile and see how you can progress within a company. 

What training do you want to do? Ask yourself what you want to learn. There might be a programming course you’re interested in or a specific software you want to learn more about. If they are relevant to your job and you ask, chances are the employer may help you train and obtain those skills. But if not, it might have to come out of your pocket.

When in interviews, ask about learning opportunities and courses the employer provides. You never know until you ask. 

By asking questions in interviews, you are able to get a good idea of what the employer can do for you. You are there to learn about the employer and what they can provide you with. If it’s not what you’re looking for, it should be a simple choice of moving onto the next opportunity. 

A role is more than the job itself. It should provide you with learning, a good balance, and the ability to grow within a company. So, if these things are important to you, ask! You might just be surprised with the answer and if not, you can cross that job off your list.