By taking jobs, parents are leaving benefits behind, says expert

By taking jobs, parents are leaving benefits behind, says expert
  • Alison Taffel Rabinowitz is a negotiation coach and founder of The Finishing School.
  • She has helped negotiate around half a million dollars in raises over the course of her career.
  • This is the story of Rabinowtiz, told to Lauren Finney.

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

I am a trading coach. I help people by training them and providing the scripts they need to command the best compensation package you can negotiate with your current or potential employer. I cover career mindset, career narrative 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 what 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 I helped get a $100,000 raise at a career pivot where she was very poorly paid in her previous role.

I also help by brainstorming benefits: think delays start going on vacation, bonus packages, reviews to get raises sooner, equity, flexible work hours, and change fees, to name a few. My best “get” for my clients is trust. I help them reach their full earning potential, and nothing excites me more than seeing a customer move beyond the fear of asking to recognize and celebrate – and get – their value.

Here are some of the mistakes I see parents make.

not asking for enough money

Mothers are especially to blame for being less confident when re-entering the workforce. I believe many mothers underestimate their newly honed multitasking ability and worry that potential employers will judge them for perceived weaknesses, such as balancing work and parenting or keeping up with childless employees.

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

Do not negotiate other benefits

I also see people neglecting to negotiate other benefits, such as potential future parental leave, paid time off, or other benefits. While you can’t negotiate the FMLA, or sick and family leave – you need to qualify for it – you can negotiate extended paid or unpaid leave in addition to the FMLA and negotiate things like splitting 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 that is negotiable.

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

Not leaving out the emotion

You have to remember that this is a business transaction. Treat him as such. I tell my clients to avoid thanking them when they get an offer and instead say, “Could you give me a minute to take my notes?” This gives the job seeker a chance to breathe and prepare for success. After this brief pause, I advise you to listen calmly to the offer before accepting it. Then I coach them on exactly what to say to get the offer or negotiate other things that are important to them.

not trading anything

I often see fathers – especially mothers – who feel they can’t negotiate. Trading is cumulative, and every time you fail to trade, you jeopardize your lifetime earning potential. This can result in lower base pay, but it also means missing out on bonuses, raises and other benefits. Not negotiating can not only hurt you financially, it can also make you feel unappreciated as an employee if you later discover that you are not being compensated fairly compared to your co-workers. You don’t know what you’re leaving on the table when you don’t even try.

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

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