Hidden Costs in Taking a New Job Offer

by James & Miel on August 16, 2008 · 0 comments

Today’s post focuses on the hidden things that are essential to pay attention to when considering a new job, or a promotion. At the end of the day, an offer is much more than just a figure.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before accepting an offer:

Review your offer very carefully. Now is not the time to scan and sign. Make sure you understand everything in the offer, it includes everything you had negotiated for, and that you clear up any questions before signing.

Added expenses. Will you have to spend more on gas? Metro? Day care? Health care? Housing? Gym membership? Your job can often affect a great deal of expenses that you might not consider from on the onset. For example, if you have to live in a more expensive city or neighborhood this can make a considerable difference.

Benefits. Know what the health care, retirement, life insurance, parking, vacation, sick days, educational benefits, etc are established at. Think of the whole package rather than just the salary. That being said, salary is often most important to think of in terms of long term salary progression.

Raises. It is also good to get a sense of annual raises and promotions. If you have a great salary but are only getting 2% raise, you might be better off over the long term with a low starting salary and a 6% annual raise over time.

In Kind. Most jobs don’t offer a great deal of in kind benefits, but for expats that is often the case. Consider things like food, housing, utilities, education, transportation, services such as cleaning and cooks, etc. Here in Kabul it makes a great deal of difference whether or not your office supports your generator costs and internet expenses, both of which are hefty.

Make sure you understand what the offer is. The calculation of salary often changes from business to business. Thus, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples, i.e. annual salary to annual salary or hourly/daily rate to the same. Companies have different ways of calculating these, so it is important to understand what you are accepting.

Here is my story on comparing salary offers and not being afraid to ask for more:

For example, I was close to making an error when taking on my first full time job in Washington. I had been working as an internal temporary employee, since I was replacing a woman who had been pregnant with twins and wasn’t expected to return but hadn’t given notice either. When I was first offered the job I had done the math and was okay with the salary but would have liked more. I negotiated with HR to have a salary review in the event that I went on full time in three months.

When it came time to meet with HR, they gave me a letter offer. I looked at the figure and was initially happy with the increase. The thing is, they had given the first offer in an hourly rate and the second offer as an annual figure. Thus, I thought I had been making less on an annual basis than I actually was.

I happened to be lucky when the HR officer began to talk and mentioned that it was the same salary I had been getting. Hearing this, I countered and said that I had accepted the position based on the condition that there would be a rate review at my official hire. In the end I got a ten percent salary increase that even but me slightly above the salary bracket that I was in.

Readers: If you’ve got any tips on things that you look at when accepting a new job, or interesting experiences you might have had in requesting more, please share.

Cheers,

Miel

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