This post isn’t about how to negotiate compensation – it’s about changing your perception of what this word means and what other things are included in an overall package.
Show me the money.
Well, let’s get this one out of the way first. Money is obviously the first thing that comes to mind when people are getting ready for negotiating a job offer.
Fair market value in your compensation is important – after all, if you don’t do a good job now in the negotiations, you could be setting back your total life time earnings with a low-ball offer that you accept. So do your research.
The doctor will see you now.
Health care is another part of the compensation package. With ever-rising costs and a tumultuous health care market / exchange, anything an employer can do to cover a portion of health care expenses means more money in your wallet.
Plan on those golden years.
It’s shrinking, but the amount (if any) employers still plunk down in employee 401K or other retirement accounts with matches or vestments is a huge compensation package plus.
Here’s the keys to your new car.
Larger companies often offer a perk to management that includes use / lease of a car, which can avoid putting wear and tear on your car. This can mean a lot of costs that you won’t have to foot.
Get that healthy glow.
Health club memberships are often tossed into compensation packages with a two-fold purpose – give active employees a great place to work out while also encouraging behaviors that keep health care costs lower.
Time to take that trip you always wanted.
Vacation time is a coveted compensation package item. If the employer won’t budge on the salary numbers, perhaps they’ll toss in another week of vacation!
Welcome to the team!
Increasingly tight labor markets can mean you might be offered a signing bonus as an incentive to join the team. Any time someone can get some additional cash for starting at a dream job is a great thing!
Hat Tip to Top Performers
Another compensation option is performance bonuses, but be careful about this one because you should really be clear on what metrics are being used to determine who gets this bonus and who doesn’t.
Make sure it is within the realm of possibility in your performance, rather than a tempting tidbit that gets yanked right when you think you’ve reached that goal.
FSAs / Disability / Life Insurance
These options can help employees defray additional costs, which counts as a compensation offering as much as the other ones.
Depending on the industry / company, certain perks might be additional compensation pluses – an example might be someone who joins a brewing company gets a certain allotment of free beer.
Keeping in mind all of these compensation options will help you gain a bigger picture of what your overall package might be valued at, and remember, don’t get fixated on just the paycheck you get!
Why leaders fail has roots in many different reasons.
Talk to anyone, and it seems that most have had the experience of a bad boss. (I fondly call this type of supervisor “Bosszilla.”)
True to form, Bosszilla (aka the leader) spreads terror in their wake, and frequently squish people not wise enough to get out of their way, or eat those alive who dare to stand up in the face of such ferocity.
But let’s talk about why leaders fail.
And it’s about them, not you.
Spread the blame, keep the credit
This particular type of Bosszilla thrives in an environment where they like to diffuse blame onto others – either directly through accusations, or indirectly through whispers and murmurs.
It’s always someone else’s fault, according to them. (Sound like any bosses you know?)
This particular bad behavior of pushing the employees into harm’s way happens when things are going bad.
But interestingly enough, when things are going well, Bosszilla literally elbows their way up to the front to be the first recipient of kudos and recognition, keeping it all to themselves.
This is why leaders fail that are like Bosszilla.
It should be the exact opposite – letting the limelight fall on employees other than themselves when great things happen, and then stepping forward when things aren’t so rosy in order to take the heat off employees.
Applies to everyone else but them
This is when Bosszilla refuses to look in the mirror for a self-reflecting moment.
“Am I cause of this?”
“Did my leadership impact this situation?”
Their answer is that the rules only apply to others, not them.
Why leaders fail is when they don’t see how they are just as accountable as the lowest-paid person in the company.
Lack of self-awareness
Bosszilla with their tiny arms, and even tinier brain, oftentimes refuses to see themselves as part of a larger organization.
To them, it’s all about lumbering through the workplace forest, mowing down trees in their wake.
They don’t stop to think about the impact they are having on the organization, and that’s another reason why leaders fail.
Unwillingness to admit failure
Other reasons why Bosszilla is an example as to why leaders fail is when the chips are down, they won’t admit that they messed up.
How they handle loss, failure, or any other disappointment serves as the example they set within the organization.
Failure is never easy, but it is only complete when you don’t learn from mistakes. Proactive leaders will be willing to sit down, hear the hard facts, and do an autopsy to find out where things went south. And then learn from it.
A new breed of Bosszilla lurks out there. These are the creatures who have a throw-away mentality… they make a mess, and don’t care what they leave behind because there’s always someone else who will hire them… until they don’t.
These are the most dangerous creatures because every single employee is at risk from a self-centered, zero moral beast ready to destroy and without a care as to who or what they might hurt.
How NOT to be a leader that fails
The only inoculation you can get against transforming into Bosszilla lies within yourself.
