Want more money? Ask for more.
“But Mark, it’s not that easy,…..you don’t understand,……you’ve never worked in my industry,…..i really want this job,….blah blah blah.”
Nonsense!!! Granted, people get intimidated by the idea of negotiating salaries when they get a new job, but it’s so critically important!!! Remember that last post on perceived value? When you negotiate for a higher salary when starting your job, you’re raising your perceived value in the eyes of the person making the decision to hire you. Not only that, but you’re getting more money. And I don’t just mean more money up front, I mean more money over your entire lifetime.
A negotiation research study I read recently (don’t ask me to cite it, I can’t remember where I read it) showed that those who choose to negotiate salary, rather than being timid and avoiding negotiation, increased their starting pay by an average of $5K. Are you going to say no to a free $5K? Sure, $5K may not sound like a lot if you’re already commanding a high salary, but consider this: A 25-year-old employee who starts their career at $55K will make approximately $634K more over a 40-year career (assuming annual 5% raises) than an employee who starts out at $50,000. See, it’s not just $5K, it’s your retirement!
Have I got your attention?!?
“But Mark, how do I ask for more?” I’m glad you asked. Read my post on asking for more than you expect to get. So now you know that you should be negotiating your pay, but what else should you be negotiating?
Well my friends, I have come to learn that money isn’t everything, it’s a lot of things, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not everything. So, as a wise old sage, I feel it’s my duty to impart on you the knowledge that you can negotiate more than just money. You can in fact, negotiate your happiness (or at least your journey to happiness).
What is it you want? What’s important to you? Have you established what you actually want to get out of this job? If you’re only in it for the money, then start studying to be an investment banker, kiss all your personal relationships goodbye and sell out to the almighty dollar. But if you’re not in it for just the money, then start negotiating happiness into your job. What does happiness look like for you? Will it make you happy to:
- Have more time off?
- Get more flexible medical benefits?
- Have your medical benefits start on the day of employment?
- Have a signing bonus on arrival (sorry, that’s a money one, it crept in there)?
- Get flex days that you can use instead of sick days so you can legitimately play hookie?
- Get a sabbatical?
- Get more time off for maternity leave?
- Get parental leave?
- Get the ability to arrive late or leave early so you can pick your kids up from school?
- Get your education paid for?
If you said yes to any of these things, then I want you to know that you can negotiate for them. If you want to take a crack at negotiating these things right now, I say go for it! Likely the worst thing that will happen is you’ll get a “no”. And that doesn’t really mean “no”, it just means, “not right now”. There’s no harm in asking again a few months down the line.
You don’t have to settle! You’re more valuable than you think you are. Now, don’t overvalue yourself and price yourself out of the game, be smart about it, but know that you’re more valuable than you think you are. Far too often people get in their own way. They feel insecure about themselves and what they’re worth. Stop focusing on your weaknesses and start focusing on your strength and all the value that you bring to the table. By focusing on your weaknesses you’re making the first concessions in your head without even giving the other party the opportunity to state their positions. Why would you make a concession before you’ve even heard from the other side? Yeah, don’t do that anymore.
Do yourself a favour and when you want to ask for more money, do some research on what you think you can get, add 10% to that, then go ask for it. Don’t you like free money?