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How can I make sure I can squeeze as much money as possible out of my company in my new position in DC?
August 7, 2008 8:13 AM   Subscribe

How can I make sure I can squeeze as much money as possible out of my company in my new position in DC?

I'm currently working for a small, employee-owned 28 person company in Southern Maryland. I currently pay about $1000 dollars per month for rent and have a salary of $52k.

I do not like the area down here whatsoever, so I told my company I was going to attempt to find a job in DC. The CEO of our company then asked me to take a look at one of our positions in DC. I said I would but I wasn't really sure if I would be interested in it.

Now, I really want that DC position. The more I hear about it, the more I like it. There are many reasons for taking this position, but the main one is that I basically end up with a promotion out of this move while staying with a company that I really enjoy working for. It also gets me working in an area I really like (Crystal City) and this position is definitely a step up from the one I currently have.

The person in my company who previously had this job I'm going to take made at least $110k while working there. I am going to be ending up in this position after only one year of work experience after graduating with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He was coming off an illustrious Naval career.

I know the contract for this position up in DC makes my company enough money to pay the previous employee at least $110k. Otherwise, they wouldn't have paid him what they did. How can I make sure I can get as much money as possible, keeping in mind I only have one year of experience and make $52k now? I don't want to offend my company by sounding greedy, but DC is very expensive.

I am making the move to DC because I want a change in lifestyle. My company knows this. They know I'm bored out of my mind down here. I made it clear to them that the reason I was looking for employment in DC was ONLY due to what my life is like after 4 pm. It has nothing to do with my current position. They then offered me this more senior position so they apparently like me a lot and want to keep me around (and need to fill this position before they lose it).

How can I make sure I can make as much as possible in this position so I'm able to live where I want to live without starving myself to make the rent payment and deal with the cost of living? I already work for this company so I'm sure this type of negotiation is not the same as it would be by coming from the outside. Any advice?

Thanks, yet again, MeFi.
posted by decrescendo to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
"Cost-of-living adjustment"

This is quite a reasonable demand. I'd think you could squeeze them for an extra 10k or so. Ask for 15k more.
posted by poppo at 8:27 AM on August 7, 2008


The best thing I can suggest is to look elsewhere for a new position in DC-land. Take it seriously, but - once you have an offer letter in hand, you can tell your current company that if they want you, they need to beat that offer. If they can profitably afford it, they probably will.

There is some risk that they will call your bluff. But, you can always choose to take the lower offer that they've given you, anyway.
posted by Citrus at 8:29 AM on August 7, 2008


It sounds to me like your company values you as an employee if they offered you this position and actively tried to keep you in the company. The previous occupant of your job may have had more leverage in negotiating a higher salary, but you still have a distinct advantage of being a valued employee with unique knowledge. I'd say you should try and point out those reasons why you are as valuable as you are and then use those to negotiate. Do you even know that they plan on dropping the salary for you? If not, then let them make the first proposal, and negotiate from there based on your unique skill set.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 8:30 AM on August 7, 2008


Well, keep in mind that for twice what you pay now in rent you can get a nice one bedroom in DC. Even a very nice one. And that's in the city. But that's only $12k more than you make now. Other things are also expensive in DC, but I assume that part of the C/B analysis for your change is that you won't necessarily be able to keep exactly the same standard of living.

When you negotiate for your new position you should keep in mind that part of the reason the last worker got their salary was undoubtedly because of their "illustrious Naval career." If you use their salary as a baseline, you may have a hard time in the negotiations. If you use the increase in responsibility and skills in the new job as your baseline, you'll probably be able to more easily reach a reasonable compromise.
posted by OmieWise at 8:31 AM on August 7, 2008


Assuming you have not had a merit/cost of living increase in one year and you have performed above expectations, you could reasonably assume a raise. Then factor in the Cost of living in your new city (you can get fairly accurate numbers online). Then factor in the promotion salary increase. If you assume 10,15, and 20 percent for those, you get almost $79,000 which might be fair to you. Anything more they can likely argue that they can find someone with more experience to fill that job for that rate.

$52,000
+10% - Merit / Salary Increase
$57200
+15% - Cost of Living Adjustment
$65780
+20% - Promotion / Increase in Responsibilities

Reasonable Salary:
$78936

Fill in with whatever percentages you deem reasonable.
posted by verevi at 8:37 AM on August 7, 2008


Do you even know that they plan on dropping the salary for you? If not, then let them make the first proposal, and negotiate from there based on your unique skill set.

I don't know that for sure, but I did feel a little ripped off by my yearly raise. It left me a little unsure about how this company plays the salary game, especially since I'm the youngest person in the company by 7 years or so.

I would imagine they would low-ball me just because they only gave me a $2k raise when I could easily be making much more at another company.
posted by decrescendo at 10:00 AM on August 7, 2008


According to the cost-of-living calculator I found, the cost-of-living adjustment would be closer to 30% (no Southern Maryland cities were listed, but Dover, DE, looked like a reasonable substitute). You'd need to make $68,000 just to break even.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:06 AM on August 7, 2008


My good friend just got a new job. He started last week and graduated with me from college (also with an aero degree like me). His job is in Suitland, MD inside the beltway and he makes 68k. I HAVE to be making more than that up in DC because I have a year of experience. But who knows....
posted by decrescendo at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2008


Also, I'll be going from a SECRET clearance to TOP SECRET clearance. And I'll be in a coat and tie required environment instead of the business casual job I'm in now. Definitely a huge change.

And I'm moving to one of the biggest programs in the history of military aviation. Really high profile. I hope this really bumps up my salary, too.
posted by decrescendo at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2008


Assuming you have not had a merit/cost of living increase in one year and you have performed above expectations, you could reasonably assume a raise. Then factor in the Cost of living in your new city (you can get fairly accurate numbers online). Then factor in the promotion salary increase. If you assume 10,15, and 20 percent for those, you get almost $79,000 which might be fair to you. Anything more they can likely argue that they can find someone with more experience to fill that job for that rate.

The thing about this position is that they can't find someone with more experience to put into it. They've had trouble keeping the $110k-making people around in it. Hence why they are now looking to me.
posted by decrescendo at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2008


You can get a nice apartment in d.c. for $1000-$1500. Don't tell your employer ;p
posted by stratastar at 7:34 AM on August 8, 2008


It depends on what you think is a nice apartment but I think you'd have to spend at least $1500 to have a place with washer/dryer, dishwasher and not be in a basement. Really, being able to spend about $2000 will get you good space and live in a fun part of town.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 6:27 PM on August 8, 2008


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