It is a resolve and a desire to be BETTER.
You want to become a best-in-class leader.
And you can do this by taking formal training on management principles in supervising people, processes, finance, culture, and strategy.
And going into it with humbleness, willingness to learn, and active listening.
If you really want to not fail as a leader, the tools are already there at your disposal so you don’t.
Is your job target one you love, or one you are actually qualified to do?
It’s a painful process for some people.
Sometimes, I get clients calling me who want to do a complete career pivot, which I love. It’s fun to completely reinvent someone using their transferrable skills that can point them into a different direction.
However, once in a while, I get a gushing client who is so entirely fired up about their job target that they lose their perspective.
Loving your job target
We all have things that light our fire and really get us excited. The fantasy of having that dream job doing all those cool things we’ve always wanted to do… and getting paid to do it!
We should all aspire to have such a position.
Interestingly, many baby boomers and now Gen Xers are starting to repurpose their latter years in the workforce into what is commonly known as an encore careers.
That’s when you leverage your existing skill sets into a new direction that is more purpose-driven versus monetarily-driven.
Cool concept, and given the fact that most of us spend more time at the office in our job than with our families, I’ve always held the belief that we might as well enjoy what we are doing during all that time out of the home.
However, there’s also the reality check.
When LOVING a job idea clashes with qualifications
But sometimes, no matter how much you are in love with a potential job target, there just isn’t a business case to hire you for it because you simply don’t have the chops.
It might be that your background is entirely dissimilar, or your skills don’t transfer. Or perhaps the position is so specialized that there are simply better-qualified people out there.
So what I urge clients to do when they are faced with this scenario is to take a good, long look at their background and then go line-by-line in the description of the job target, asking themselves, “What specific experience do I have that relates to this requirement?”
If you find that you can’t make that big of a stretch, I don’t want you to despair.
It only means that you simply can’t make that leap… yet.
What this tells job seekers is that there is going to have to be an interim step between where they currently are, and where they want to go.
We can work with their background to parse out the most relevant aspects, but the rest of the work is yet to be done… either through skill acquisition, training, internships, or more of entry-level position to gain the fundamentals in the new direction.
Having a realistic approach in whether you are in LOVE with a job target and qualified, or simply in love and NOT qualified is critical to determining your next steps.
Sometimes, it’s your current boss / company who is pretty stingy with how job titles are structured.
Other times, it is a simple lack of understanding about what the job entails that results in a poorly-created job title.
So, what do you do when you hit either one of these scenarios?
Current Job Title Doesn’t Reflect Your Current Work
First of all, if your current employer has given you a job title that in effect, doesn’t remotely reflect the work you are doing and at what level, this can be a road block to your career.
This could be the result of a badly-built organizational chart, internal agendas, human resource designations, or simply put: a boss doesn’t want to up your job title because that means more pay… which usually is the main reason.
I had a client who was technically a VP at a large, international company worth billions of dollars. However, his job title was that of a manager. That could definitely hurt his career advancement simply because the job title was holding him back when in fact, his next justifiable move would be the C-suite.
When you are facing this kind of dilemma, don’t give up. There is one tool in your favor, and here’s how it works:
Report your actual job title in your résumé as it would be listed on file in the human resources department. But immediately after including that, then put into parenthesis the actual level at which you performed.
Example (using my client from above): International Manager (equivalent to Vice President)
This way, you are factually reporting the actual job title but also letting the reader know that there was a job title discrepancy between the title and the work being done at a certain level.
But always be careful about not over-reaching. You don’t want to peg yourself up higher than what your background can actually justify!
Target Job Title isn’t Accurate
If you are applying for a position, and the description reads like a higher-level job, but the title itself doesn’t match, that could be a red flag of something wrong internally at the company.
For example, if you are super excited about a job and everything in the posting is exactly what you were hoping for in the next career move upwards, but the title seems like a demotion, that’s a signal to pause.
You have two options here: Go ahead and apply for the job and hope that in the interview, the title / positioning of the work can be negotiable.
I’ve had multiple clients who have had this situation happen and went for it… and as part of the job offer / negotiation process, they have managed to get the job title changed to more accurately reflect the work to be performed while also ensuring that this is a step forward in advancing themselves up the career ladder.
But there is always the possibility that you’ll hit a road block, and the title will remain as is. That’s the gamble you have to take, and eventually, you will come to a decision point as to whether you will accept a lower-level-sounding position or not.
That’s not to say you can’t employ the “equivalent to” tool for future applications, but it does help to actually capture the correct job title from the get-go. Otherwise, it is an uphill battle.
Job titles can be deceiving, and that’s where you always need to be vigilant to ensure that yours is the most accurate reflection of your work so you can spring board into new, higher-level career opportunities.