Friday, September 19, 2008

Talking Money

I was advising a student today who had received a job offer, and thought the pay offered seemed kind of low. I suggested to her that she do some research on salaries, and then ask for more.

Many people don't ask for more in fear that they might jeopardize the offer. I can tell you that I have never heard of a company revoking an offer because someone asked for more money. Further, I've never heard of a company or manager who thought poorly of a new hire that had tried to negotiate for more money. In fact, most companies expect you to ask for more. They aren't always going to give it, but they expect you to ask.

Before you do, make sure you do your homework. I think provides some good information. I also suggest looking for local salary surveys, or salary surveys for your industry or profession for more information.

Another mistake I see in the salary negotiation game is with people negotiating a reduced hour work schedule. Some are so grateful to get the part-time schedule, that they take what we call a "part-time penalty" in their pay. Your pay reduction should be in line with your work reduction. If you reduce your hours 20%, your pay should be reduced 20%, and not any more. In fact, in some cases you can even negotiate for a higher hourly rate. If your reduced schedule takes you to a part-time status no longer eligible to receive benefits, I suggest asking for an hourly pay increase to make-up for any lost benefits.

The best way to be prepared to negotiate salary is to educate yourself. Here are some links to some good articles on the salary negotiation process:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Using Your Evenings

It is so tempting to just crawl into bed after the kids are asleep, isn't it? Just flick around the TV, maybe watch a show, but more likely doze off. I do it sometimes, as everyone should.

But most nights, I make sure that I first take some time to get ready for the next day. When I talk to groups about time management, the most common thing I hear is that mornings are just always hectic. And if you start your day off hectic, then you tend to be in chaos the entire day.

I spend about a half-hour or so each night getting ready for the morning. I pick out what I am going to wear and iron if I need to. I lay out the kids clothes, including their shoes. I pack my bag and their bags and I put them in the car. I make coffee and pack my lunch if I am taking it. I can't tell you how much stress it takes out of the morning to have everything ready to go. Most mornings the kids end up having some time to play before we leave which makes them much happier once we do get on the road. And very rarely do I forget something as I take the time in the evening to make sure I have everything I need.

Many have told me that they can just make sure they are up in time to get ready for day instead of wasting their evenings. But, it doesn't always work. There is often something forgotten, or some unexpected roadblock such as a missing shoe or bookbag. I'd much rather deal with those dilemmas at night, without the clock ticking reminding me that I am running late. My husband makes fun of my ways sometimes, but not when he's going to be late for a meeting because he is running around the house looking for his phone.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Keeping Busy

When friends I don't see often ask me how I am doing, my standard reply is that I am 'keeping busy.' That has become more true than ever lately as I have taken on my new full-time job as a college professor. While I am working about the same number of hours as I have in the past, I am dedicating a majority of those to the new job. My consulting work and my work promoting flexible work has been on the backburner.

While I feel strongly about my work promoting flexibility, I've realized that it is something that that comes behind my kids and my job, at least for now. I am reading a good book right now, "I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids," that is helping me examine my priorities and keep myself from becoming overwhelmed. The book shares many anecdotal stories from moms all over the country and the ongoing message of the book is that we must set realistic expectations for ourselves.

Right now my paycheck and my family's healthcare benefits are coming from my full-time job, so I must make that a priority. I will post here and work on marketing my ideas about flexible work as I have time. I will also work on ways to integrate my belief in flexible work through my job as a researcher and educator. And I will continue to speak to groups and the media whenever I'm given the opportunity. But, if I just don't have time to do everything I think I should do, then I just don't have time. I can hopefully still make a difference with any effort I make.