Lowball Job Offers

Personally, I hate job hunting. It’s a demoralizing process where you question your skills and your worth. Even if you do all the right things when you lose your job, you question whether or not you are worth what you thought.

Then you go through the process of multiple interviews, preparation, wow the employer you want to work for… and get a lowball offer. At least that is what just happened to me. I made it through multiple rounds of interviews for a position only to be offered less than I was making at my last full time job. It was an incredible lowball offer that actually shocked me into silence when I got the phone call.

Apparently companies engage in this awesome low-ball salary offer because they can. It’s never happened to me before so I didn’t really even consider it happening. I’ve always worked for small businesses where the employers wanted to take care of their employees. This salary offer left me completely flabbergasted!

From the company’s position I see there side. They might offer less to start but treat employees well and eventually offer them more and room for growth. It’s sort of a proving ground where new employees have to prove their worth within the company. And if they are a smaller company and they’ve been burned by employees before, then it definitely makes sense that they would start new employees this way.

However, I tried to stay calm when I received the offer. I said I’d think about it. I was also told by two different employees that this offer was firm and that shocked me more than anything. A lowball offer and being told it was firm? That didn’t sound very promising. Ultimately I countered with a smaller number than I originally wanted but that was on par with what I made before. While it’s not thrilling to me, it is a number I can and did live with and the job also offers additional benefits. I’m waiting to see what they say to that number.

I wanted to immediately dismiss this company for even offering such a low number, but I did not dismiss it immediately. I will not do that when they counter back either. It’s always best to take a day or two to consider the offer, or at least to let the company think you are doing so.

While I haven’t had a low salary offer before, I know that there are a few things to consider. Right now I’m asking myself the following questions:

  • Is this a career opportunity so great that it’s worth taking a step backward in the beginning to go forward later?
  • Will there be any effect on my professional brand on taking a salary cut?
  • Am I allowed to say no to an offer while on unemployment?
  • Will there be room for raises and bonuses later once I’ve “proven” myself on the job?
  • Are there other, better career opportunities developing in the job search that may come to fruition?
  • Will I be able to work there without feelings of resentment?

There are a lot of things to consider but unfortunately I don’t have answers to all of those questions. I don’t know what the employer plans for the future or how things will shake out. I’ll have to think about these questions over the weekend and come up with an informed decision about the job offer. While it’s tempting to make rash decisions, I need to spend the time to consider all the sides of this opportunity.

While I do need to find a position, I also know I need to find the right position! I also need to review my career aspirations and decide what I want to do for the next 20-30 years. Or at least for the next 5. ;)

Have you received lowball job offers before? What did you do? Did your negotiations work in your favor?

Or have you ever taken a job below your desired salary range? Was the move worth it? 

Christmas Gifts List Time

Currently the question I’m getting the most often is “What do you want for Christmas?”

The first few times I heard the question my answer was nothing or I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about Christmas gifts because I usually don’t receive many and I’m not in a mindset for spending right now. I’m on a spending freeze because of my unemployment status and I’ve reevaluated my wants and needs so that I know what I need to spend money on and what I don’t. I’m focused on enjoying cheap weekends and doing fun things instead of spending money. Because of this I’ve been avoiding stores and not thinking about things I want to buy.

However, after being asked for a list of things I wanted multiple times, I started to make my Christmas wish list this week.

It was all too easy to start making a list for myself of things I wanted. 

At first I struggled to come up with a few items. Then I realized I wasn’t hurting my own budget or anyone else’s to add items to a Christmas list. They could choose to purchase whatever they wanted based on their own budget. I realized that adding stuff to a list of wants made me feel better and gave me a similar thrill to shopping anyway. It became fun and made me realize why so many people like window shopping and online shopping.

Making Christmas gift list is fun!

I’ve made a list for myself and I’ve made a list of gifts I want to buy other people. It turns out that the window shopping for myself bled into making lists for other people as well. While those lists are more realistic and based on my Christmas gift spending budget, it was just as fun to find items I think my loved ones would enjoy.

Now that the lists are all made it’s time to start scouting for deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both coming up so there might be a bit of a frenzy on my part during those times to get the best deals possible on items requested. Hopefully you are getting a jump on your Christmas gift list making and buying too!

Things You Have Heard Non Personal Finance Savvy People Say

As we all know, there are a lot of people out there that know nothing about personal finance. Once you’ve educated yourself to the basics of personal finance it can be frustrating to talk with these people. People who don’t know much about personal finance can spread completely false ideas and theories as fact… and other people listen to them!

A post on Reddit just covered this topic with some amazing and humorous responses. As jamison3659 the explained:

I hear a lot of false ideas when discussing personal finance with co-workers. Feel free to share things you have heard and include a short explanation of the flawed logic if necessary.

Here are some of my personal favorites from the thread along with my thoughts and responses:

My seventeen year old friend earning $17K per year should not start a second night job due to the high level of tax he would be liable for which would be higher than the extra money earned. – Kreigertron

People really, really don’t understand how tax works most of the time. Only the amount over a certain tax bracket level is taxed more, so when you get a bump in income you won’t ever be making less than you were before!

 

My SO’s dad told me “You should carry a balance on your credit card because it will help your score.” So. Awkward. Didn’t want to correct him, so I just smiled and nodded. – qwicksilfer

Not quite! Using a credit card can help that score but keeping a balance will just cost you money. Pay off your credit card balance every month. If you plan on getting a loan or needing credit you should learn how to improve your credit score but be smart about it!

“But if I buy two or more, I save X dollars!!” on items that are a ripoff and they need zero to live.  – cpa_brah

This one drives me crazy because I actually hear it a lot in my personal life. If you buy something to “save” money you really are just spending. Buying something on sale that you don’t need is a waste.

“It only costs 20 euros!”  (per month, forever… for a phone that costs 200 euros if you buy it outright). – Voerendaalse

I see this all the time with people spending $20 or $50 here and there for cell phones, tvs, couches, etc. that would have been much cheaper if they had bought them outright upfront with a bit more money. The math doesn’t work at all but too many people get focused on just what they can afford per month. I remember when I got my iphone most recently for $1 (woot) but read the plans to pay as you go for the newer cell phones – it was frightening.

Im 24, my coworker is 48. I was saying that im saving up for a new motorcycle in the near future. He says “you know you can borrow from your 401K, right?”

Me:uh, yeah, but why would i?

Him: because you can borrow and get what you want.

Me: its a really bad idea to do so.

Him: i do it all the time! Its not a big deal.

Me: yes, yes it is! – Zed_six

Yikes, I’m totally worried for that guy’s coworker. A few friends have taken loans from their 401ks to cover big expenses in our 20s and it’s so much trouble to pay it back. People, let’s just save up for things, ok? Who wants to be in their 50s or 60s trying to repay loans for a 401k? Not me!

“I don’t need to start investing because I don’t make that much money” – jckrn

No! No! Start now! It adds up! It compounds! Investing is amazing! Even if you have a small amount of money you can start saving especially for retirement. You can open a Scottrade account for a IRA and get saving right now. You don’t have to make a ton of money, I promise.

There are a ton of these cringe worthy tales in the thread on Reddit so go read it and chime in there or in the comments here about the things you hear from non-money-savvy people.