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I apologize for the backstory in advance:

I've been asked by a VP to apply for a manager position that has opened up. I've been working 6 day & 70+ hour weeks for almost two years. I've just made a lateral move into a supervisory role which allows for a bit more work/life balance (which has been a big issue at home).

The manager position will lead me back to the heavy work load, which isn't much of a problem for me as I'm trying to learn, develop, and move up.

Salary, however, is a bit of an issue. Our company rarely does raises, and they are never substantial. I know this promotion will have a pay increase, but not sure how much. With no yearly raises, we all assume the worst so this will probably be my only compensation discussion until the next promotion.

The VP is also the person I'm going to need to discuss salary with, and he's known for being tight with the purse strings. The 1st quarter is always slow for us, so we're currently in cost-containment mode. Secondly, I see this person as a role model and mentor. We are very similar, and I would like my career path to emulate his. I also know he wants me to take the position because we've got a good relationship, he feels I have high potential, and he needs to backfill the position ASAP.

How do I approach this negotiation, considering I consider this man a mentor? I don't want to come across as greedy or unwilling to help out. I recall a podcast saying the short answer to asking for a raise is don't ask for one.

Please help.

bflynn's picture

The best answer I can think of it to take the job, get established in it and be happy with whatever the pay is.

At whatever point you feel it appropriate, bring up your concerns about annual increases in a professional manner. Express your concerns about what this does to the business. Ultimately, if you're not losing talent over salary, then its set just right. If you're failing to attract good people or having to replace people who leave over money, then he needs to loosen up a little. A whole lot of this is your company's reputation. Doing the same job, you'd have to pay me more if your name is Six Flags than if its Walt Disney.

Industry wide, employers have generally paid pretty well for many years, but are starting to tighten salaries. For many years, they've heard that "its not about the money". I think they've forgotten that money isn't part of the decision only when there's enough of it. Trends that I've been reading about over the past few years say that money is becoming a larger factor in decisions when people to leave. Firms that don't give raises will usually see a larger share of that.

Brian

itilimp's picture

[quote="bflynn"]Doing the same job, you'd have to pay me more if your name is Six Flags than if its Walt Disney. [/quote]

Hi Brian,
Please could you explain this comment for me, I'm from England and don't quite understand it.
Thanks.

juliahhavener's picture

I think he's saying that Walt Disney has a much larger reputation, offers many more career opportunities than does the smaller and less-well-known Six Flags. I could be wrong.

I will say that having had some very similar worries when I applied for my current position (a move within the same company), I had absolutely NO problems with the offer I received. It was right in line with 'I hope' and not quite at the 'I'll fall over in shock if' range. I would still agree with Mark's common thread of 'it doesn't matter until you have an offer'.

I did try to gauge what the general salary RANGE is with HR prior to my interview, but I approached the subject as it being for my information, ball-park only. YMMV.

stewartlogan's picture

I know careers mean a lot to us; otherwise they would just be jobs.

With that said, MAKE SURE salary is discussed, and that all the details fall in line before you take this position. Your family is just that - your family. If the salary you'll receive (and benefits) aren't equivalent with the time you'll be away from your family, it's not worth it.

While it will be difficult to say no, sometimes it's for the best. There are other positions out there that will pay more, and offer more time for family. There are also other positions out there which don't pay as well and offer less time for family.

The choice is yours. My advice, however, is not to let the money portion be the be-all, end-all of the decision.

bflynn's picture

[quote="itilimp"][quote="bflynn"]Doing the same job, you'd have to pay me more if your name is Six Flags than if its Walt Disney. [/quote]

Hi Brian,
Please could you explain this comment for me, I'm from England and don't quite understand it.
Thanks.[/quote]

My apologies for the cultural reference. I forget the international audience sometimes.

Julia is pretty much on target. There are valuable things other than money that we take away from a job.

Six Flags is an amusement park chain in North America. They own about 25 theme parks scattered around the continent. However, their reputation is not as strong in business or service as Disney. All else equal, Disney can pay less in salary because their reputation is worth being associated with. Additionally, they have better development programs than most other companies.

