Being happy in your job is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it’s great for obvious reasons. On the other, it’s puts you in a tricky spot when it comes to salary negotiation.
That’s according to Lee E. Miller, co-author of “A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating” with his daughter Jessica Miller. He says discounting the possibility that you could change jobs puts you at a disadvantage — and women are more likely than men to make this misstep.
“The minute a woman makes it clear she can’t or won’t leave because of family or because she likes the job, she reduces her effectiveness,” Miller told Business Insider. “If you approach a boss making it clear you’re not going to leave, why should [they] pay you more?”
“It’s always about what you’re worth in the market based on skills and experience,” he continued. “Either your current employer will give it to you, or you need to go out in the market.” Men, he says, are more likely to embrace this tactic, meaning they tend to change jobs more often and get the bump in pay that comes along with it.
And for the record, he says, if you go out and can’t get more, you’re probably earning what you’re worth.
However, leaving the option of changing jobs open is not the same as threatening to leave. A more effective tactic is asking your employer to help you stay in a position you love. Miller broke down the difference:
“I’ve got another offer. If you don’t give me a raise, I’m going to leave.”
“That could work,” said Miller, “but the boss isn’t going to like it.”
“I really love it here, but I’ve got this other offer, and it’s a lot more money. Is there anything you can do to help me get to the market rate? I don’t want to take this offer, but it’s made it clear I’m being compensated way below market. Can you help me?”
“When you ask for help in getting up to market rates, it engenders a very different response,” Miller said. “It’s not about threatening to leave, but about making sure your employer knows you’re happy there … but other people are calling.”
But, he emphasised, don’t lie about having another offer. If you don’t have one, you can go out and get one, but make sure you’re approaching your employer with the truth.
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