Author Topic: Offered a 50K job in Boston fresh out of college. Initial attempts to negotiate  (Read 2916 times)

foothills23

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Me:
-Fresh college grad
-Humanities major
-No significant work experience (mostly summer internships)
-Elite college

The job:
-Business role
-50K base, excellent medical/dental benefits, and other decent benefits such as 401K matching
-Potential 14% bonus on base dependent on performance

The location:
-In Boston
-Regular commutes to neighboring states

What expenses I will have to incur:
-Purchase of a car
-Move to Boston from across the country
-High COL in Boston


Based on initial conversion, I was told the job would come with a 6K signing bonus, so the first year salary will come out to 56K, and may break into the lower 60s if bonus comes through (although I'll assume, just to be safe, that there will be no bonus).

I tried to negotiate a bit during the phone call offering me the job, but the HR person said that they cannot budge on the salary because a cohort of recent grads will be entering in the same position and the company does not want any pay differentials.

My biggest concern right now is the high COL in Boston, and the fact that this job will have me driving around quite a bit. Gas, and the cost of a car will eat up quite a bit of change. On the other hand, I have only about 10K in student loans, and I am a single person. I don't expect to live a lavish lifestyle either.

Should I take the job as is, or push my luck and try to negotiate higher? I don't know what leverage I have in negotiations as I have no work experience and am a fresh college grad. But I also went to an elite school, am an excellent analytical thinker, and I have a feeling they'd really like me to join this company. Any thoughts? Also, is anyone in particular familiar with the COl situation in Boston?

 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 11:40:51 PM by foothills23 »

Cranky

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Most of the young people I know in Boston live in shared apartments, as rent is quite high.

Can you ask for moving costs? I wouldn’t move a whole lot of stuff, though.

westtoeast

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Sounds like a decent situation! I'd second the comment about roommates. 1 bedroom apartments are ridiculous here. If you are willing to share a house with others you will be able to save a good amount of money on a 60K salary. Plus, roommates are a great way to make friends in Boston when you are right out of school! Feel free to PM if you'd like advice on neighborhoods :)

Driving in Boston is not the most fun. You'll want to think about whether you will be driving north or south more often when you choose an apartment, because living on the wrong side of the city can add a lot of time to your commute.

Hirondelle

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I can agree on the shared living arrangements. Best you'd find a place with parking included, but close enough to walk/bike to work (the city is very bikeable!).

For COL comparison; I managed to survive on $1000 for living (+$200 travel, exchange student so seeing the country). Rent $800 (only 1 flatmate), groceries $100 and another $100 for extras like sports, phone, occasional bus ride, going out etc. 60k should give you plenty of space to save :)

chasesfish

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How much will you be driving?  They probably pay a mileage reimbursement.

My first job was really low paying, but I got a nice per-mile reimbursement and was driving a four-cylinder car 25,000 miles per year for work.  That was an $800-$900/mo supplement and my direct car costs were closer to $350/mo.

I wouldn't be short-sighted and take the job offer.  Its in sales, you'll be rewarded directly based on the revenue you produce.  You should also develop a professional network as quickly as possible through this job.

sokoloff

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Exactly. Find out if they pay miles at the “IRS” (really, GSA) rate. If they do, you’re in good shape.

This won’t be for your regular commute into your regular office, but many companies pay it fo any other required business driving in your personal car. If you have any kind of paid off used car, you’ll bank money for this extra driving.

We don’t negotiate salaries of fresh college grads unless they are a standout candidate AND they have a competing offer. It’s just not worth the drama, so I believe HR in this regard.

bop

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Where in Boston is your job located?

Dave1442397

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The across-the-board salary is pretty common. When I started my job in 1990 there were 25 of us in the training class. We all started at $27,500. A couple of months later, the next intake started at $29,000. We tried to get our pay bumped up, but they wouldn't even consider it.

In your case, I'd be more concerned with gaining experience and points to add to your resume than starting salary. You may not be there more than a few years anyway.

ariapluscat

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Fellow youth in boston
you might ask if the locations you travel to are accessible via commuter rail and/or train via south station. they may not be.

Car Jack

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If you're travelling in your own car for work, they're going to pay you the IRS rate, which is something like 55 cents a mile.  Buy a Honda FIT and get a million miles a gallon and make bank on the miles you drive.

I have to say that $50k for a humanities major is really impressive.  You must have wow'd them at the interview.  Be thankful you found something that seems to be a career rather than just a dead end job. 

(I'm 25 miles west of Boston and my wife worked at Mass General and Beth Israel for years)

Get an apartment west of the city with room mates and have fun being in Boston.

Snowman99

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Congratulations on the job and welcome to Boston.

It would help to know "where" in Boston your job will be.

It would also help to know if your work will be reimbursing you for your driving (they should be) and how often you will need your car.

The short answer about Boston is that it is very expensive and not a very good city to drive in.  For driving, it more or less takes 45 minutes to get anywhere regardless of where it is, even right down the road. 

Some public transportation is very good.  Others can be awful.

The good news is that Boston is a very good "walkable" city, but again it really depends on where in "Boston" your job will be.

BuildingmyFIRE

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Congratulations on the job offer! 

You are highly unlikely to get the employer to budge on the salary.  Not only are you entry level in a town full of highly educated recent grads, but Mass recently passed a pay equity law and many employers are in the process of doing salary audits and squaring up salaries.  That means any extra money for salary is likely already allocated to a pay raise for someone higher up the food chain, and men and women of comparable experience, doing comparable work (i.e., you and your peers), must be paid the same.  I would stop trying to negotiate at this point if you're part of a cluster.

