Paula’s Perspective: What about the Peeps?

By Paula Santonocito

If you think back to the best job you ever had, chances are it wasn’t the great salary or the fabulous office you remember fondly. Sure, money matters and work space that works counts. But it’s the people with whom you work that make or break an employment experience.

The fun and friendly co-workers, the teammates who helped you meet deadlines and goals, the boss who encouraged and supported you—these are the people you remember.

Similarly, you also remember the office gossiper, the team member who never contributed anything except aggravation, and of course you’ll never forget the boss from hell.

Yet, what do you look for when you’re seeking a new job?

If you’re like most people, you’re focused on finding a position where you can use your skills and abilities and earn a competitive salary. Benefits likely factor in, as do perks. Advancement potential, which includes the opportunity to learn and grow, may also be high on your list.

While these things are important and should be part of your assessment experience (for you should be assessing a potential employer just as an employer assesses you), don’t forget to consider the people when you’re deciding whether to work at Company XYZ.

Did the staff members you meet seem friendly? Were they obviously into their jobs? Did you get a positive feeling when you interacted with everyone from the receptionist to the human resources representative to your would-be boss?

Or did you come away with concerns about workplace morale, employee work ethic, and possibly more?

As you may have already learned, Workplace Shangri-La doesn’t exist. However, if you’re getting bad vibes based on the people you met during the interview process you may want to pass on the job at Company XYZ.

In a conversation with SMW, Rob McGovern, founder and CEO of Jobfox, noted that people work an average of 10,000 days during the course of a lifetime.

That’s a lot of time spent with coworkers. With this in mind, when deciding whether to accept a new position—or, for that matter, stay at your current company—you’ll want to ask yourself, “What about the peeps?”

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Paula Santonocito, a business journalist specializing in employment issues and author of more than 1,000 articles, holds a Workforce Career Coach Facilitator (WCCF) certificate from Thomas Edison State College. She is career editor of

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