Lets try hotel chains - the difference between a Sheraton, Hilton or Marriott and a Ritz-Carlton or maybe the Savoy. Both are nice. Given the same pay for the same job, who would you rather work for?

Brian

itilimp's picture

Ah ok, thanks for the explanation. Kind of what I thought but I read your wording backwards if that makes sense.

bisogni's picture

I just wanted to say thank you to Brian, Stewart and Julia for the feedback.

I've been considering the entire situation and I think that the reality is that compensation is not really my question, so much is how do I sit and decide what the value of my family life is in relation to my work and work relationships.

Considering how much time we spend at work and the strength and quality of those relationships, it's difficult.

Once again, thank you for your insights.

stewartlogan's picture

[quote="bisogni"]I just wanted to say thank you to Brian, Stewart and Julia for the feedback.

I've been considering the entire situation and I think that the reality is that compensation is not really my question, so much is how do I sit and decide what the value of my family life is in relation to my work and work relationships.

Considering how much time we spend at work and the strength and quality of those relationships, it's difficult.

Once again, thank you for your insights.[/quote]

Glad to help out. I'm a small business owner, so I know how difficult it can be to balance family and work, especially when there is always work to be done. Needless to say, I've been called out on it several times while flinging out emails at 10pm.

Good luck with making a decision!

mjpeterson's picture

If you have a good relationship with the VP and you trust him, I would suggest being direct about the salary issues. Find out what it would pay, but also find what it would take to make it move up. Are there specific metrics that you will be evaluated on that can lead to greater compensation. In a sales environment, this would be standard, but even in managerial roles, he should be able to give you some information in this regard. The other thing to consider is if you want to be compensated more, you have to be in an industry or area that does this.

As to the work/family time balance, you have to make sure you delegate, delegate, delegate. Managers who don't delegate well and try and do everything themselves end up working far too much and still not concentrating on the critical areas of their work.

Mark's picture

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I regret my absence.

Fascinating that we're trying to put a price on the job... and your family is priceless. Never confuse salary with job/role.

If, without salary implications, this job helps your career with no impact on your family, resolve to both take it and do your best to ask for as much money as you believe is reasonable under the circumstances. If your family will suffer, that's a different discussion.

Again, my apologies for my delay.

Mark

d_dawg's picture

bisogni, my perspective...

I believe that you should never, never be afraid to ask for what you are worth and what you believe to be fair. The time of discussing the promotion is EXACTLY the time to do it.

Is it fair to be asked to take on a higher level of responsibilities without a compensation adjustment that reflects these new responsibilities? Of course not. This is an unfair expectation.

Salary negotiation is exactly that - a negotiation. It is a forgone conclusion that the new position will offer an improvement to your compensation package so try to focus the discussion with your superior on what the embodiment of that improvement is.

Is it a higher base salary? Is is a better performance incentives? Is it implementing a bonus structure (if you don't already have one)? Is it more vacation time? Flexible work schedule? Paying tuition for a professional devleopment program?...create options, lots of them

The conversation will quickly turn into one of discussing what is the right fit for you and the enterprise because it is a foregone conclusion that an improvemnt to your compensation package is implicit in accepting a higher level of responsibilities.

If your VP chooses not to engage in such a discussion and holds his ground then have him explain to you why he believes accepting the new role is good for you. What is it about the new role that will benefit YOU and YOUR objectives...personal and professional. It completly fair to discuss "what's in it for me" because if there is nothing in it for you why would you take the position? Why would anybody make a career move if there was nothing to be gained?

If he replies, for example, the new postion will help develop your aptitude in accounting but your desire is to build your compentancy in managing people there is is a mis-allignment. Can this be corrected? Can the role be re-defined to better meet your needs?...again, the objective is to get the discussion back on track to discussion how you are going to allign the offer to meet the needs of both you and the enterprise.

If at the end of the discussion in which you have discussed your needs and offered several avenues to meet these needs and the VP presents the take-it-or-leave-it offer well then that is what you have to do. For me I would leave it. If were offered a role in which a superior I reported to is a positional negotiator you will have a tough road ahead winning his support for any of your initiatives as a manger or senior professional.

In otherwords do you really want to work for a person like that?

If the offer does not meet your needs then NOT asking for a raise is bad, bad advice.