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Follow the Money

There’s more to your compensation than meets the eye

➔ The quintessential question hovering over any job or job offer is, “How much?” You can go on from there: What are you going to pay me? Will I lower myself to work for such pittance? Your salary offer is an insult! Then there is the advice everyone hopes for: “They offered you what? Take the money and run… before they change their minds.”

Of course, the truth is that there is a lot more to your compensation than cold, hard cash. And, surprising to some, a lot of those “non-cash” remunerations are negotiable.

Playing the game

Negotiating your compensation is a lot like buying a car. There can be a lot of give and take and ultimately thousands of dollars could be involved. And most of all, no one likes to do it.

Let’s start at square one. They shouldn't ask and you shouldn't divulge your salary history. That’s between you and your former employer. They can inquire about what your salary expectations are. That’s normal and that’s precisely what you should counter with. This is what I was thinking (a range is totally acceptable.) And that’s just the dollars and cents part – salary without benefits.

Then, the fun begins. This is what’s known as non-cash compensation and it can be fairly wide ranging depending on the employer. While most employers offer vacation and health care benefits, this is a prime example of the devil being in the details. The opportunities here for give and take are totally open ended. Vacation vs personal days. Paid-time-off vs flex time. Then again, in our post-Covid world there is work from home, or hybrid?

This is where your preparation becomes critical. What might you be willing to give in return for something you can’t live without? The bad news is that only you can answer that.

The good news is that, even if the cash compensation isn’t exactly what you had in mind, there are other things that can help soothe your pain. And the key point to remember is that those “other things” are usually negotiable.


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