Agreed with the others that suggested you find out where you are most likely to travel to, north, south, or into the city.  There are a ton of apartments going up right now around Alewife Station as well as within the city itself.  If you're going to be doing a lot of driving, I would recommend living on the edge of the city near a major highway like Route 2, 93, or 95.  Avoid driving into the city as much as possible and take the T or commuter rail instead.  You might think about coming out and visiting for a bit before deciding where to live, as different parts of the city are VERY different.  I suspect you will love Boston though.  It's a great town.  A piece of advice:  buy some quality commuter shoes -- you'll need them.  :)


McStache

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I wouldn't push the salary any more, but I would ask about relocation (either lump sum or reimbursement) since you have a ways to move.  That's often under a different budget/policy than salary/signing bonus.

I lived in Boston for quite a few years very comfortably on about $20K a year (while earning well north of that).  Definitely get a place with roommates, and be careful of parking.  Parking in the city and surrounding towns can be brutal, and the situation can change from block to block, so just make sure that you keep that in mind since you'll be driving a lot.

chasesfish

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If you're travelling in your own car for work, they're going to pay you the IRS rate, which is something like 55 cents a mile.  Buy a Honda FIT and get a million miles a gallon and make bank on the miles you drive.

I have to say that $50k for a humanities major is really impressive.  You must have wow'd them at the interview.  Be thankful you found something that seems to be a career rather than just a dead end job. 

(I'm 25 miles west of Boston and my wife worked at Mass General and Beth Israel for years)

Get an apartment west of the city with room mates and have fun being in Boston.

I wouldn't assume the IRS rate, I've only earned ~70% of the IRS rate for the 15 years with my company. 

alanB

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If you're travelling in your own car for work, they're going to pay you the IRS rate, which is something like 55 cents a mile.  Buy a Honda FIT and get a million miles a gallon and make bank on the miles you drive.

I have to say that $50k for a humanities major is really impressive.  You must have wow'd them at the interview.  Be thankful you found something that seems to be a career rather than just a dead end job. 

(I'm 25 miles west of Boston and my wife worked at Mass General and Beth Israel for years)

Get an apartment west of the city with room mates and have fun being in Boston.

I wouldn't assume the IRS rate, I've only earned ~70% of the IRS rate for the 15 years with my company.

Do you itemize?  I believe you can deduct the excess of the standard rate minus the amount they reimbursed.  Kind of a moot point since most people will probably not itemize going forward...

Penelope Vandergast

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Congratulations! That's a great salary for a first job, especially with a humanities major.

As many people have said, where is the job located? That can affect your housing costs a lot. And what do you like to do in your free time?

Don't live anywhere near the waterfront, as sea level rise caused by climate change has already started having dramatic effects during storms (two recent winter storms had some of the highest tides ever recorded and whole areas were flooded, cars then frozen in ice, etc.). That will only get worse in coming years.

And check out universalhub.com...

civil4life

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I would agree with others.  Entry level with a humanities degree and $50k sounds really great.  I started 9 years ago as an engineer at $50k.

I would see if you maybe able to get other perks...relocation reimbursement, more vacation, teleworking, etc.

I would definitely get the details on reimbursement for work mileage and any other travel expenses.

Be sure to keep track of your contributions and successes.  Everyone maybe starting at the same salary, but showing your worth over time can be just as important to continue to increase your salary.

Also, check out 2birds1stones journal.  He started in sales at very low salary and in short measure was making six figures in a short time.

rws

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Is it a sales job? Will you get a commission on top of ypur salary? If not it sounds like a good opportunity to build your resume / decide if you like sales and then move into a higher  paying job. Sales can be very lucrative if you are good at it, and there are lots of opportunities out there.

ariapluscat

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another thought as you're trying to figure out housing costs: if you're a recent college grad, check to see if any peers (or friends of friends) from your college are also moving to boston. i've found fb groups for particular colleges (eg mit for cambridge, harvard for boston, wpi for worcester) to be more helpful for this than craigslist.  most ppl do have roommates since i'd say rent is the most expensive part of hcol in boston, and its hard to screen roommates from out of state. always do a background check, including criminal.

edited for wooster 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 08:26:17 AM by ariapluscat »

Car Jack

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another thought as you're trying to figure out housing costs: if you're a recent college grad, check to see if any peers (or friends of friends) from your college are also moving to boston. i've found fb groups for particular colleges (eg mit for cambridge, harvard for boston, wpi for worchester) to be more helpful for this than craigslist.  most ppl do have roommates since i'd say rent is the most expensive part of hcol in boston, and its hard to screen roommates from out of state. always do a background check, including criminal.

I have to chuckle.  It's Worcester, like the city in England.  Slogan of the city at one time was: "It's the second largest city east of the Mississippi, not on a navigable body of water".  Just rolls off your tongue, right?   (WPI grad with a son at WPI and inlaw still living Worcester)

ariapluscat

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another thought as you're trying to figure out housing costs: if you're a recent college grad, check to see if any peers (or friends of friends) from your college are also moving to boston. i've found fb groups for particular colleges (eg mit for cambridge, harvard for boston, wpi for worchester) to be more helpful for this than craigslist.  most ppl do have roommates since i'd say rent is the most expensive part of hcol in boston, and its hard to screen roommates from out of state. always do a background check, including criminal.

I have to chuckle.  It's Worcester, like the city in England.  Slogan of the city at one time was: "It's the second largest city east of the Mississippi, not on a navigable body of water".  Just rolls off your tongue, right?   (WPI grad with a son at WPI and inlaw still living Worcester)

and said wooster, so really do most of the letters in the middle matter? lol