My summer reading includes career books, and I recently checked out Salary Negotiation Tips for Professionals by Ron & Caryl Krannich, Ph.D.s. Here is the first of three mistakes they say many professionals make when negotiating salary offers.
Mistake #1: Accepting an offer primarily because of compensation. There are many high paid professionals who are miserable in their work. If you consider yourself underpaid, it may sound like a paradox, but the syndrome even has a name: golden handcuffs. The Kranniches say that many people become dazzled by a high salary and don’t do enough probing to find out if the job is a good match for their interests and skills. You may think that being bored at $25 an hour sounds like a good problem to have. But the long-term corrosive effects on your motivation and performance can do real harm to your career. Conversely, a great job that pays less but stimulates you and has real meaning can be the best thing that could happen to you.
If you see a job that seems to be compensated at an unusually high rate, be sure to probe carefully in the interview. In my experience, there are very few workers who are overpaid. If a job seems to be comparable to another with lower salary, you can almost bet that the higher paying job is faster paced, higher stress and higher stakes. That’s OK; you just need to understand and be ready for that.