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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.” – Mark Twain
Individual job search can be challenging (regardless of why you are searching for a new job), but group job search (as in a downsizing, closing of a location or closing of a company) takes the challenge to a new level. Of course there are a number of factors that potentially increase the pressure, like when an entire industry is under pressure or if the overall economy is suffering. Everyone, of course, handles the job search pressure differently. Some people don’t actually look for a job until after their last day (denial) while others jump in with both feet and do the all out job search with a goal of finding a new job before their current job ends. Everyone needs to approach the process in the job search in their own way and time, but panic is not a good way to start.
Having lived through events described above several times (unfortunately), I’ve learned that you need to be flexible (and careful) in the way you handle your future compensation. There is sometimes a fear that you will never get another job and this may lead you to take a role for significantly less than you are currently paid (or potentially worth). On the other hand, “holding out” for a level of compensation that may no longer be realistic can also backfire. So what is the right balance between what you are really worth and what the market will pay? That, my friend, is the topic of today’s post.
What am I worth? – The first thing you want to try and understand is “what you are worth” and there are many tools that will help you do that. I must caution, however, that these tools only offer guidance as your exact set of circumstances (years of experience, education, type of experience, current economic trends, etc.) play a major role in determining compensation.
- Salary.com – Stands to reason that this is a good place to start. This site has two views, one for employers and one for personal use. You can register on the site or just use there tools without registering. There are links at the top of the page for Salary and job search or use the free Salary Wizard available left center page. Enter your title and location on the Personal Salary Wizard. Entering your information will return a basic report. There are additional tools below this for job search, Education and Cost of Living. Additionally, there are a number of other related tools under the Tools menu.
- Salary Calculator – Great salary calculator from AOL Jobs, along with a Cost of Living Calculator.
- Salary Wizard – The New York Times Salary Wizard, along with benefits, cost of living and more.
Should I take a cut in compensation? – This is a great question and is asked all of the time (as you will see from some of the links below). This is, of course, a personal decision. But you should be well informed (can you afford it, were you “overpaid” before, is the job in a less expensive market, etc.). Hopefully the following articles will help.
- Should I Accept A Job Offer Below My Current Pay Range? – This article is from Timsstrategy.com and it offers some great advice. Take a look at Tim’s Pros and Cons (you should be making your list as well). But also take a look at his five factors for consideration. Again, it is a personal choice driven by many factors, but think long and hard on this one.
- Should You Accept that Lousy Job Offer? Yes – Another view, this one posted on the CBS News site. I don’t actually agree that it is as cut and dry as the last paragraph would lead you to believe. But, that being said, personal circumstances combined with market conditions for your profession will provide the best answer for you.
Good luck in your search.