Friday, August 10, 2012

Negotiating Salary

A co-worker once told me that one should never accept the first salary offer.  His advice made sense, as even the experts at agree that no matter how good the salary is, one should always hesitate before accepting it  (See here).

However, when I got a job offer a few months later, I found that salary negotiation is easier said than done.  After all, a job is not really yours until all the papers are signed (just google “Job offered then withdrawn” to read all of the horror stories of this very plausible scenario).  Therefore at the end of the day, is it even worth it to negotiate your salary?

As per’s Finance Career Expert, Dona DeZube, some believe that you should take the first offer if you are happy with it.  One should not negotiate just for the sake of negotiation; individuals should have a justifiable reason for why they believe they should be paid more than what was offered.   Other experts go as far as saying that salary negotiation is a waste of time given that some employers will not budge from their initial offer.  Furthermore, as stated above, salary negotiation can even be a risk since it allows for the job offer that was once yours to be open to other candidates.

Alternatively, however, there are many reasons for why salaries should be negotiated.  According to DeZube, some experts believe that if you are at a stage where an employer is negotiating salary with you, then most likely that employer wants you as part of their organization.  Moreover, some employers even expect you to negotiate the salary with them!  For example, when it comes to positions such as sales and business development, where negotiation is key, it is to the candidate’s advantage to demonstrate his/her negotiation skills when talking money.

So, now that we have weighed the pros and cons of salary negotiation, how exactly would one go about negotiating salary? posted a video featuring personnel consultant Pat Goodwin of  She offers great tips.  Check out the video bellow:

In addition, keep in mind these three tips offered by

  1. Research your value: Find out what companies in your area are paying for the job you are considering.
  2. Don’t be the first to disclose a number: Get the employer to disclose the pay before you discuss your requirements.
  3. Prepare a counteroffer: Ask for what you want!

Just DON’T make these mistakes:

    1. Accept the first salary offer:  By doing so you may be leaving money on the table.  *Just be careful not to give an ultimatum unless you are willing to walk away without the job.*
    2. Not be prepared:  Know what is relevant to your labor market
    3. Neglect to negotiate things beyond base pay:  There’s more than just a base salary, such as variable pay, performance expectations, benefits, perquisites, schedule for salary increase, and minimum severance. Negotiate these as well.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Network! Network! Network!

It really can't be stressed enough.

Check out this article on fresh new tips on the one career strategy that never goes out of style:

Self Actualize It

 “What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization” Abraham Maslow
In his studies on motivation, Maslow indicates that all human beings have five different levels of needs.  He alleged that an individual must fulfill one need in order to move on to the next need in the hierarchy.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs outlines the following (AH):
  • Physiological needs: elements such as food, air and water.
  • Security needs: a stable environment where one can feel safe, i.e your home
  • Love needs: feelings of belongingness
  • Esteem needs- the need for achievement, the need for prestige.
  • And finally the need for Self Actualization

As privileged citizens of the Western world most of us are fortunate enough to have our basic needs fulfilled.  Like many around me I have food, shelter, loving relationships and have accomplished something in one way or another.  So if Maslow’s theory proves to be true, I am only seeking one thing.  And that thing is Self Actualization.

Self Actualization can be defined as one’s need to fulfill his or her maximum potential.  One’s maximum potential is of course subjective and varies from person to person.  Thus, keeping in mind that one’s self actualization needs change as one changes; self actualization for me at the moment would be commencing my career.

I completed my degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology exactly 14 months ago and as I continue on my search for a gratifying career in the field, I am starting to believe that self actualizing my career goals may not be as easy as I thought.

Feeling as if I am just about ready to give up and wondering why I am failing, I came across an article published by Forbes Magazine.  The article “The 10 Reasons Why We Fail” written by contributor David Disalvo lists ten reasons why people do not achieve all that they can (Click Here).  The reasons vary, but basically trickle down to the fact that most of us get in our own way.  Which brings me back to Abraham Maslow…

Completing graduate school was definitely an achievement.  In addition to part time classes and a full time job, I also worked a per diem position on weekends in order to pay for my degree.  With all this going on, including the stress of my enmeshed family, not to mention a troublesome boyfriend with a wandering eye, I still managed to graduate with a 3.98 GPA (It would have been a 4.0 if it wasn’t for one pesky A- that still bothers me to this day).  Yet at the end of the day, that was graduate school, not the “real” world. Thus, it can be said that although my esteem needs were met in school, they have not really been met outside of school.  What have I achieved in the workforce in order to be self actualized?  The way I see it…Nothing.

I am not exactly pleased with my current position.  My job is not one that motivates me, that makes me feel accomplished, that makes me want to be the best that I can be.  So the realization sets: until I reach my esteem needs, i.e. accomplish something at work that I can really stand behind, then I cannot possibly move on to self actualization. Or better yet, until I BELIEVE that what I have accomplished so far in the workforce is something that I can stand behind then I WILL be self actualized.

You see, Disalvo’s article is all about intrinsic motives for why we fail.  None of his reasons actually deal with outside factors.  Disalvo suggests that we must change our way of thinking in order to be all that we can be. And why not?  Everybody should aim for self actualization.  Everybody deserves and everybody SHOULD live up to their full potential.  So if there is something that you want but feel as if you cannot get, ask yourself this: Why am I failing?  Why can’t I move on to my next need? How am I getting in my own way?

So, I’ll leave you with one more Maslow quote:
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself”

And I challenge you this, find out what it is you want to do, and do it.

1. Maslow AH. “A Theory of Human Motivation,” in The Great Writings in Management and Organizational Behavior, Boone and Bowen, 2nd