Kids learn the art of negotiating when they’re small, whether it’s asking for an extra 15 minutes of reading before bed or for 25 cents for the gumball machine.
Yet, when it comes to asking for more money as an adult, many prospective employees shy away for asking for more when it comes to their salaries.
Part of it is not knowing how.
“If you want to know how to negotiate, watch how kids talk about bedtime,” advises Jane Park, founder and CEO of beauty product company Julep.
Kids don’t hesitate to ask for an extra 15 or 30 minutes if they believe they have a reason or even if they just feel like they deserve it. The key is that they are not afraid of ruining their relationship with the ask.
“[Debating over bed time] is a reasonable thing, and it makes sense that they want it,” Park said.
Salary negotiations are also a reasonable ask, but some new hires approach are scared that it could ruin the relationship from the onset if they come on too strong or ask too high.
That’s a matter of confidence and asking for something that is reasonable.
After all, kids learn that there’s a difference between asking to stay up all night versus asking for an extra 15 minutes because you did all your chores and want to finish your book.
Many employers expect there to be some give and take, and often take that into account in the initial offer. Negotiating salaries is not about one side winning, but having it be a win-win for both the employer and the employee.
“The anvil will not fall on your head. They will not retract the job offer,” Park said.
If you’re scared to ask in situations where you don’t know, it’s better to ask “is this normal?” or “what’s the normal range?” than nothing at all, Park said.
But there is one part of bedtime negotiations that you might want to leave out. Whining about bed time or begging from an emotional point of view for a raise doesn’t get you as far as giving a good reason why. No parent (or boss) wants to hear a tantrum, no matter how much they want to be on the same team.
“Save the emotional guns for last,” Park said.