So I broke down how much I'm making per hour, including the benefits and work life balance, and then built it back up with the new (lesser) benefits, with 20% increase in time worked and with the increased hours (plus accounting for higher tax brackets). This would be the 'break even per hour' point. Even without factoring in a raise, the new rate is extremely higher (about double). How do I sale this as the break even point when negotiating? Do I draft up a page showing my calculations? I think that for most people, going through the calculations would be off putting. I would like to maintain the advantage negotiating I have from being in a field which is in high demand and where I had no need for a new job (and thus can walk away).

(To make it more difficult, where I currently work at publishes all employee salaries but does not count in the benefits nor work/life balance, as otherwise I could just count this as my total compensation and present it as how much I make.)


What I'm trying to handle is the following:

Them: "So how much are you looking for."

Me: "$XX."

Them: "That is twice what you currently make."

Do I:

A: "That's what I'm asking for." Even if this is within what they are willing to pay, will they be less likely to agree because I'm asking for so much more?

B: "That previous salary was compensated with generous benefits and work life balance." This seems way too blunt and could be easily taken as insulting the benefits they offer.

C: "Comparing benefits and time worked, it comes down to me making the same per hour. I really couldn't accept a position where I would be making less per hour." This seems the best of the three, but is this still breaking it down too much?

D: Something I haven't even thought of.

  • 3
    The don't really care how to came to the number. And they are just going to laugh at higher tax bracket problem.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 2, 2015 at 21:37
  • 5
    who are you negotiating with? a new employer who you know will have poorer benefits and longer hours than your current employer, or a current employer who has unilaterally "changed the terms of our agreement" and presumably suggests you "pray I do not change them further." Apr 2, 2015 at 21:42
  • 3
    Your company is increasing workload and reducing benefits. Why on earth would you think they would be willing to increase salary?
    – HLGEM
    Apr 2, 2015 at 21:46
  • I mean a potential new employer. Also, I don't care if they laugh or not, my minimum will be making the same per hour. I can walk no problem, but I don't know how best to sale the position. Apr 3, 2015 at 13:16
  • 2
    This is one example why it is good to avoid giving your current salary to potential employers ! You now have to justify really intrinsically intangible things like work/life balance and benefits.
    – teego1967
    Apr 3, 2015 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


I'm not 100% sure what you hope to accomplish with a spreadsheet.

At the end of the day, they have a job and you want a job. The only question is whether the job and salary requirements line up. Cost of living, "work/life balance", tax rates etc don't really matter. In other words, all the computations you want to put in front of them ultimately don't matter and, to be perfectly honest, won't even be read.

If you want, or require, a higher salary than what they've presented then all you have to do is ask for it. If they don't give that then you need to decide if performing the work for the pay offered is worth it. If not, just let them know and move on.

Attempting to provide "evidence" why an offered salary is unacceptable doesn't work.

So, just tell them the number you require and wait for their response.

I know exactly what I'd do if someone came into my office with a spreadsheet showing all sorts of calculations on why they must be paid X. I'd glance at it once to be polite and set it aside. Why? Because no matter what that paper says I know exactly what I'm willing to pay for a position and/or a particular person in that position and the candidate/employees financial situation is really not my concern.

If we can't come to an agreement, then I'll find someone else. If I can't find someone I like for the price I'm willing to pay, then I'll rethink my position and continue looking.

  • If you know what you are going to pay, why is the general advice to not give you previous salary? For that advice to be relevant, a potential hires previous salary is going to be relevant to what someone is willing to offer. Apr 3, 2015 at 13:20
  • @Lawtonfogle: If, as an employee, I want more money and I'm willing to change jobs to get it then my reasons for asking for more money don't matter to the manager. Either he delivers or I move. As a manager talking to a potential new hire, I'll ask about their previous salary to see if it's inline with what I'm willing to pay. Also I'll ask it as a negotiating tool because most people are willing to move for a trivial extra amount. My point is simply that no one really cares why you want the extra money or how you came to that number. What matters is what will happen if you don't get it.
    – NotMe
    Apr 6, 2015 at 15:57

When negotiating anything I personally know my break even point and don't ever go below that.

You don't need a spreadsheet or anything like that, if your rate is acceptable with your current times and pay then simply state to whoever you are negotiating with that you have a bottom line which needs to be met in the event that you have to spend a extra 20% of time in the office .

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