Maybe they have granted my every wish
April 26, 2012 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Is it ever ok not to negotiate?

I got what I feel is a great job offer. The company is in much better shape than my current company (and everyone on the planet knows it), and they are matching my current salary and vacation for similar duties although I will given significantly better mentorship and recognition for doing these duties. Some benefits (health, insurance 401k, etc.) are better than what I have now whereas others are being kept the same. I will have a longer commute, but I don't know what they can do about that - we acknowledged that all around at interviews and I didn't feel I could really complain about it. This is not a job I can telecommute much. I feel compelled to negotiate for SOMETHING but I really don't know what to leverage with. Can it really be ok to just accept this offer as is?
posted by Tandem Affinity to Work & Money (24 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Of course! If you're happy with it, you're completely within your rights to accept it. Nothing strange about doing that. Of course, if you don't try, you won't know if you're leaving something on the table.
posted by alaijmw at 3:22 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Of course it's OK. If you're happy with the offer, just accept it. On the other hand, does it ever really hurt to ask if they can do better?
posted by sid at 3:23 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Two things:
1) Yes, you can just accept it as is, if you want.

2) You don't need leverage to negotiate. You can just say, "well, switching jobs is always a bit of a risk, so I thought I'd at least like to make an extra 5 or 10% to make myself a bit more comfortable with the change." They can say no, and you can take the job anyway. Or they can say yes and you make more money.

Unless the people who run the show (CEO, owner, whoever) are making less than you are, you should never feel bad about asking for more money.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 3:30 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]

Best answer: You can, but in my experience, your new employers will take you far more seriously if you negotiate about something. This shows that you value yourself, and that you're adept at the game that is negotiation. And if you're a woman--negotiating will set you apart.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: It is okay, but remember that it's much harder to negotiate for a raise down the line than to ask for one right off the bat. Remember that it's totally within your rights to ask, and the worse that can happen is that they'll say no--they won't rescind the job offer or anything. And when they make the offer, you can always say, "Is there room for negotiation?" and that's usually a pretty painless segue into discussing specifics.

As for what to ask for, maybe you could calculate mileage costs for your longer commute and ask for that: going rate is .55c/mile, so 20 extra miles a day x 5 days is about $2,860 more a year you could ask for if you feel you need a reason to negotiate (you definitely do NOT need a reason, though!). How about a transit pass or a parking voucher, if you're in a city? Not sure what industry you're in, but what about professional development money (use for webinars, to attend conferences) or startup money (specialized software, subscription to necessary literature)?
posted by stellaluna at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Even an extra $1000 now compounds with every % raise down the road. Ask now.
posted by thorny at 3:39 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Something to potentially negotiate for that I never thought of: Your best chance to get a new computer in a work environment is when you first start the job.
posted by eleanna at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2012

I agree with everyone else that of course you don't need to negotiate - do what you want. But if you don't care about salary, why not ask for more vacation time? I know that I would willingly forgo an extra few thousand bucks per year to have an extra week of vacation. They may say no, but it never hurts to ask.
posted by barnoley at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2012

You don't have to negotiate, it will not hurt you to accept the offer as is. Generally when candidates are making a lateral move, as this sounds, your ability to negotiate can be somewhat greater because the new company will want to make their offer stand out more. Generally, if telecommuting is not a good choice, distance isn't something you can do much about. Is there something else that you might like? I've had candidates negotiate for a specific chair before.
posted by sm1tten at 4:03 PM on April 26, 2012

In one of my many jobs I was offered a position at a certain salary and I accepted without bargaining. Six months later I got a considerable raise and a warning from my boss never to not-negotiate again: he low-balled his offer, never expecting me to accept it, and was upset since I was going to be paid a lot less than my co-workers.

I learned that lesson, and I have negotiated ever since, not necessarily for money. One time it was for flex time, and another it was time off with pay for tutoring at a underprivileged school.
posted by francesca too at 4:04 PM on April 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

It all comes down to what you value: do you want to make what you're worth, or do you want to avoid negotiating?

This is a lesson I learned from a boss, not inlike francesca too above; the initial offer came in a closed envelope, in the hand of my soon-to-be-boss who told me not to accept it, before I opened it, because it was a lowball offer from his boss. So I laughed, looked at it, rejected it, and he went off and brought back an offer worth $20,000 more. And Frankly, I had felt the original offer was way generous, because I undervalued myself at the time.

And hey, look at it this way: if they lowball you, then you should be negotiating, and if they don't lowball you (and thus can't offer more), then they valued you enough to give you a strong offer up front, and so they're unlikely to say "you didn't take our initial offer, too bad."
posted by davejay at 4:10 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

And frankly, I don't know why I capitalized Frankly. Hm.
posted by davejay at 4:11 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's absolutely okay, like, morally to not negotiate; you aren't breaking any kind of cosmic law.

