You finally found work in sports. Your first few weeks are exciting and overwhelming. Then, everything starts to turn for the worse. Your days get longer. The workload piles up. The next thing you know, your family is enjoying their weekend while you’re tapping away at your laptop, catching up with emails.

Maybe this hasn’t happened just yet, but it is definitely not where you want to end up. That is why it’s important to thoroughly research employers before you accept job offers. Of course, finding any opportunity to work in sports is exciting, but not at the cost of your health.

In fact, the National Study of the Changing Workforce from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found seven key components of an effective workplace. Most importantly, the study found what aspects predict positive health outcomes.

Here are the components you need to look for in employers as you search for work in sports and manage your career:

Satisfying Compensation

The SHRM study found that satisfaction with wages and benefits is the top component to contribute to better overall health. It also increases the likelihood of you staying longer with that company and experiencing more satisfaction.

Money is important because it shows how much employers value you and your skills. Accepting an underpaying job will leave you feeling stressed financially and frustrated as you continue to feel undervalued. It will eventually lead to burnout and dissatisfaction and may even make you consider restarting your career path.

As you look for work in sports, determine a salary range that aligns with your expertise and skill level. Research salaries for the positions you are currently qualified for to know your value.

Then, as you pursue opportunities, look for salary information for each specific employer. Be prepared to negotiate for a salary range you’re comfortable with, and don’t bother to pursue any employers who are notorious for paying below the industry average.

Work-Life Fit

This is the top component that leads to fewer sleep problems, minor health problems, and lower levels of stress, according to the SHRM study. Work-life fit also contributes to greater job satisfaction, engagement, and probability of retention.

Make work-life fit a priority in your search for work in sports. Identify what it means to you because finding a work-life balance is different for everyone.

For example, if you’re a single parent, finding flexible work arrangements might be a high priority for you. Also, consider other aspects like your commute and the lifestyle you want. If you prefer to live and work in a city and use public transportation, don’t waste your time looking for jobs in the suburbs.

To get a better sense of what level of work-life fit is possible, reach out to current employees on Linkedin and ask about their employee experience. Request examples of how the company enables them to maintain a comfortable home life with good work experience.

Growth Opportunities

If you want to work in sports and build a successful career, seek out challenges. Not only does this help you professionally, but also it benefits you in terms of your overall well-being.

The SHRM study found that job challenges and learning opportunities lead to greater engagement and probability of retention. Additionally, opportunities to advance are tied to better overall health.

By continually growing, you will feel more fulfilled and passionate about your day-to-day. Find work in sports with lots of growth potential. Create relationships with mentors and build your network to determine exactly where you want to grow and how to pursue growth opportunities.

When you’re interacting with potential employers and discussing job opportunities, be direct and ask about professional development options. Otherwise, you will feel stagnant and unchallenged.

Also, connect on LinkedIn with the head of the department that interests you. Introduce yourself, explain how you love their company, and ask for examples of how they empower their staff to grow.

Supportive Co-workers

This component comes down to culture. According to the SHRM study, co-worker support for job success leads to better overall health and fewer health problems, as well as greater engagement.

You want a team who supports your ability to succeed. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a toxic culture.

This is why reviewing company culture is vital to your process. When you search for work in sports, look for evidence of a values-driven culture that encourages teamwork and collaboration.

Dig into their social media presence as well. Some companies share behind-the-scenes content of employees engaging in fun activities. This shows they’re proactive in creating a positive work environment.

If you get as far as the interview, ask about group projects and how well teams collaborate. Mention that you value a supportive team environment. This way, the interviewer has the chance to help you see whether or not the culture fits you.

Don’t settle for long-term career frustrations that can develop into chronic health issues. A little research and proactive communication with employers can save you years of disengagement and wellness issues…and lead you to the sports career you deserve.

How do you research employers when you search for work in sports? Share in the comments!