How much can you really negotiate your next job offer? What if I told you, you could double your salary?
I'm joined by salary negotiations expert Dorothy Mashburn, a maestro in the art of commanding your worth. In a world where discussing money can be taboo, we strip away the discomfort and provide you with the strategies and confidence to ask for more.
This episode isn't just about getting a bigger paycheck—it's about understanding the psychology of self-worth and breaking through the barriers that have kept you from reaching your financial potential. Dorothy, with her extensive experience, shines a light on the common fears that hold back even the most seasoned professionals and helps us navigate these mental roadblocks with grace and assertiveness.
In this episode, you'll learn:
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Finally, Dorothy and I share insights into the long game. From untapped budgets to flexible work options, we'll show you how to craft a compensation package that reflects your true professional worth.
Here's how to connect with Dorothy Mashburn:
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While the last episode focused on what to do if you're unemployed in 2024, this episode is all about negotiating your next job offer. You've navigated every step of the interview process and are now waiting for that offer. And when it arrives, you know the company wants you. And then you take a look at the compensation package and you either aren't thrilled with what's there or you believe you can ask for more. But how do you do it? In this episode, I am joined by salary negotiations expert Dorothy Mashburn. We will help you get over your fear of asking too much or being perceived as greedy, to help you love the job you are going to get while being proud of yourself for negotiating your best job offer. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, welcome back to the mid-career GPS podcast. I'm your host, john Neral. I help mid-career professionals find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. Today's guest is top interview and salary negotiations coach, dorothy Mashburn. Dorothy helps professionals double their compensation by teaching you how to think big, get confidence and stand up for your worth. Dorothy is the host of the salary negotiations made simple podcast and joins me to share strategies to help you navigate your next job offer. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dorothy Mashburn. Dorothy, I am so excited to have this conversation today. Happy New Year.Dorothy Mashburn:
Happy New Year, John. Thank you for having me in the studio today.John Neral:
Wonderful to have you here. So, dorothy, we're going to talk a little bit today about pay raises and salary negotiations and compensations, but before we get all into that, I'd love for you to share with us what was your mid-career moment that dramatically shaped the way your career is today.Dorothy Mashburn:
So my mid-career moment, I would say. I mentored a lot of younger, inexperienced people coming in through the ranks and I was mentoring them ad hoc as somebody reached out. But around mid-career I felt that I needed to be more formal about it, because I noticed that there was a trend. A lot of people were saying things like I want to go after that promotion but I don't know if I deserve it. I want to get a pay raise, but I don't know if I deserve it. I want to talk to the president of our company but I'm not sure if I have anything worthwhile to say. And that really made me sad, if you will, because we teach a lot about finance and marketing and accounting and I feel like over the years I've mastered it. But what people don't have is a way to navigate their careers, to feel confident, and so I really formalized that in my job, that I had a formalized mentorship program where people could reach out and link with me, and then, of course, that led to the business later on. But that was my defining moment.John Neral:
So what you shared. There is such a common thought or limiting belief for mid-career professionals where they'll say I don't know if I have anything to add or do I deserve it. And I'm curious from your work when you help people, especially around negotiating their compensation, what is the biggest hurdle you find that you have to help them through In order to believe they are truly worth what they're asking for?Dorothy Mashburn:
Yeah, the biggest thing I would say is the fear of people thinking that people are greedy, people thinking that you are greedy. One thing people don't realize is that even when we try to achieve high, we don't go high enough. So there is an outer bound to our potential, whether we ask for more or we try to do more, so we never reach when we try to do it on our own. That outer bound is so far away from our reach. So people don't realize that. So if they're asking for $50,000 more, they will self-correct and ask for $10,000 more, but technically they could have probably gone up to $80,000 more, with another person helping them or someone else negotiating on their behalf. But they never get to that number and in fact, even when they go high, they tend to negotiate against themselves and club it down. So trying to get over that fear is a big one that I help a lot of my clients through.John Neral:
How would somebody enlist the help of someone like you in a negotiations process? When they've got the job offer, they've got the welcome packet, they see the number in front of them. Are they reaching out to you then for assistance, or is it before that?Dorothy Mashburn:
