At Merriman, we encourage our clients to pursue a fulfilling life. This sounds great, but can sometimes be harder to achieve than we’d like. You might find yourself thinking, “If I only had more time for….”. How many times have you lamented a lack of work/life balance? While our jobs provide the means to achieve some of our goals, but at times, they may stand in the way of personal fulfilment.
When Merriman Wealth Advisor Aimee Butler fell into a career in personal finance, she felt really lucky. She worked for a large firm that made every employee feel like an important individual, not just a number. She had control over her work and the pursuit of her goals. Even though she worked for a national company with thousands of employees, they gave her the freedom to make the best decisions for her clients based on their individual circumstances. Over time, though, Aimee started to feel like she was just a number. Her work was dictated by corporate protocol, instead of what she felt was best for her clients. The culture she’d experienced early on was slipping away.
During this time, Aimee started to gather information about how women at the company had been able to balance having successful careers and raising children at the same time. The answers she received were another mark against staying at this company. She was told that there weren’t any branch managers (a job she’d wanted) who managed to balance both. When she took a role on the corporate side of the company, the amount of travel she was expected to do made it clear that work would win over family if she stayed.
Aimee started to look for a new workplace, focusing on the culture of the companies she pursued. She asked specific questions about balancing career and family. She looked for companies whose offices felt familial. Her next job fit the bill. Everyone knew each other’s names. She was able to start a family and take maternity leave with the confidence that her job would be waiting for her when she was ready to return. The ability to both pursue success at work and raise her kids and have a full family life is what made this the right place for her.
After nine years with that firm, something shifted. Just like at her last job, Aimee began to feel like just another statistic. Instead of feeling like “we’re all in this together,” it felt like every person for themselves. The community broke down, and a lot of people moved on to other companies. Once again, it was time for a change.
As she searched for a new job, Aimee focused on finding companies that had strong cultures. She looked holistically at what each company was offering her – the culture, the benefits, and of course, monetary compensation.
Lucky for us, Aimee decided to join the Merriman team. She says the fact that Merriman looks at each employee as a whole person is what sets us apart. Merriman knows that everyone works hard at their job, but we also have other priorities in life. We have families, hobbies and personal goals. Everyone faces personal challenges – the death of a loved one or an extended illness, and Merriman helps care for its employees during those times. She also appreciates the values Merriman pursues in the office, especially being friendly and collegial, and being open and honest.
When you get a new job opportunity, we encourage you to look at what the job will do for each area of your life, not just your career. A large paycheck may seem like it will open doors for you and your family, but consider whether it might also mean an expectation to work longer hours than you can sustain. Ultimately, money can’t make you feel respected, heard or valued if you’re working in a culture that is not supportive of your goals in and out of the office.
There are numerous factors to consider when you’re looking for a new job or reviewing a job offer. Here are a few to get you going.
- Benefits: This includes things like health insurance, parental leave, vacation and sick time, retirement plan options and employer contributions.
- Compensation: This includes base pay, bonus pay and commission structure. You might also consider the structure a company has for reevaluating compensation and raises.
- Perks: This includes things like gym memberships and wellness programs, as well as subsidized public transit costs. At Merriman, this also includes breakfast every Thursday morning and the celebration of our co-workers’ Merriman anniversaries.
- Location: Is the office in the city you live in or in a city you’re willing to move to? Consider whether the commute is realistic and manageable.
- Ability to reach goals: Will the company encourage and assist you in the pursuit of your goals? Will personal career development be second to hitting numbers/targets for the company?
- Respect: Will you feel heard and respected when you voice concerns or are faced with challenging situations?
- Employee relationships: Is the type of relationship you like to have with coworkers reflected in the company you’re considering working for? Will you feel supported as a person, not just an employee?
- Personal support: Think about how a company might react if you were faced with an illness or the death of a loved one. Would you feel supported and cared for during that time?
Ultimately, we can’t tell you what the right answers are or what considerations should be most important to you. Your priorities will change over time and we encourage you to reevaluate those priorities as you change and grow, especially when you’re pursuing a new job or career change. What was right for you at age 25 may not be right for you at 45.
Our goal to help you live fully means we’re always here to help. Let us know as you transition in your career. We’re happy to act as a sounding board and to help you compare compensation, benefits and those intangibles, too.