Too often professionals lock in their need for a specific level of salary compensation without spending time to learn the value of other forms of compensation. This is a huge mistake.
I understand that we all have bills. And that we have to pay those bills. For professionals with children in their later high school years, they may wonder how on earth they will pay those college tuition bills?
However, salary is not the only form of valuable compensation.
What Should Be My First Priority?
Answer these questions before deciding on an offer –
- Am I EXCITED about the position? If not, remember that you will minimally spend 207 hours per month in your job – and that does not count commuting time. Your full-time work hours typically total 2080 hours for a year, not counting lunches nor extra time working to meet deadlines.
- What did I earn annually in my last position?
- What is the minimum I can live on? Remember, some outstanding forms of compensation are more valuable over time.
Decide whether this new team will be fun to work with. Will the manager support you – or do you feel they may undercut you?
Will this new position provide professional growth? What will you learn in this position? Does the position, company, and industry interest you?
If you feel all of the above responses are positive, it is time to examine the company’s offer.
What Does The Company’s Offer Tell YOU?
The offer that you receive from the company informs you how highly the company values the job and their perceived contribution from you.
Remember money is not everything…but it sure is nice when you have it. It is not worth the price you will pay if you are banging your head against the wall because the manager values your service too low.
Let us say that everything is looking very positive at this point.
What Is the Next Step?
Research the total compensation package that was offered to you. Why use the word “research?” I learn new potential forms of compensation annually. When will companies pay your salary in Bitcoin? Some may already. How will this form of compensation benefit you and your family?
Is the company a company that provides an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP)? If so, every member of staff benefits when the employer does well. These stock options grants may grow your compensation beyond your total salary and bonus. I worked for a pre-IPO start-up and received stock options. Initially, the stock options had a lower value. Once the company went public and split several times, we used that money to pay for our daughter’s private college education. My total salary compensation did not touch the stock option’s total. Now you understand the potential benefit of a stock option plan.
If you have a wealth of experience, always ask for an extra week’s PTO or vacation. It is well documented how few of us take all of our vacations. Therefore, companies are more willing to add a week of PTO to attract the right talent.
What is the company contribution to your 401(k) or 403(b)? How high do they match your contributions? This is another form of compensation that may grow substantially over time.
How strong are their health benefits? What are your out of pocket costs?
If the company is interested in you, but their salary offer is a little low, ask the manager if they could offer a sign-on bonus to make you whole for the first year while you are confirming your worth to the company? The bonuses come out of a different financial bucket than salaries. They do not impact team equity compensation as much.
Once your research and negotiations are completed, jump into the new position with both feet and make positive, measurable impacts – and Have Fun!
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