And technically, a negotiation is more of a whole strategy. So if you're building a building, you're going to lay the foundation first, you're going to have the pillars and the frame and then you start doing everything else. So full on negotiation, where you can double or triple your salary, is something where you build from ground up and you put all of the pieces in your favor, and that's what negotiation gives you the maximum leverage. However, there are a lot of clients who are needing help at the last moments, like the 48 hour period, and at that point what we do is review a lot of what is it that client really wants in their life? Is it purely of money, and that's completely fine. Is it more flexibility with their family, and that's fine too. So all of those things will actually determine. But we do a 48 hour review and we go into like, what are your trades and how do we maximize this package by doing the trades with this company, and that's how you can, in the last minute, get more money.John Neral:
So I'm gonna jump to a question I was gonna ask you later on, but I'm just gonna go ahead and ask you right now. There are some job seekers who often worry or are fearful that once they start negotiating, their job offer is going to be rescinded. But they may be perceived, as to your point, greedy or asking for too much or even being quote unquote difficult. What advice would you give to somebody listening today who is fearful that if they ask for what they want in the negotiations process, or they ask for one more thing that they're worried they're going to lose the job offer and essentially be back to square one?Dorothy Mashburn:
This is a question that a lot of people ask and I have to remind people that in my 20 years of doing this work, it has happened once and I'll give you why. But it has never happened as long as you ask professionally and you have integrity during the ask. So here's what. So if you say I love this company, I would love to be part of this and impact. However, the market's average is at 250,000 and we need to find a way to get me there. So that's a very different conversation to because now you're putting both of you in a conversational problem solving situation. However, if you say, oh yeah, I love this 200,000 and two days later and you go back oh, I changed my mind, I want to be at 250,000. Now that is when somebody will question your integrity or someone will question whether you are a truly stable professional if you will. So that's where the concerns. It's not a concern if you ask. It's a concern of how you ask and in what way you show up as a professional with integrity. Now, the person that one time it has happened is they put their ass in an email and they wrote a novel pretty much in the email and that got circulated around the various executive leadership, and one of the stakeholders raised the concern that this person may not be a right fit in the culture. And so there's just and this only happened once in 20 years, but there's very, very slim chances that a job offer gets rescinded.John Neral:
Thank you for sharing those examples and my takeaway from that is be very intentional about what you say in this entire process, because once you put it out there, be it verbally or in writing, they're going to have a thought and a feeling and reaction to it and to your point. If you're not negotiating with integrity or you say, oh, maybe I could just get a little bit more, and you go back and do that ask, that essentially can put you in some kind of jeopardy for the position.Dorothy Mashburn:
Absolutely, absolutely, and don't get me wrong right, you can still in negotiation parlance enable so. Say you ask for 250 and they come back at 220 and their prescribed vacation schedule is only three weeks. So you could at that point say, hey, I really wanted 250, but I know budgets are a problem, so I can accept 220 if we make the vacation five weeks. So you can nibble and get more for yourself, and you absolutely should. That's how you make your compensation package bigger. But you have to do it in the right way so it doesn't come across as being dishonest or trying to, put you know, pull wool over their eyes.John Neral:
So, when you think about those other things that you can negotiate for in an overall compensation package, how much are you still seeing signing bonuses in today's market?Dorothy Mashburn:
Signing bonuses if they want you. It's absolutely possible, you know, if the company so that is why I also teach interview skills, because during the interview skills you want to come across, during the interview process you want to come across as somebody who is the dream candidate and once that is the case, you can ask for signing bonuses to to make any differential out. So that's why you know, when you ask for your base, go high, right, aim high, and then inevitably they'll push back and so, whatever Delta is there, you can make up with either signing bonus or any other perks. However, just remember, the signing bonus is usually a one-time thing, so it's always get better to get the base or the performance bonus.John Neral:
Absolutely so. Then how do you know if you're going high enough in your initial salary request?Dorothy Mashburn:
Yeah, it's. The ideal world would be if you have somebody else negotiate for you, and of course, that's not a luxury we all have. So what we do is what I ask people to do is triangulate from three different sources of market data. So if you go to, you know your site, your sites like Glassdoor or Indeed or PayScale, there are salary calculators, so you use that as a data point. Then you go to your network and that's why informational interviews are so important and ask, like in the region and the function and the years of experience as somebody else as you would have, how much you know, what range are they getting paid at? And then, finally, you go to specific sites, like for tech, you know Levels FYI is a good site, teamblind is a good site and you then triangulate a number from there. And again, if people are worried that you are going to be too out there, you know, take that fear out of you, because most of the times we tend to ratchet down.John Neral:
