First things first: most of the time, it’s in your best interests to negotiate salary. Not only are you likely to get more money, but not asking will almost certainly come back to haunt you. Keeping quiet could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your career; on the other hand, data collected for PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide show that 75 percent of people who negotiate get some kind of pay increase. Plus, not getting paid what you deserve can affect your feelings about your work, diminishing productivity and affecting outcomes for both you and your employer. It’s just better for everyone if you negotiate.
That said, sometimes you’re not going to get what you ask for. Budgets are closed. It was a tough year. Your employer doesn’t understand the market. There are hundreds of reasons why you might not get the raise you’re seeking.
In those cases, it pays to have a backup plan. Some perks are worth taking a hit in salary, at least temporarily. They might even boost your compensation in the long run.
To get to the next rung on the corporate ladder, you need to level up your skills. If you can get your employer to cover the cost of that certification, class, or seminar, so much the better. The knowledge you gain now can have a big impact on your earning power down the line, whether you stay at the company or move on to greener pastures.
A flexible schedule.
Working at home can save you time and money. Cutting down on the commute means saving gas or bus fare, while being close to home means that you can take care of life stuff on your lunch break. Plus, you’ll save on lunch, coffee, dry cleaning — all the little expenses that seem to suck money right out of your wallet the second you leave the house. You might even find that you’re more productive at home, which is a bonus for you and your employer.
Paid time off.
American workers have pretty skimpy vacation time, as a rule (and often don’t take all of what they have). Time is money; if a prospective employer can’t afford to give you more of the latter, maybe they’ll offer the former instead. More time to relax could have a positive effect on your career, as well as your personal life.
A different review schedule.
Why on earth would you want to move up review time? Because reviews are when most companies offer raises. If you can get your new employer to agree to evaluate you in six months, say, instead of a year, you might get that 3 percent increment that much faster. Hash out metrics as well, so that your compensation increase is based on performance and spelled out ahead of time.
Job titles vary from organization to organization. When considering an offer, look at the duties, not just the title — and then see if the hiring manager is willing to adjust the job title accordingly. It’s an easy resume boost for your future career.
Tell Us What You Think
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