Should you negotiate your dream job offer?

Finding the right job is like finding the right date: it’s no fun to be without one, but it’s better than being with the wrong one.

This is the conundrum Rachel faced after joining us at Bossed Up Bootcamp. She launched her job search as the close of her year-long AmeriCorps VISTA program approached.

A deliberate job search

Rachel wanted to be deliberate about her next step, so she reached out to her networks about positions that might be a good fit. Before she knew it, Rachel was weighing an offer from her former colleagues at an organization she’d worked in during college.

Thrilled to have a solid option on the table only a few months away from unemployment, it seemed like the natural thing to do would be to accept the job. After all, she enjoyed her prior time working there, knew the organization inside and out, and felt qualified for the position.

There was just one problem: “It hit me when I got the offer that I wasn’t excited about it,” said Rachel. The territory was familiar. Comfortable. Safe. Most importantly, she didn’t see herself growing in the position.

And to be clear: it’s not like Rachel had much wiggle room at the time. A year of service with AmeriCorps involves living off public assistance and a stipend less than minimum wage. She needed a paycheck to come in after her program ended – stat.

So when she turned it down, Rachel was struck with a surreal feeling. It was scary, she admits, but, “I knew I needed to think about what’s moving me forward, not just keeping me going.”

Sometimes finding the right job means having the courage to leave others on the table.

Weeks passed. She started to question whether or not she’d done the right thing. And that’s when she came across her dream position at a nonprofit she admired so much that she’d been following them for years.

“This was the kind of job I dreamed I’d be in 5 years from now,” says Rachel, who applied despite knowing she would be the youngest person on staff.

After nailing her interviews, a job offer came through! At that point, Rachel was faced with another choice moment: did she dare to attempt to negotiate her dream job offer?

She knew she owed it to herself to give it her best attempt, but was so dreading the conversation that she used a lifeline. She put out a call for help in our Bossed Up Courage Community on Facebook and connected with Gray (who has her own incredible negotiation story!)

With Gray as a her sounding board, Rachel had the encouragement she needed to call back and counter the initial offer. The woman on the other end of the line said that it was highly unlikely to happen but that she would see what they could do. Rachel hung up and waited 90 unbearable minutes, worried about having said the wrong thing. Finally, the phone rang: they met her in the middle!

A few months in, Rachel says of the new gig, “I love it. Every moment of it!”

Negotiating is always scary – especially when you know it’s the right job for you.

Courage for Rachel came from knowing the data-driven factors behind her options and the invaluable human element of having a community of like-minded bosses to turn to for advice.

“I love how much research you have behind everything you’re teaching,” says Rachel of Bossed Up’s programs, “I walked away with a community I can turn to again and again.”

We couldn’t be happier for Rachel and cannot wait to hear about the fantastic work that lays ahead of her.

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