"I want my two dollars!!"
October 11, 2012 3:48 PM Subscribe
Salary negotiating ninjas—throw me a bone!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have been freelancing and/or contracting nearly my entire 10+ year career in a creative industry (with a couple of year+ stints in-house with a couple of mid-size national companies) and have a great body of work that demonstrates both depth and breadth. Several years ago, I decided I wanted to find a full-time job for more financial stability as well as to advance in my career. I'd been doing director level work and discovered that I both really enjoyed it as well as possessed a natural skill for it, as evidenced by the feedback from those whom I have directed. However, my industry likes official titles and to see that you've worked in-house (either client or agency) side to advance and I felt that despite everyone I've interviewed with thinking my work is fantastic, I was routinely passed over for because I lacked a record of full-time employment. I was also told that, at best, I'd be interviewing for the senior level position I'd been essentially working at for the past five years or so and no higher.
Cut to last week when I had an interview for this director position, which is the next level up from the senior level creative I've been working at. I got hooked up through a friend/former colleague who recommended me to the owners of this studio. It was less an interview than a lunch/love fest in which they asked me to describe my ideal job as a director and them letting me know that what I described is exactly what they have been looking for. The position would be a newly created one that would allow one of the partners who had been doing the creative direction to concentrate on client development, so that the person in this new role would take on the task of mentoring/managing/directing the full-time and freelance creatives. At the end of the interview, they both hugged me and asked me to send them over a number that would get me into this position.
This kind of director opportunity will not likely come up for me again. Everything about this situation is exactly what I have been working toward. Everything, that is, except the money part. Because the studio is small (it would be 10 full-time with this new position) and their salaries have been based on our industry organization's salary averages for our city ("on the lower end"), and because it would be full-time, I knew that I would be essentially taking a 15-20K pay cut to move up in my career. I gave them a number $XXK (that I knew another studio about 4x the size as this one had just offered to someone for the same role) at the start of this week, and they came back to me last night with $XX-10K+ overtime (which they say averages to about 65-85 hours annually) and flash bonuses. Amount of PTO was great, there is an IRA employee matching contribution after two years, but health benefits not so much (half contribution on healthcare, no dental, no vision—which would be tough for me bc of how much I'd spent this year [and will need to spend in the coming year] on dental work and corneal issues).
I can, without having too much anxiety issues over my finances and ability to pay my expenses (I am single, own a house, if that matters), go down to $XX-5K+ overtime (and I would still probably take on some freelance to cover myself), which would be roughly about $15K less than what I've been averaging as a freelancer/contractor the past few years. Would it really be a hardship for a company their size to go up another $5K? How do I word my reply to get this amount, considering they declared that the amount they gave me was their "brass tacks, what they can afford"—or is it really?
(And if that is really their bottom line, then my contingency was to ask that they guarantee me the $XXK as a base since, during out lunch/interview, they had mentioned that sometimes during slow periods, I might not have to come into the office on some days—and therefore would not be paid for those hours.)