With graduation quickly approaching, the next generation of ODs is preparing to land their first jobs. What they’re not doing? Only 38% of new grads negotiate their first job offer, and worse, only 7% of women do. When research shows us that just $5k of salary can equate to $1 million in lifetime earning differential, negotiating for even a small pay raise or benefits can make a huge difference over a career. We sat down with a Dr. Mark Phebus, an optometrist and entrepreneur offering consulting services for contract negotiations at 2020 Consulting. To get started on a successful negotiation, he recommends:
- Commit to doing it! In his experience, 100% of the negotiations he’s helped clients navigate have gotten at least some gains. It’s always worth doing.
- Use the right language. Dr. Phebus describes negotiation language as a “compliment sandwich.” Make sure your employer knows you want the job, and comes away wanting to work with you.
- Focus on how you add value. Simply asking for money because you want more provides very little reason for the employer to agree. Instead, focus on how you can grow and add value to their practice that’s worth the additional compensation being requested. For example, Dr. Phebus recommends asking for production bonus options that incentivize you for making more money for your employer, and professional development or CE days for you to grow your skill set as a way to improve PTO days.
- Seek help. Whether you ask a professional, a colleague, or even friends and family, it’s good to get a second eye on your proposal. Talking about fair benefits and salary with colleagues can be difficult; we’ve always been trained to think asking about income was rude. But normalizing these discussions can help us understand our worth and become better negotiators. Professional consultants like Dr. Phebus have seen hundreds of contracts, and can help you determine what’s fair, normal, or a straight deal breaker. You can get in touch with Dr. Phebus at http://www.2020consultingod.com/.
Want more negotiating help? Dr. Lyerly’s articles about negotiating strategies for female ODs take on the wage gap in optometry!
- Closing the Wage Gap (link http://www.eyedolatryblog.com/2016/04/women-in-focus-how-we-can-close-salary.html
- Negotiation Strategies (link http://www.eyedolatryblog.com/2016/04/women-in-focus-negotiating-salary.html)