So you have yourself an offer, maybe even a few, so which is YOUR offer. TLC has a show called “Say Yes to the Dress,” and if you have a woman in your life you have seen it. So in the show they tell the bride that all their dreams will begin to come true as soon as they find THE Dress. To find the dress they have to try a few on and then they’ll KNOW if is THE dress. The show also goes into a few basics and that is what I want to address today.
Know Your Budget
This includes 2 things, first how much money you need, second how much you can get. If you are 35, married and with 3 kids your needs are different than if you are single in your 20’s. So how much can you get, well weigh in your experience in the field and the resources you have available. Know that there will be positions that will have higher salaries by their own nature and there isn’t anything to negotiate. Know if you have limitations, you can’t expect to get paid a premium if you decided that you don’t want to relocate and want less travel. So understand all the other things that have led to the number on that paper.
Look for what you like, you can do alterations on the small things
When you first see the offer you will probably look for 3 things:
- Signing Bonus
- Variable Compensation
We all want to see that 6 figure number in the salary and a good compensation and a double digit percentage on the Variable Comp. The thing is, those 3 things are the things that you can do alterations on; the other things on that paper might have more weight and less leeway. Here are some:
- Title, were you expecting Manager and got Analyst? or Assistant?
- Salary Grade, does your salary grade represent the seniority that you expect? How soon can you change?
- Location, YES it matters? Is the cost of living comparable to the salary? Will you be happy there? Does it fit with family? lifestyle? social?
- Manager, Do you know the manager? Will he/she help you or sink you?
- Relocation, Does the relocation outweigh the location? Will it be adequate to move the family
- The OTHER benefits:
- Health Insurance: For some this might mean everything
- Pension, Savings, Retirement Plans: Are you getting free money? Are you interested?
- Perks: Parking, a Car, tuition, Options, Stock, etc
So see the total package, compare on all levels other offers. What can be changed, what cannot. Total dollar value might be very similar, but what are the things that are most important to you? On the things that matter most, which one do you like best? If you find something you don’t like, put on your negotiation hat and see if you can fix it.
Picture yourself in it
So you can’t put on the offer, but picture yourself with that offer. Can you see yourself driving in Austin or Minneapolis. Do you want to see the seasons or just hot and humid? Make a budget with the salary and see if you could live with that money.
Get an opinion, but you make the decision
You like to get an opinion, do it. Go talk to someone, maybe a mentor or you dad. Some like to talk to a professor or career counseling to find out if the job is right. What ever you do, don’t let them make the decision for you. The decision is yours, and yours alone. I know, you have a spouse and I would involve them in everything and the decision is together, but I’m not talking about how to run your marriage. What I want to make clear is that your friend will not have to live with your decision, and most opinions will be based on the numbers on the paper and not with your feelings about the location, your manager and your 45minute commute. So be a big boy/girl and decide for yourself.
Finally, YOU have to LOVE it
Again as the wedding dress you have to fall in love with the offer. You need to feel like that offer was meant for you. Will the offer be perfect, probably not, but it needs to be perfect for YOU NOW. Now you can send your acceptance letter and start focusing on your job.