I Don’t Know Where I Want to Work, Do You?

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Row of Radio Flyer wagons.

Little wagons, big benefits.

I got my first email reminding me to “apply to graduate.” And with it came 5 minutes of minor hyperventilating and 20 minutes of distracted Googling at my new internship.

The Googling was prompted by another discovery: One of my internship’s competitors was named one of the top 25 best small/medium businesses to work for by the Great Place to Work® Institute.


In the way-too-near future, I need to pay back my loans and want to make a decent salary. However, I also hope to be happy at work. Here are a few things I’m considering to balance everything I want, as well as some companies from Great Places To Work’s list that fit the bill (hehe).

Tuition Talk

Since I’m looking into grad school and already have a boatload of loans to pay, I’m currently most interested in companies that offer tuition reimbursement.

Many companies will pay for you to go to school if it will benefit them. This money can be enough to cover a few classes or even your entire education (the latter typically comes with the requirement that you work for the company for a set number of years after you graduate). For instance, Lincoln Industries (#19 Best Medium Workplace) offers up to $10,000 in tuition reimbursement.

In addition, some companies will help you repay the student loans you currently have, like my old friends at SALT’s parent company, American Student Assistance® (the winner of a few Best Places To Work awards of its own). Others may even help you pay your student loans as part of your employment incentive package. If you’re facing a lot of debt like I am, definitely check out these options—as well as any organizations that may qualify you for loan forgiveness.

Money Matters

I’m looking at other benefit packages that companies offer as well. In addition to your regular salary and money directly related to your schooling, consider the total compensation you’ll receive from the company. Do you get paid time off? How about a retirement plan? What percent will they match for your 401(k) contributions. Does your company offer profit sharing?

Professional Placement Resources, LLC earned the number-one spot in the Best Small Workplaces category. With unlimited vacation and sick time, as well as a monthly profit sharing program regardless of rank within the company, I can see why. That all sounds good to me.

An Environment You Like

Though I’m not really a company softball team-type girl, I do like a fun-loving environment. I want to work somewhere that sparks creativity and passion for my brand.

For me, The Clymb (#11 Best Small Workplace) looks like the type of place I’d want to work for. They are a dog-friendly work place, offer free weekly bike tune-ups, and hold in-office group yoga. They also have a “gear” closet where employees can rent any athletic or camping gear they want.

Or maybe travel reimbursement is more your style. In that case, Radio Flyer Inc. (#13 Best Small Workplace)—yes, the little red wagon company—offers full travel reimbursement, as well as 52 cents a mile for biking and jogging commuters. (I tried to think of a good “you can’t ride my little red wagon joke,” but to no avail.) And new hires sometimes get a wagon filled with flowers delivered to their house the day before they start.

I’m sold.

What really makes you want to work for a company? Let us know your characteristics in the comments.

(Photo: diapham)

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