I'm a negotiation coach. Here's what I see parents leave on the table all the time when accepting new jobs.

·3 min read
Alison Taffel Rabinowitz headshot
Courtesy of Alison Taffel Rabinowitz
  • Alison Taffel Rabinowitz is a negotiation coach and founder of The Finishing School.

  • She's helped negotiate about half a million dollars in raises over her career.

  • This is Rabinowtiz's story, as told to Lauren Finney.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Alison Taffel Rabinowitz. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I'm a negotiation coach. I help people by coaching them and providing the scripts needed to command the best compensation package you can negotiate with your current or prospective employer. I cover career mindset, career storytelling, and scripts of what to 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 they are originally offered. But the wins can be more significant, especially if you were underpaid in a previous role. My biggest win to date was a client who I helped get a $100,000 raise in a career pivot where she was severely underpaid in the previous role.

I also help by brainstorming benefits: Think delayed starts to go on vacations, bonus packages, reviews to get raises earlier, equity, flexible work schedules, and moving fees, to name a few. My best "get" for my clients is confidence. I help them reach their full earning potential, and nothing excites me more than seeing a client go from being scared of asking to recognizing and celebrating — and getting — their worth.

Here are some of the mistakes I see parents making.

Not asking for enough money

Moms are especially guilty of being less confident when reentering the workforce. I believe many moms undervalue their newly honed skill of multitasking and worry prospective 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 "parenthood 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 like potential future parental leave, paid time off, or other benefits. While you cannot negotiate FMLA, or family and medical leave — you have to qualify for it — you can negotiate extended paid or unpaid leave beyond FMLA and negotiate things like splitting up your leave when it comes time to take it.

You can also negotiate your work environment. The pandemic changed everything; many companies are incredibly open to hybrid or remote work in this new world, and it's negotiable.

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

Not leaving emotion out of it 

You have to remember that this is a business transaction. Treat it as such. I tell my clients to stop themselves from saying thank you when given an offer and instead say, "Could you please give me a minute to take out my notes?" This gives the job seeker a chance to breathe and set themselves up for success. After this brief pause, I advise them to calmly listen to the offer before accepting it. Then I coach them on exactly what to say to get the offer up or negotiate other things that are important to them.

Not negotiating at all 

I often see parents — particularly mothers — who feel like they can't negotiate. Negotiation is cumulative, and every time you fail to negotiate, you damage your lifelong-earning potential. This can result in making less in base compensation, but it also means missing out on bonuses, raises, and other benefits. Not negotiating can not only set you back financially, it can also make you feel undervalued as an employee if you find out later you are not compensated fairly in relation to your coworkers. You don't know what you're leaving on the table when you don't even try.

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

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