Author Topic: job negotiation strategies for couples  (Read 2566 times)

17oclockshadow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
job negotiation strategies for couples
« on: February 15, 2015, 10:39:20 AM »
My wife and I have similar careers, making similar money.  We are paid well, but not as well as we could be paid.  It is unclear to us how much our companies needs us... in other words, we don't know what are market value is... but we know our salaries are roughly average.
We both have advanced degrees, but live in a town with limited employment opportunities.  We work for different companies, the two companies in town.  Thus, if we wanted to get other companies involved, we would need to move to a new location.  We are not entirely opposed to this, but it presents a difficulty as we would both have to land jobs in the same location.  Our end goal is to FIRE, within 10 years ideally, and if possible optimize our happiness in between now and then.  Currently our jobs are kind of mediocre; we more or less enjoy the work we do, but sometimes there is a lot of stress, our pay could be higher, and the location we currently live is a mediocre-at-best match.

So our options are:
1) to have one of us travel to the other company to try to get higher pay
2)  do 1) and then try to change to different higher paying locations within the same company; possibly moving a couple is easier under those conditions.
3)  try to apply for jobs with new company(ies) from our current positions
4)  do nothing, and put on the blinders until we hit FIRE.

I'm just curious what general strategies people might use, or what experiences they've had.

mrshudson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
Re: job negotiation strategies for couples
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 11:47:33 AM »
Are the two of you OK with working in the same company? If one of you winds up being tapped for a promotion over the other, is that going to work for the other? Two body problems are in general trickier to solve. I don't know what location you are at, but one possibility I would consider in your situation is to look not for one town, but a relatively big *metro areas*, where it's easier to find two jobs for advanced degree holders. There's definitely plenty of opportunities in North East/West Coast - even if your jobs wind up being in different parts of the metro area, public transit is aplenty making this doable. Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas are two places that I would consider simply from cost of living stand point, in addition to opportunity for two people to progress their careers.


17oclockshadow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: job negotiation strategies for couples
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 11:55:42 AM »
Are the two of you OK with working in the same company? If one of you winds up being tapped for a promotion over the other, is that going to work for the other? Two body problems are in general trickier to solve. I don't know what location you are at, but one possibility I would consider in your situation is to look not for one town, but a relatively big *metro areas*, where it's easier to find two jobs for advanced degree holders. There's definitely plenty of opportunities in North East/West Coast - even if your jobs wind up being in different parts of the metro area, public transit is aplenty making this doable. Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas are two places that I would consider simply from cost of living stand point, in addition to opportunity for two people to progress their careers.

Thanks for the response!
Company is large enough that we could probably avoid bumping into each other much; would be advantageous to live in a larger metropolitan area with more job options; problem is that are technical specialization limits us to places that are not super desirable to live.  But anyways, thinking about that option nonetheless.

aschmidt2930

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: job negotiation strategies for couples
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 11:56:02 AM »
Sounds like a bigger city is your best option, financially speaking.  If your employers are "the" two companies in town, they'll know what everyone else in the area is paying for similar roles.  The strengths of the employee in negotiations are options and a lack of knowledge by the employer on whether you're bluffing.  Large cities with strong economies definitely put more of these cards in the employees hands. 

Tyler

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
Re: job negotiation strategies for couples
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 12:00:24 PM »
I've had very good experiences with this as a couple. Larger cities often make it easier as they offer more options and backup plans, but it can still work elsewhere depending on the circumstances.

Assuming you can survive on only one income for a while (which sounds like your situation) then think of it as having twice the chance of finding a higher paying job in a more desirable city. Once one of you lands that, you can both move. Person 1 starts their fun new job while person 2 focuses on finding theirs while perhaps taking a little time off to help facilitate getting settled in the new location.

A side benefit from approaching it as a couple is that it helps in negotiation. "Man, I love this job opportunity but my wife/husband would have to quit hers/his and is pretty happy there. The offer needs to be a no-brainer."  It's also a very reasonable short explanation for person 2 to use while explaining the move and any employment gap. "My spouse got a new job here so I'm looking for one as well." 

We've done this twice with good success. The only thing I'd caution against is working in two different cities even temporarily. Approaching the move as a team can bring you closer together. Designing in too much time apart can have the opposite effect. Some things aren't worth the money.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 12:09:39 PM by Tyler »

17oclockshadow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: job negotiation strategies for couples
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2015, 02:02:22 PM »
Thanks!  I will think more about the possibility of larger metropolitan locations.

We definitely would stick together and not spend time living in seperate places... been there, done that, can only be done temporarily with light at the end of the tunnel... and I'm too old for that now :-P