Everyone loves a good deal right? In these economically difficult times I too am looking for the nearest sale. Expect more, pay less? Heck yea, sign me up! Whether you found a way to bargain down those cute shoes that were already on sale or a way to collect enough coupons to get an item for next to free, it feels good to get a discount right? I mean it’s tough out here and paying full price for something is completely overrated, right?
Sales, gotta love em. Oh yea, I have a quick question for you: Are you a discount department store? No? Then why are you accepting this idea that your employer can expect more but pay less? Yes, I’ll agree when it comes down to remaining unemployed versus taking the next train smoking, it’s usually a good idea to take the job. You have to start somewhere; however, I’m talking about something different here.
Let’s say you’re already employed but you have a chance to move up the ranks. You are ready to sign on the dotted line for that “promotion and title change” and then comes the monetary offer. Your heart sinks because the numbers just don’t look right– surely this position should pay more? Then you begin to panic. “What happens if I say no? Will I lose my job? Will they frown at me or see me as greedy? What the heck should I do??”
I’ll tell you a little story. (I’ll make this quick) I worked in a position and after a while it just simply didn’t suit me anymore for reasons I will not get into here. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a new position and promotion. I went through the interview process and became extremely excited when I found out they would be offering me the position. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening when it was time to look at the numbers. Not only was it less than what I expected, it was less than what they paid the last guy! I looked at the position I was currently in (I was pretty miserable) and the opportunity to move up, sighed heavily, and signed on the dotted line.
You know what? I’d never do it again, not without much more consideration.
Why you ask? Well, as much as I love a good sale, I’m not a discount department store. Ultimately, I sold myself short. So, here are a few things you should consider before accepting pay that doesn’t suit the position:
- If you take the lower rate, you could be fighting for the rest of your career to “catch up”. If you let someone pay you $5,000 – $10,000 less than you deserve now, what’s going to stop the next guy? Most jobs ask about your previous pay rate and some (not all but some) will take that number and say hmmm, we can make a lower offer here.
- What’s better for your longterm career and financial goals? It’s not always about the money. It may be a bonus paying position with better hours and a nice desk; in some places that title might be the best thing since sliced bread– maybe you’re changing career paths. Consider what type of negotiating you will have to do down the road and how accepting that position now will affect your career.
- Fear and Intimidation-don’t let that cloud your decision making. If you already have a job you generally have more leverage and could ultimately benefit from turning down the offer. I’ve heard of people leaving a job because the company wasn’t willing to pay more– not so much being fired for simply attempting to negotiate a better pay rate. Basically, it can’t hurt to ask for more. I can’t count how many stories I’ve heard where people turned down a job offer because of the pay only to have the employer back at their heels with a higher number. Interesting right? (income plug- this is another great reason to have multiple streams of income!)
- Talk to someone you trust who has gone through the process with that particular company. If it’s a company you are currently employed with find out how good they are with “making you whole” when the time comes. Ask the person if it’s worth it to work really hard (I mean really hard in some cases), without being fairly compensated for it. Do your research.
Think of this post as an aerial view since I will not be getting into negotiating techniques and every little thing you could consider when there’s an offer on the table. The big take-away is this: Don’t be afraid to ask for what the position pays (or more) and don’t settle for less if it’s not absolutely necessary. There are exceptions, i.e. being unemployed, etc. However, be careful about taking your skills and talents and “going on sale”.
We all love a good sale, but when it comes to your job–consider this: Are you a discount department store?* No? Well, if they “expect more”, they should “pay more”.
What are your thoughts?
“Disclaimer: As I wrote this post my mind went to a few different places and I thought about another point: *You should assess your skills, resume, etc and figure out whether you’re an upscale boutique or a discount department store. We like to keep things on the up and up here at THM, but the reality is there may be some work to do on your end to ensure you are not a discount department store. Oh goodness, looks like there’s more to be written about this topic…to be continued…”
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