procrastin8r

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Greetings! Does anyone have any advice on the etiquette of negotiating for a higher post doc salary? I am thinking: unofficial, clinically-focused post docs. That said, I would appreciate input on other types of post docs (official, research-focused, etc.). This seems to be a gap in my program's and internship's training.

(Snarky aside: the speaker in the latest prof dev training kept saying "Always ask for more money!" over and over, and provided no more details. Like, dude, I know more money is better, but should I ask for a 5% raise or a 50% raise? Do I ask the VA for a raise, cause I don't think that's gonna fly... Do I ask for better health care? funded child care? EPPP stipend? conference stipend? GIVE ME SOME SPECIFICS, DAMN IT! "Well, you should always ask for more money...")
 

PsyDr

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Negotiations 101:

1) know the market. Find comparable positions and make sure your income requirements are similar. NIH post doc pay scales is an easy one. Say they offer you $30k/ye. You can counter with, “it looks like the positions are paying more like $50. Can you meet that?”.

2) know your worth. If you’re in a place which means they can’t bill for your services, you’re a cost, not a benefit. If you can bill for services, know yourself enough to know how productive you’re gonna be. Look up CMS’ fee schedule, and find your hourly. Multiply that by the actual hours you’ll be busy, knock off 35% for expenses, and that’s the profit margin. Be honest with yourself. The best attorneys are only like 75% productive with extenders. 50% might be more realistc. Keep in mind that they want to make money off of you, and expect you to have unexpected costs including benefits, malpractice, tests you ask for, stationary, etc.

3) know how desperate you are for the job. If you have no other options, you’re gonna have to take what they want to give. If you have mukltlle offers, you can say “C offered me $50, can you beat this?”.

4) there are nonmonetary things you can negotiate for: working form home one day a month, casual clothes on days with no patients, an extra week of vacation, etc.
 
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erg923

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Greetings! Does anyone have any advice on the etiquette of negotiating for a higher post doc salary? I am thinking: unofficial, clinically-focused post docs. That said, I would appreciate input on other types of post docs (official, research-focused, etc.). This seems to be a gap in my program's and internship's training.

(Snarky aside: the speaker in the latest prof dev training kept saying "Always ask for more money!" over and over, and provided no more details. Like, dude, I know more money is better, but should I ask for a 5% raise or a 50% raise? Do I ask the VA for a raise, cause I don't think that's gonna fly... Do I ask for better health care? funded child care? EPPP stipend? conference stipend? GIVE ME SOME SPECIFICS, DAMN IT! "Well, you should always ask for more money...")

Depends.

You can't really negotiate the health benefits at a VA, for example.

Your requests should be backed by....something.

It, ideally, should be more of a convo rather than a set of listed requests unless you put your requests out at the outset of the interview/offer. That is, unless, you have multiple other offers on the table.

If this is not a rigorous org (or the VA)...I would suggest a work from home day in order to catch up on clinical notes, admin, chart review, etc.
 
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WisNeuro

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You can always ask, but at the postdoc level, you have little leverage. At many places, the salary and benefits are set. You can always try, but I wouldn't expect much. Once you're done with postdoc, as long as you're not a the VA, you can negotiate away. PSYDR has some good hints. Another one would be, interview at several places in an area if you can, even if some are slightly less desirable than others. It always helps if you have multiple job offers to leverage. And, you have to decide what your walk point is.
 
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This is how I thought about it. First, the most important thing about a postdoc is to get the supervised hours needed for licensure. Second, getting solid experience that fits with my career direction. Third, getting paid within the realm of what is typical for a post-doc position in the area. I didn't negotiate the salary at my post-doc because all three of these conditions were met. I actually didn't negotiate until my second job as a licensed psychologist. As I am looking toward my next position, I have already started the search and negotiations a year to a year and a half ahead of when I am ready to move. The further we go in this career, the stronger our negotiating stance because I don't have to take what they are offering as I am doing pretty well right now. Post-doc? Whole different story. I needed them more than they needed me.
 
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procrastin8r

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! A lot to think about. I didn't negotiate away, but talked things through with HR in a confident, rather than pleading tone =P
 
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Money is not the end unless you care about your profession and add value. Consider what if the people from whom you are demanding payment, would start talking about money as your weakness. On the other hand, if you discount money but instead build a personal brand, where you care for people and are authentic. You would also get more money as a by-product.
 
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WisNeuro

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But seriously though, once you get to a full-time position after postdoc, negotiate away. Places will lowball you because they know most people will accept it without negotiating. I guarantee you that health system HR departments could give an f about you being authenitic. They're not going to float you an extra 10k a year based on how much they think you care.
 
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foreverbull

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But seriously though, once you get to a full-time position after postdoc, negotiate away. Places will lowball you because they know most people will accept it without negotiating. I guarantee you that health system HR departments could give an f about you being authenitic. They're not going to float you an extra 10k a year based on how much they think you care.

Very true. Postdoc is the last job in which you have little power to negotiate. After that, most employers will offer you lower than what you're worth to see if you'll bite. Absolutely negotiate when you're licensed.
In an ideal world your hard work would be rewarded just because, but this isn't an ideal world. No one will reward you for being cheery, competent, and productive; they'll just use that as your baseline and expect more. And if they can save a buck or two because you didn't ask for it, even better.

I will say though, with adjunct teaching, there's less room to no room for negotiation, at least where I'm at. To avoid unfairness, some schools give you a pay grade 100% based on educational attainment and exact years of work experience/teaching experience in a very cut-and-dry system so that you can't negotiate your way up in pay. I suppose it's fair, but already such a low rate of pay for a psychologist that a lack of ability to negotiate is frustrating.
 
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msc545

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You can negotiate, but don't negotiate your way out of the job. If you have student debt, you can get a lot of it paid off by working at the VA or in some prison systems (prisons are not so bad). Working for community mental health agencies is low pay, no debt paydown, and generally sucks. Recommend you try the VA first. You have no license as yet, and are in no position to demand much money. $25 to $35 per hour is about right.
 

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