Posted in Personal Finance originally, referred here.

Quick background - I am an accountant for a small labor union. The lady that runs the pension department is due for retirement and it is openly discussed in the office that I will be filling her role. I had planned to negotiate a raise when the time came, but my boss approached me the other day and volunteered that he would be giving me a raise when I moved into the new position. This was music to my ears, as I wasn't sure how well asking for a raise would go over, especially in the middle of a pandemic and after we just lost a major, multi-year pipeline project. I had a number in mind that I planned to ask for. If my boss offers me less than what I desire, would it be in bad taste to counter his offer?

  • I take it this new position is a promotion? – Erik Oct 20 '20 at 14:59
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    Does this answer your question? How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid? – gnat Oct 20 '20 at 15:18
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    "If my boss offers me less than what I desire, would it be in bad taste to counter his offer?" Is the number that you have in mind based on your current role or the new role? – sf02 Oct 20 '20 at 15:49

Your two language-and-communications tips here are

  1. Enthusiasm (even over-the-top enthusiasm) never hurts

  2. Always ask questions in negotiations or discussions

So what about simply:

Steve, that's fantastic news. Let me tell you something. Looking at the market, I was thinking that an appropriate salary for that position might be £799,000. Could you give me your thoughts on that?

Similar phrases,

Could you put some thought in to that and come back to me with what you think?


After you and Jane look at it, could you give me your thoughts on the 799 figure?

Salary "negotiations" are really interesting because: for better or worse, the entire, sum, total facts on the line are that (A) the employee wants X and (B) the employee can leave if they don't get X. It's an absolutely "one-note" negotiation or discussion, when it comes down to it. As an employee for better or worse all you can do, if you don't get X - is leave. It's not like buying a house or selling airplanes where there are a vast amount of factors. Thus, although there can be a lot of extraneous talk, unfortunately salary negotiations ultimately come down to that bare fact.

  • How is salary negotiation different than price negotiation? If you don't like the price of the house, you have the option not to buy/sell it. That's your only leverage, same as with a job. – Kat Oct 20 '20 at 19:19
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    howdy Kat, I haven't bought many houses but the last time I bought one there were very many points of negotiation, eg whether cash purchase, when ready to act, would inspections be done on what, what's included, who gets what percentage amongst the agents, fees, etc etc etc – Fattie Oct 20 '20 at 19:23
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    In that case, you can negotiate number of hours you work, your schedule, working from home or in the office, equipment, responsibilities, productivity, free food, and so on. There are plenty of important things about jobs and employees besides salary. – Kat Oct 20 '20 at 22:50
  • Hmm, try to understand it this way: if you're the employee, what leverage do you have? In fact, only one thing. If you don't get the package you want, there's only one thing you can do. – Fattie Oct 21 '20 at 11:09

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