Breaking Down Salary Negotiation

Don’t just take the first offer. Get a better salary through negotiation!

1358311330_da0f1275be_mSalary negotiation: as I’ve made pretty clear, it’s something I’ve struggled with. Luckily, there are people out there who know more about it than I do, specifically Victoria Pynchon. Her advice, relayed to us by Jacky Carter in the LinkedIn post What Not To Say When Negotiating Your Salary, is very clear, well thought out, and helpful, so you should definitely read it (which is a lot more than I can say about some LinkedIn posts).

A couple quick things to keep in mind: first, the language of the article might be geared towards women, but really it’s advice that everyone in salary talks should hear. So, listen up, fellas! Oh, and while I have your attention, let me ask a quick question: what’s cooler than being cold? The kids still listen to that song, right? Am I jiving steady with you fly youths yet?

The other thing: Pynchon is used to training lawyers and business people, which explains why the examples given include such seemingly impossible phrases like, “$350 an hour.” When I was fresh out of college and unemployed, I remember being wowed that a temp job was willing to pay me $15 an hour for one week of full-time work.

(TANGENT: that temp job involved going to a industrial business expo at McCormick Place in Chicago to dress up as a Dallas-based stainless steel drain company’s mascot – a cartoon water droplet with boxing gloves on, because stainless steel drains FIGHT bacteria! – so that I could stand at their boot and fist-pump passers-by. Seriously, I wish I was making this up.)

But look, just because you’re not making 6 or 7 figures a year, doesn’t mean you should cower and say, “Yes, dear employer! Anything you say, dear employer!” regardless of what they offer you. Negotiation is not only a time to make a go at the salary you feel you deserve; it’s a time to show your new boss that you’re confident (within reason), and that you’re not afraid to set high expectations for yourself. Just be sure to follow Pynchon’s advice and do some research so that your demands are realistic!

Have you had much luck negotiating your starting salary? Have any advice of your own to share? Let us know in the comments!

(Photo by Flickr user alex roberts used under a Creative Commons License.)

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