Anxiety issues: Negotiating Salaries

Individuals with Anxiety really struggle with salary negotiations. I know because first I have anxiety and have been there and two I have hired people in prior roles and negotiated salaries. So in this post we will cover 3 things you need to know BEFORE negotiating a salary and 2 things you can say to an interviewer when the subject of salary comes up. First up: What you need to know before negotiating a salary

  1. Your bottom line: So this is vague let me explain. You have to know what your minimum number is. Your circumstances might be unique, maybe you are unemployed, maybe you have a high paying job. Whatever it is you have to know what your bottom line is. Specifically, you need to know what number you will not go below.
  2. Be educated on the range: So there is no one absolute number. Not all Analysts get paid 125K a year etc. You need to go online find a salary range website (there are several) and use that as a gauge for what you should be asking for. HR dept.’s is using these sites as well and they know what the range is. So if its 60-80K and you’re asking for 55K they know you are undervaluing yourself. This presents a few issues; first they are wondering why you are underselling yourself. Second, if they hire you they are doing so knowing that you are undervaluing yourself and its likely they know you will walk (once you find out what you should be paid).
  3. Your skills: You have to be crystal clear on what you can and can’t do. Skills are now paramount and with more and more online work if you say you can do excel you better be able to do excel. Companies aren’t as focused on work history anymore it’s all about the skill set you bring to the table. Included in that is maturity, how well you work with others, attitude. You have to really be clear here, if you don’t work well with others you better know that and if they ask you don’t say it outright but you don’t claim that you can when you know you can’t.
Negotiating pay can be a nightmare

So what about when they ask about salaries? This comes up eventually if you are a serious candidate. Often you will be asked on the first call from HR what your “salary requirements are” so they can eliminate you quickly if it’s not in their budget. Look I’m going to be blunt here, you don’t want to answer this question directly and if they press you then you ask for your max number. Here are two ways to answer it:

  1. “I don’t have a firm number in my head at the moment but I have done the research on the job requirements and with my experience I know approx. what the range is but I am flexible, what is the companies range for this role?”
  2. “I haven’t come up with a number yet as I was really focused on the role and job tasks. The job is very interesting but I suppose I do have to get paid right (chuckle here). I don’t know, what is the range the company is offering?”

Both of these answers throw it back on the person you are speaking with. This is the negotiation phase and everyone has to go through it. They want you at the lowest price possible, you want the highest price. Don’t take it personally, its business and good business too I might add. Chances are the person you are speaking to knows what you are doing and they might press, again your fallback position is the high end of your personal range. ONLY if they demand the number, this gives you the best position in that scenario, if your number wasn’t too high.

Negotiating a salary with anxiety doesn’t have to be painful. Know what you can command in the market place. Your current salary and job is a good starting point. Someone is already paying you that number for that work, so you know you are at least worth that.

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How to make more money and perks at work

So it’s been a while since I have done a “working” piece. Quick recap, at prior roles I have been a manager who hired and fired staff. Now it’s been a minute since then but not that long ago. So take my advice here with a grain of salt. Now what I am about to reveal isn’t rocket science, you could probably come to the same conclusion. BUT as a former manager I can tell you the people who had these items I always tried to do more for.

Gender, Race, Religion, Sexuality it didn’t matter to me. If you had these traits, I tried to pay you more. I without a doubt favored staff who exhibited these traits. I know that’s probably not politically correct but I am being real here. I’m telling you right now your manager at work values these items as well. So what are these magical traits?

Soft Skills

I know you have probably heard this buzz phrase all over the place recently. It’s the intangible traits that are exhibited by the individual. These are without a doubt some of the biggest factors in your success or failure within a role. You not only have to be aware of them but hone them in to capitalize on them. I work for money so I can afford to do the things I like to do. I’m guessing you are very similar, so here is a list of a few “soft skills” that will help you make more money at work and get more perks.

  • Dependability: You show up every day ready to work.
  • Positive attitude: This is self-explanatory
  • Communication: It’s not just sending the email, its ensuring that people understand what you mean.
  • Adaptability: If someone is out, can I look to you to fill in or do I have to ask someone else?
  • Conflict Resolution: Conflict happens; can you resolve it internally or at the first sign of trouble are you emailing HR?

Now these might be vague but I think you get the gist. The point is most employees have a few of these traits (less and less these days it seems) but some have many. Now some people call them names a “beta” or “brown noser” as a manager my name for them? MVP. These are the people I rely on the most and any good manager worth their salt will make sure those individuals are paid well and cared for.

As an example, I worked with a woman we will call Pam. Pam reported to me directly. She had great soft skills she really excelled at her role it was a pleasure to have her in my dept. I had another person I will call Heidi. Heidi was generally a pain in the ass, but Heidi did one specific task better than anyone else and that made her valuable. I needed her, or so I thought. So one day Heidi tells me she needs 3 weeks off to prepare for her sister’s wedding. I try and be sympathetic to her but I simply didn’t have the ability to “give” her 3 weeks off. See she wanted it above and beyond her PTO time.

Take every minute of paid time off you get, leave none on the table.

I told her I couldn’t do that and she should put in a PTO time off request for any time she needed (she didn’t have 3 weeks btw). Heidi emails HR, tells them I was rude (because I said no). I get the call from HR, I talk to them, they get it and they handle it. 2 weeks go by Heidi says nothing things are working as per normal. Heidi comes in at the end of the day and quits, saying she HAS to have the time off for the wedding prep and if I won’t let her go she is quitting. I say as little as possible.

She leaves, I let HR know. Now luckily Heidi wrote a resignation letter. It wasn’t flattering to me, but it wasn’t horrible either, this is important later. Next work day I start cleaning up Heidi’s desk and taking that work. Pam asks what’s going on, I tell her Heidi is no longer with the company. Pam starts intercepting people who would normally come see Heidi and she begins to do her work (I never asked, I was going to get a temp). I thank her, and this buys me time to get a qualified temp which I do 2 weeks later.

I get an email a month later, Heidi wants to come back to work. I tell her “sorry the position is filled” which leads to a meltdown along the lines of “I’m sorry I was under a lot of stress, etc., so on”. I refer her to HR, the temp is working out, I offer them the role and they accept. Pam’s review comes up, I give her a stellar review due to the Heidi situation. I went to the CFO and asked for a special 5K bonus to be taken out of my dept. budget, which reduced my annual bonus (part of my comp was a % of the amount I was under budget). I gave her a 6% raise, the highest I could at the time and give her 3 “Oh shit” days.

Those are days when something happens randomly and you don’t want to use PTO but you are stuck. Think flat tire, furnace goes out during the night you get the picture. Basically 3 days I cover for her, she gets paid, we don’t use PTO. This wasn’t official policy but a lot of managers did it. The point of all this? Pam stepped up when I needed her to because that’s who she was. I rewarded her with as much as I could for doing it. Heidi? She left voice mails crying for her job, which she never got back.

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Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.