When we think of salary negotiations, many of us think mainly of annual pay. How much money will we receive for our work?
If you’re looking for a more satisfactory life, however, you shouldn’t get caught up in trying to negotiate more pay. Instead, look at the entire benefits package.
Think about how your overall situation would improve if you negotiated the following portions of your benefits package:
How much vacation time do you want? If you’re running into a snag over salary negotiations, whether you’re starting at a new job or asking for a raise, you might be able to get a couple more paid vacation days. Ask yourself: Would you rather have a couple thousand extra dollars a year, or three or four extra vacation days?
In some cases, employees are willing to take unpaid vacation time. Even if you can’t get a higher salary, could you be approved for extended unpaid leave? This type of arrangement can provide you with the opportunity to have more time with family and friends, take classes or work toward a degree, or allow some other lifestyle enhancement.
Another opportunity to negotiate comes with schedule flexibility. What if you could come into work earlier and leave a little earlier? What about telecommuting two or three times a week?
For many workers, the ability to put in four 10-hour workdays so that they can have a three-day weekend every week is worth it. Find out if you can get a flexible schedule by agreeing to a little less in terms of pay.
Career & Education
Perhaps, instead of getting a higher salary, you can get your company to help you with career and education improvements. Maybe you can take a certification course, or work toward an advanced degree with help from your company.
In some cases, you might be able to get the company to foot the bill to development conferences and seminars. In the long run, this can be more valuable to you than a slightly higher salary.
Health and Wellness
Maybe you ask for help with your lifestyle and wellness situation. One of my employers paid 50% of a gym membership for its employees. Additionally, the company paid for a massage therapist to come in once a month and give employees short, stress-relieving treatments.
Whether it’s providing daycare for your children, or offering an on-site fitness center, these perks can be worth more to your overall well-being than money.
The Bottom Line
Money isn’t everything. Sometimes, the benefits and perks that come with the ability to live a better lifestyle are worth more than money. Rather than seeing your salary negotiation as something that deals strictly with your pay, think of the entire compensation package.
Health benefits, time (which can’t be replaced), and flexibility are all things that you can’t really quantify with money — at least not easily. If you’re willing to negotiate some of these other benefits, you can create a work situation that satisfies you, even if you don’t get as much money as you thought you’d like.
Are there any benefits for which you’d take a pay cut?