Most of the time you hear about the wage gap between men and women — and how the gap is caused by the struggles women face in balancing work and family responsibilities. But the effects of that struggle are not all bad, because the result of your efforts has given you strength as well.
This applies to both men and women. I don’t want to act like men don’t struggle to keep job and family priorities straight. But since the majority of the wage gap conversation seems to focus on how women have lower wages as a result of motherhood, it’s a good thing to consider the strengths you have when it comes to negotiating your salary.
You have a life outside your cubicle. No matter what the result of your negotiation brings, your identity is not solely defined by the title on your paycheck or the amount written on it. This can give you the strength of perspective, allowing you to negotiate without focusing on one issue at the expense of others.
You have a lot of experience in negotiation. How many times have you had to work out the details to juggle childcare and career? If your kids are older, how much negotiation have you done over chores and homework? You have the strength of past experience in countless encounters in figuring out compromise.
You have a solid goal in mind. You know what the bills are and you know what your income is. If you can’t reconcile the numbers on your current salary, you need to be prepared to look for a different position if this one can’t provide the paycheck your family needs to survive. You have the strength of vision, that goal of providing for your family.
Salary negotiation can be one of the most stressful parts of getting a new job.On the one hand, it is exciting to think about a new job and the possibility of earning more money. On the other hand, it can be nerve-wracking waiting to hear what your new salary will be. Do you accept the salary offer, negotiate it or reject it? What if you make a mistake and accept a salary offer that is too low, or try to negotiate one that is too high? These events are unlikely to happen if you do your homework before you get to the salary negotiation stage. A salary calculator can help you with this important homework.It can give you an idea how much your current salary is worth in another city. It can also give you median, low and high end salaries for given positions and industries in a geographical location. Some salary calculators allow you to compare the cost of living between two cities. You can compare the cost of living between the city you are in and the city where you have a job offer, or the cost of living between two cities where you have job offers. These calculators aid you in thinking practically about moving for a new job. Remember to factor in whether your new employer will pay relocation costs. If the employer does pay relocation costs, find out what the cap is on those costs. If you go over the cap amount, say, by hiring movers to move your grand piano, you may end up paying the extra costs. You are more likely to get the salary you want if you go into a salary negotiation meeting with facts based on the information you gatheredfrom salary calculators and other job search resources. This information backs up your work experience and your education. You put a great deal of energy into both, so make sure you get what you are truly worth.
There seems to be a rule of thumb out there that if you land a job you should always try to negotiate for more money as a matter of course. If you’ve done your homework and realize that the salary offer is too low for your level of education and experience, you should at least try to negotiate a higher salary. However, negotiating your salary just because you think you should can hurt you in a number of ways. Contract positions are usually set at a certain rate and are only sometimes negotiable. If you try to negotiate a contract job offer, chances are that you delay many onboarding tasks such as drug screening, background and references checks and getting signed up for benefits. You may also find that the employer still expects you to start on the original date stated in the offer, leaving you scrambling to comply. If you can negotiate your salary higher for other types of positions, you may leave yourself vulnerable to layoff if your salary is higher than your peers’. Your salary may be the first on the cutting block when it is time for your employer to make budgetary cuts. Negotiating a salary higher than what you originally stated you would be willing to take may make a potential employer think that you did not do your salary homework or are trying to get more money just because you think you can. This does not leave the employer with a good impression of you. Of course, you could prevent yourself from being boxed into a corner like this by not giving a specific dollar amount answer to the question, “What are your salary expectations?” If hard-pressed by an interviewer, give a wide salary range because this question is often used as criteria to weed out a large candidate pool.