Someone recently asked me a salary negotiation question. I am not always crazy about the “pay me what I’m worth” statements. She wanted to know what I thought about what she was told by her best friend, “Don’t take a job that won’t pay me what I’m worth?” She said, “I am asking because I hear it often. I have been out of work six months and I’m ready to take the first offer. How do you feel about this advice?”
It depends on the job seekers circumstance. There is not a one answer fitting all circumstances. In general, it’s terrible general advice because many people are not driven by money. Many people are energized by a career that’s lined up with his or her personal values. It is more important the impact of what they do is personally rewarding than being well paid.
At the same time, you should have a deep understanding of your value. You may not see it now, but in years to come without negotiating your salary is careless. You should always negotiate your salary and understand your market value. Always. Otherwise, the money you neglect to ask for will be lost in just a few years.
In fact, you must shift you mind. It is not only a salary negotiation, it’s a compensation package negotiation. You must consider the whole package than just being paid your worth. It’s right in principle, and wrong in focus. You’re worth is cash.
Not to take a job solely due to the lack of money for those who either in control of their career trajectory or they don’t understand the breadth of his or her profession. If you know the rigor of your profession requires mental or physical preparation or recovery, then you need to consider the compensation package accordingly.
People think its good advice because of their own values and feelings about money. It’s not good for anyone who cares about a career meaning more than money. Having meaning and money is ideal, but not always realistic. Many times you can only have one or the other. Whenever you get advice, you must translate it appropriately to your values and expectations.
I just worked with a nurse whose passion is traveling to third world countries as part of a group to help with its medical and spiritual needs. Although she works for a large hospital in a ideal situation, she is planning to do this full-time in the near future. She doesn’t care about the income, but looks forward to immersing herself into helping the poverty-stricken. She knows what the market value is for some of the work she’ll do and understands the range, but she looks for the value in the experience.
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