Culture vs. Compensation
September 14, 2015
Todd Henderson

Culture vs. Compensation

“Young professionals often fail to look at the big picture when deciding whether or not to take a position and instead focus too much on the salary,” says Chaz Pitts-Kyser, author of “Embracing the Real World.” But as they settle into the workforce, they soon realize compensation isn’t the most important thing. This is something we eventually learn first hand. You spend the majority of your time at your place of business with your colleagues. A bad office culture will affect not only your work life, but your personal life as well. No matter how amazing that salary of yours is, a bad office culture will negate every single cent of that “amazing” salary. What’s the point of having this disposable income, if you’re too miserable to enjoy it? As much as a company interviews you, you in turn are interviewing them. Yes, you want to make sure you’re being fairly compensated, but at the end of the day compensation shouldn’t be your deciding factor—culture should. Take a minute and ask yourself whether or not you could see yourself within that company’s culture. Can you see yourself working with the people within it and, most importantly, can you see yourself growing within the company? If you stopped to ask yourself these questions, then you’d see the big picture. (Even better if you were able to answer yes because you probably just found an awesome place to work.) You understand that your job isn’t just a dollar sign, but a place for you to thrive and grow. In addition to the three questions listed above, there are a couple things you should always consider when determining a culture fit.

  1.  Do the current employees look happy? First impressions are everything. When you go in for an interview and the current employees look unhappy that is a huge sign of what’s to come. However, if you look around and see people who genuinely look like they are enjoying their job, which gives you that reassurance of “this could be a great place to work.” If you need further confirmation, ask your interviewer if you could meet some of the employees. What’s the harm in asking? Because if all goes well, these could end up being your colleagues.
  2.  Are the company’s goals and values aligned with yours? You want to make sure you’re buyin’ what the company is sellin’. If you aren’t in alignment with your place of business, it’s not going to work out. You’re going to feel defeated and frustrated at every turn.
  3.  Do your research. We live in a digital age, where you can find anything on the Internet. A majority of companies have an Internet presence and thanks to platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram mixed with the opinions of vocal current or former employees, you can find anything on the web. And I mean anything! So, do your due diligence, you owe it to yourself.

Personally, I was lucky enough to find not only a job I love, but also a career (and a home) at INK. Just a week into my new position, my notion regarding culture and compensation was reassured.  Culture is a self-fulfilling cycle. Positive office culture leads a to positive staff. A positive staff provides you with people passionate about their job and what they are doing. Passion at work leads to a greater end product.  Being a part of the INK Team is like being part of a family (as cliché as that may sound). There is…as we like to say…a “oneness” about the company that cannot be duplicated—we succeed and overcome hurdles together. Next time you’re in the interview hot seat or about to sign that offer letter, think about the big picture. Take a moment and consider how this career step will impact your professional and personal life. This decision will take you down one of two paths—one that makes you walk around screaming, “I hate my life” or another that makes you want to hashtag everything with #joblove.