But I think you should negotiate. I have a list of disjointed reasons why:
1. You are the only agent you have. Something Suze Orman (kind of cheesy, I know) says is, "Don't put yourself on sale." No one will ever overvalue you; you have to do it for them.
2. They are asking you to take a risk, to go from the devil you know to the devil you don't. You should be compensated for that risk.
3. Every raise you get will be calculated as a percentage of what they are giving you now. Start high now.
4. People value things they pay for, and the more they pay, the more they value them. Show them that you are very valuable.
5. People also respect people who can act in their own interests.
6. It's good to flex your negotiating muscles; everyone needs practice being assertive and firm on their own behalf. It's good to practice those skills before, say, you're trying to get good medical care or your mechanic gives you the runaround or your kid needs to switch grade-school classrooms.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:29 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: A shockingly high percentage of people we offer jobs to do not negotiate at all, certainly more than half. Within a few months, I no longer remember who did and who did not.
posted by Lame_username at 4:49 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Always negotiate for salary. Give yourself the chance to be surprised.

They've already decided what they're willing to pay, and they've already decided that they want to offer something to you because they like you. If you ask for one more dollar, they're not just going to slam the phone down and go, "Fuck this idiot; get the other person on the phone."

Now, of course, there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. But do it, on some level, even if you just ask plainly, "is there any wiggle room?"

You say, "I really don't know what to leverage with." You're not negotiating legislation, where someone's back is getting scratched if only you'll vote for the bill. Your leverage is you. Your leverage is your presence at the job, or not.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you a woman?

This is one of the best things I've ever read on the internet about salary negotiation as a woman.

(If you're a man, you should probably negotiate anyways.)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 5:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]

I feel compelled to negotiate for SOMETHING but I really don't know what to leverage with.

Just personally, I feel this is sort of what's wrong with business in general. Is the salary what you wanted? Are the benefits good? Will you like this job? Then just take it.

Constantly grasping for more simply because you're considered a pushover if you don't try to get everything you possibly can may lead to more wealth, but I don't know one person who actually respects someone at work more because they negotiated at the time of hire, especially if you're being employed with a company that uses an HR department. The HR rep is most likely not going to report back to your boss and co-workers how hard a bargain you forced, and in a little while, you'll only be evaluated on your job performance, not your incredible skills at getting a little more out of a deal.
posted by xingcat at 6:30 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

If the first offer was fair, and the organization has a good process for performance-based bonuses, raises and promotions, take it. In a long-term relationship, negotiating for more than you're worth is as bad a move as accepting less than you're worth. If the employer is sophisticated it made a good effort to figure out a fair first offer in the context of the market, and you impress no one by acting as if a fair offer isn't fair.
posted by MattD at 7:33 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't lay my hands on it, but I did find a citation confirming my own repeated experience that women who negotiate get punished for being uppity and overvaluing themselves. In my case, I found for a long time that many companies were only willing to hire me at junior salaries well below the going rate, when I had ten years' experience and a Master's. I did get offers withdrawn when I asked for better, accompanied by arguments for why I really didn't have any experience at all and a junior position was what I deserved.

I'm not saying don't negotiate, but be aware that all the advice about how women don't negotiate assumes that women fail to negotiate out of meebling clueless low self-esteem, rather than because previous experience has conditioned them negatively. Society doesn't work the same for second-class citizens, and having high self-esteem doesn't always prompt society to reclassify you.

Encouraging, aren't I? But I'm still saying, negotiate if you think you should. If you're completely happy and satisfied with the offer, though, you may as well take it, male or female. Not everything has to be a haggling contest.
posted by tel3path at 1:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh wait, there's a news article in the thread. Not the original, but gets the point across.
posted by tel3path at 2:06 AM on April 27, 2012

Matching your current salary is not an improvement if you're going to have to sacrifice more of your time to do this job (longer commute).

Also, consider what happens in the next year or two. Consider how soon you would have had your annual raise at your current employer this year and how soon you would get your first raise at the new employer. You don't want to end up earning less in the new job a year from now and on top of that have less time for yourself. In the most likely scenario you will be lucky to get an annual raise that matches inflation. Chances are it will be less than that.

Please find out what others in your field and your experience are making, men and women.

You really should be shooting for a 15% improvement in salary in the new job, all other things being equal, just for the risk you're taking jumping ship.
posted by Dragonness at 6:46 AM on April 27, 2012

Every 10 miles extra you commute (round trip) will cost you about $1,300 a year in automotive expense at current IRS rates. Dragnoness also pointed out time.

If you like a job better than an old job, it may be okay to just break even, and in principle I agree that if you like an offer, TAKE IT!

But I would agree that you should at least ask for enough extra to cover the longer commute. If you don't get it, that may or may not be a deal-breaker; only you can decide if it's worth it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is why Metafilter is awesome; I have read every book I can lay my hands on about negotiating and yet no scenario I read had quite fit what of course feels soooo unique to me (even though I know it's not really). The hive of answers convinced me I had not much to lose by asking, and those answers that were a bit less gung ho made me comfortable with the fact that I didn't want to shoot the moon; I will be back to let you know the outcome etc. I already know that I feel much more comfortable than had I simply accepted the offer, and I already know that I'm still going to end up with the job at the end of all this.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:23 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: By the way, they said 'no' to my request for a modest salary upgrade, but gave the reason that they were hiring several people at the same level and wanted us all at the same salary, which had been inflated to its max by the negotiation of the first person that started. It'll be annoying if I later find out that this isn't true, but it would be even more annoying if I found out others at my level are making more than me, and I never even asked. Have been working there happily for 3 mos. now!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:22 PM on August 6, 2012

« Older Who's the host and what does he do?   |   Encyclopedia of idea generation strategies? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.