Don’t be afraid to negotiate

If you are like most recent graduates or job seekers, you’re thrilled to get a job offer. So thrilled you barely read through the details before becoming giddy. Then you get to the salary and it’s a little lower than you’d hoped and the benefits could be better.

Don’t fret, you are expected to negotiate. “Even in tough times, most companies expect you to negotiate,” according to The Galima Group, a partner of The Berkeley Center for Executive Development at UC Berkeley. Not to mention, when you respectfully negotiate, you demonstrate the business skills the company want you to employ on the job, this article from Forbes states.

As noted in The Galima Group post, look for subtle hints that the hiring manager is open to negotiation. “For example, many managers may say, ‘why don’t you look over the offer and call me if you have any questions’.”

An offer typically includes more than just the paycheck. Including:

  • Signing bonus
  • Vacation, sick days, personal days
  • Maternity / family leave
  • Flex-time or ability to telecommute
  • Professional training (continuing education, conference attendance, etc.)
  • Job sharing
  • Start date
  • Stock options
  • Performance bonuses
  • Accelerated review time with potential salary increase
  • Job duties
  • Company car
  • Company credit card
  • Expense accounts

You’ll want to first ask yourself what are the top three or five things to you. It’s ok if money is at the top or on the list!

“As long as you act respectfully, you have nothing to lose by asking what the company can do to bring you closer to your desired salary,” according to this Career Builder article.

Advertisements

Returning from Vacation Advice

Memorial Day has come and gone and the annual vacation season is upon us. As I’ve address preparing for vacation in previous posts (Vacation Guilt), I thought it appropriate to discuss the dreaded (or excited) return from relaxation.

It seems there are two mind sets for those returning from vacation. One is the “don’t talk to me until next week because I’m upset that I can’t still be sipping Mai Tais.” The other is a refreshed, excited and ready to hit the ground running.

I came back as the latter. I had just enough time away to appreciate what was waiting for me at home. I can look at my daily responsibilities with a fresh (or at least fresher) perspective. The minor daily annoyances seem even more minor now.

If you’re of the former, there is a way to politely tell your co-workers that you need some time to get caught up and appropriately respond to everything that occurred while you were out. You don’t have to tell them you wish you were still on vacation.

The hardest and most time-consuming part was cleaning out my inbox. I had to wade through each one and give it the proper attention, even if it was a week old. On the advice from my co-workers, I did not set up an out of the office reply. Those who needed to know did and those who did not need to know didn’t.

The most important thing I did before I left was to make sure to write down my computer log in password. I thought I would remember it, but alas, I didn’t and had to check the post it.

Happy working!

Using the Office Calendar is Important

Photo from: Applelinks.com
I’m part of a small department. When one person is out sick or on vacation, we notice. I’m also part of a department that other departments rely pretty heavily on and are often coming back to our area to ask questions or get help.

There are a few of us who are excellent at using the office-wide calendar and checking it daily. I know when my boss has a conference or plans to be out of the office for longer than a typical lunch hour. When one of us is out sick that goes on the calendar too. Not, “Aurora has strep throat and is highly contagious” just simply “Aurora out sick-8 hours PTO.” Simple to the point, but lets everyone know I’m not there.

Not everyone uses the calendar this way. Quite regularly, we look at an empty desk and wonder is he running late? Will she be coming in at all today? This state of limbo is particularly frustrating when other people ask us where the missing person is and if they will be coming in.

If the person would just put on the calendar when they intend to be out or if the supervisor would note that the person is out sick, a great deal of confusion and frustration could be eliminated.

Vacation Guilt

Photo from Daveferguson. org: Ferguson Family

If the mentality of those around you and possibly even your higher-ups is that you are lucky to have a job in this economy, how do you take much-needed personal or even vacation time without being overrun with guilt?

It is a well-known fact that United State residents take far less vacation time than any other industrialized nation. (A table on Paid Vacation Around the World can be found here and an article from Business Week on how much of available vaction time United States Residents take can be found here.)

As it is getting any time off approved in the first place can be a battle, especially with dwindling department sizes. But for your own mental health and for the good of your personal work, taking time off is important. But how can you feel like you aren’t letting people down while you are away?

I’ll be upfront and say, I don’t have the answer. I have some suggestions, but no clear-cut answer.

When I take scheduled time away, I try to make sure all pertinent projects are completed. Any projects that will be coming due shortly after I return are at least started and I have a list of what will need to be done first thing when I get back. Additionally, I make sure my supervisor knows exactly where I am in these projects so that if any one needs a status update while I am away, he has the information on hand.

These steps, don’t keep me from feeling guilty while I’m gone. I try to consciously not think about it and focus instead on enjoying the time with my friends or family. I don’t check in, unless I know I need to for a specific reason. That being said, I’m lucky. I’m not in upper or middle management and don’t need to make sure other people are accomplishing tasks in my absence.

How do you prepare for a vacation? And assuage the guilt from leaving your co-workers behind?

Procedures

To follow-up my When the Boss is Away post and to expound on a tweet from Monday, I do not understand how when a manager is away, some people think all forms of procedure go out the window.

My tweet from Monday was “if someone higher up than me would say no to your request, just because that person is gone, what makes you think I would say yes? seriously.”

I’ve had the opportunity to serve as Department Manager while my immediate supervisor is on vacation. My supervisor has a great finesse for ensuring people follow the right procedures. I don’t. However, I hope the right phrase is, I don’t yet.

The truth is, I did say yes. I did go through with completing the project against my better judgment. Hopefully, this won’t end up being a detrimental thing for any of the parties (especially me!) involved.