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How To Not Get Crushed In Your First Salary Negotiation

How To Not Get Crushed In Your First Salary Negotiation

It’s an unfortunate part of life, but becoming an adult also means taking financial responsibility for yourself. So we go out, find a job, and start paying the bills.

Or at least that’s the plan.

A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that 19 percent of employees had trouble making ends meet every month. And among employed young adults, ages 18-24, 32 percent were unable to save any money in the previous year.

It takes time to figure out a budget and learn how to live within your means, but many young adults don’t even try for more money during their first salary negotiation. A 2015 NerdWallet survey found that 62 percent of recent college graduates didn’t attempt to negotiate after receiving their first job offer.

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It’d be great if employers just automatically offered you enough money to live comfortably, however that’s not always the case. It’s up to you to calculate what you need to maintain financial independence and then try to reach an agreement that’s as close to that number as possible.

Here are four real-life considerations you need to take into account in a salary negotiation:

Relocation and housing expenses

If your new job is in the same city you currently live in, you already know how much your rent is and what the cost of living is like in your area. However, if you’re moving for the job, it’s important to do research about the new city as early as possible. That way, you’ll know how much you’ll need to make in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

For instance, based on 2015 research from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, if you plan to live in Kentucky, you’ll need to make the equivalent of $13.14 an hour to pay for the average two bedroom apartment. That’s the state with lowest average rental cost in the U.S. If you move to California you’ll need to make almost double that to pay rent.

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Checking out apartments in the area you’re moving to on Craigslist gives you an even better idea of what rent typically runs and what target salary you should shoot for. Also, know that many organizations offer some kind of relocation assistance. But you might have to ask for the extra money during your salary negotiation.

Travel costs

Depending on how far you have to travel to get to the office, your travel expenses can begin to add up. Whether you decide to take public transportation or drive to work, you need to know how much it’s going to cost to go and earn your paycheck every day.

For example, if you have a 10-mile commute each way — which 2015 Brookings Institute research found was the average in many American metro areas — that’s 100 miles a week, to and from work. Not to mention, there’s the cost of car insurance. And if you have to drive on toll roads, getting to work can get expensive very quickly.

Student loans

For many new graduates, the burden of paying back student loans is overwhelming. A 2015 study by Student Loan Hero found that one in four college graduates still live with their parents because of the financial strain of their loans. One in nine would eat a tarantula if it helped pay off their debt faster.

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Once you’ve decided which repayment plan is right for you, find out how much you’ll have to pay each month. There’s a good chance that, after rent, loan payments could be your biggest expense, so be sure to know how much you’ll need.

Also remember to ask if your new organization has any kind of loan repayment assistance. It might not be offered to all employees or it might require you to take an overall salary cut, but it’s a fantastic perk to have.

Health insurance

If you’re lucky enough to still be covered by your parents’ insurance, it’ll definitely put less stress on your bank account. However, remember that eventually you’ll need your own. The sudden extra cost won’t necessarily coincide with a raise in pay, either.

Some employers offer coverage or assistance paying for company group plans. Before you enter your salary negotiation, get all the information on the benefits you qualify for, so you’ll know what portion of health care costs will fall on your shoulders.

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If your employer doesn’t offer any kind of health insurance, and you need to shop for it on your own, know that a low monthly premium isn’t always the best option for your long-term finances. Sure, a plan like that will be cheaper if you never get sick, but you’ll face higher copays if you do need to see a doctor. Fully research all your options, and find someone you trust to answer any questions you may have.

Getting a new job and becoming more adult can be very exciting. But, financially, it can also be a little scary. The best way to start taking control of your money is confidently negotiating the right salary for your lifestyle. Take the time to calculate how much new and unfamiliar expenses will cost you, so you’ll know when you’ve reached the right deal.

What other real-life considerations should be taken into account before a salary negotiations? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo via deathtothestockphoto.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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