Experts say when accepting jobs, parents leave benefits behind

  • Alison Tavel Rabinovich, Negotiation Coach and Founder finishing school.
  • She has helped negotiate about half a million dollars in increases during her career.
  • This is the story of Rabinowitz, as told by Lauren Finney.

This solicitation is based on a conversation with Alison Tavel Rabinovich. Edited for length and clarity.

I am a negotiation coach. I help people by training them and providing the scripts needed to get the best compensation package you can negotiate with your current or prospective employer. I cover the professional mindset, professional storytelling, and scenarios for what he would say to close the deal. I’m your professional hype girl.

On average, I can get my clients $10,000 to $15,000 more than what was originally offered. But the gains can be even more significant, especially if you were underpaid in a previous role. My biggest gain so far has been a client who helped get a $100,000 raise in a career hub where she was underpaid in the previous role.

I also help out with the benefits of brainstorming: consider late starts on vacations, bonus packages, reviews for early raises, fairness, flexible work schedules, and relocation fees, to name a few. My best “get” to my clients is trust. I help them realize their full gain, and nothing excites me more than seeing a customer go from fearing demand to recognizing, celebrating, and acquiring their value.

Here are some of the mistakes I see parents make.

Don’t ask for enough money

Mothers are particularly guilty of being less confident when returning to the workforce. I think many moms underestimate their new skill of multitasking and worry that potential employers will judge them for perceived weaknesses, such as balancing work and parenthood or keeping up with childless employees.

If you don’t know how to tell your story to market yourself as a top performer and negotiate, you pay the “paternity tax” and end up leaving money and other benefits on the table.

Not negotiating other benefits

I also see people neglecting to negotiate other benefits such as potential future parental leave, paid leave, or other benefits. While you can’t negotiate FMLA, or family and medical leave — you should be eligible for it — you can negotiate extended paid or unpaid leave beyond the FMLA and negotiate things like splitting your leave when it’s time to take it.

You can also negotiate your work environment. The pandemic has changed everything. Many companies are incredibly open to hybrid or remote work in this new world, which is negotiable.

Other benefits you can negotiate include budgets for fertility needs, sabbaticals, continuing education and training, and additional paid time off.

Don’t let the emotion out

You have to remember that this is a business transaction. Treat it this way. I ask my clients to stop themselves from saying thank you when they make an offer, and instead say, “Can you please give me a minute to take my notes?” This gives the job seeker a chance to breathe and set himself up for success. After this short pause, I advise them to listen quietly to the offer before accepting it. Then I coach them on exactly what to say to get the offer or negotiate other things that matter to them.

Don’t negotiate at all

I often see fathers – especially mothers – who feel they can’t negotiate. Negotiation is cumulative, and every time you fail to negotiate, you destroy your potential for lifetime earnings. This can reduce base compensation, but also mean lost bonuses, raises, and other benefits. Not negotiating can not only hurt you financially, but it can also make you feel undervalued as an employee if you later discover that you are not getting fair compensation in relation to your co-workers. You never know what to leave on the table when you don’t even try.

Negotiate everything you want before signing the offer, this is the best time to set expectations.

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