:o Having trouble gauging what I'm worth. Negotiating salary for high stress, highly visible accounting position in D.C. with a range of $70k to $107k. This position will get me that much closer to controllership position with this agency.

My problem: I'm making $50k now and couldn't afford anything under $80k (to offset childcare costs). I have critical experience this group needs. I strategically accepted my current and two previous assignments at low rates (salary caps exist for trailing spouses of overseas government employees) to obtain the experience and obtain current references. That part of the strategy worked marvelously. Need I mention that I was at $100k a decade ago, at the height of my first career, as a director of product development for a telecom firm? I then took an eight year break to be a professional parent/trailing spouse. Now, I have high goals, but low salary history, though an MBA and executive experience to boot.

The employer wants to see my paystubs... Please help. FYI - the interview series worked marvelously. I closed for the first time, and got the offer!

HMac's picture

lucky -

Have you researched what the position typically makes in that market? Here's a like to a lot of online salary calculators...

Obviously you can't MAKE the hiring company do anything, but by rights, I'd expect that they'd offer with an eye on what the market says the job is worth - not what you've been earning...

If they want your paystubs, you give them your paystubs, along with your very plausible explanation (and maybe a salary history that goes back to your telecomm days).

The tricky part I see here is that the announced range starts at $70K, which is $10K below what you say you can afford. And after all, they could legitimately offer anywhere in the range.


AManagerTool's picture


Good question, welcome to the boards. You kind of said it all. [quote]I'm making $50k now and couldn't afford anything under $80k (to offset childcare costs).[/quote] That is the least you can take. Hugh is right about knowing your salary range which it seems that you do. [quote]Negotiating salary for high stress, highly visible accounting position in D.C. with a range of $70k to $107k.[/quote] The high stress thing seems to be a point worth mentioning. Since I assume that the additional childcare costs will be associated with the "high stress" of the position in some way, you need to consider that as well. Feel free to show paystubs but also feel free to negotiate [u]once you have an offer[/u] not before.

It's not what you make, it's what your worth as well as what you can afford to work for that matters. Remember, you can always say no and should if the deal is not right for you.

bffranklin's picture


I'll second what's already been said, and also note that your pay history is not something you can change now, so focus on showing accomplishments. If you're the right candidate, a good company will do what it takes to get you!

bflynn's picture

This is a point that still irritates me. They really have no business in your internal finances and they're being incredibly heavy handed at this. When an employer pries too tightly into my personal life, I might give it to them now. But I become less likely to give them what they want later.

For you - fine, give them the pay stubs. If they come back with a lower offer based on your past history, tell them no and ask for the higher salary. Justify it based on your skills and their need, not your need. And realize that they might decide their need isn't that big...fine, its not a good fit.

Is this a federal government job? Don't expect to go in much above the 70K range, getting to 80 would be a tough one.