Hey there, we'll get back to the episode in a moment, but I want to give you something game changing, a golden ticket. That is like having a roadmap to take you from career confusion to clarity in minutes, introducing the mid-career job seekers checklist. It is your secret weapon in your job search and if you feel like navigating your job search right now is like navigating a maze blindfolded, don't worry, my friend, I got your back. This checklist is a powerhouse of organization and preparation, crafted to make you say goodbye to feeling overwhelmed and hello to a career transition made easy. I want you to head on over to johnnarrellcom to snag your free copy of the mid-career job seekers checklist. It's not just a checklist, it is a career compass to help you find that job you're going to love. Now let's dive back into the episode. So we have, let's say, for example, we have a mid-career job seeker who is getting ready to welcome an offer. They've gotten through the final round, they know that it's coming and they're sitting there and they're going ugh when they ask me what I wanna be paid. We get to that point whether they've filled out on an application leading to it or not. In your expertise, are they better off giving a number or a salary range when asked what they wanna be compensated at.Dorothy Mashburn:
Yeah, I would say a range. So you did during the preparation side. You develop a three-part number. So your dream number that is kind of like the pie in the sky number, your desired number, that's the minimum you would accept, and a deal breaker number right? So deal breakers, you walk away. This is not the job for you. And so you start with what you know. Don't use a deal breaker. But what you do is you're desired and your dream and put that out there. So at the very minimum, you're putting your desired as the low end of the range.John Neral:
I like how you phrased it as a dream number, a desired number and a deal breaker and I've never heard it phrased that way before. So kudos on that, because I think that's super, super smart From the company side. How true is it that they're always gonna try to bring exceptional talent in as low as possible?Dorothy Mashburn:
I think that's a really good question, john. There is, of course, different literature on this. If your goal is to get to the hiring manager as a company, as a candidate because the hiring manager is suffering the day in and day out of the pain of not having this person in seat and so if you talk to the hiring manager, they will bring you in at just about any price, because really what they're losing from not getting somebody in that seat is exponentially higher than paying you $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 more. Now HR and recruitment have different objectives from the company side that they have to march to. They're asked to make sure that it's competitive, make sure that it's not the top of the line, because you don't have any room to grow for them, for that person. So it's with HR and recruitment you wanna be more subtle with how much you want, so you can get a foot in the door, but when you talk to your hiring manager, you can be a little bit more aggressive and still really focus on the skills and how you'll make their life better, and that's a winning combination of strategy and because the hiring manager isn't really that interested in bringing you in at the lowest price, they just want you in.John Neral:
Right. I remember talking with an HR colleague of mine a number of years ago and talked to a few others as well to kind of see if this quote unquote HR math actually worked or was relevant. But what I was told was that from the company side, especially when you have levels that are, they have a band or a range within that. So to make the math easy, we'll say, let's say for this managerial role it's between 100 and 200,000. That it's in the company's best interest to bring somebody in at the 25th percentile so 125K because as they stay in that role for, say, three years and they gain skills and they gain experience, their annual increase, in addition to whatever cost of living, would eventually move them up to or around the 50th percentile in those three years and that when they elevate into that next role and they get promoted, that new level puts them at the 25th percentile of that new pay band. So it brings me to this question to ask you so when somebody is negotiating for an internal promotion and they have had conversations with colleagues where they think and I'm gonna use the verb think, because unless they're actually looking at everybody's pay stub they're going by whatever people are telling them, but they think that they're not being paid equally or fairly as somebody else and they wanna go and negotiate for an adjustment either in role or specifically when they're getting promoted. What tips or advice do you have for them to negotiate that internal promotion more strategically?Dorothy Mashburn:
Yeah, yeah, that is actually something we come across. I come across all the time, and especially because a lot of people are happy in their role but they do feel like they're not being compensated to the degree that they could be. So for that, you definitely wanna triangulate the three numbers that I spoke about before, the from three different sites. One is a specific site to your industry, one is a generic site and then one is from your peer review. But definitely talk to your manager about it, but give them plenty of heads up so don't surprise them and know about your company Like the time is right when the company's doing well, if financials are great, stock price is great, whatever the company situation is from a structure perspective, that's a great year for you to ask for an adjustment. And then budget time is another great time to say budgets are being set, I'm gonna be asking for a pay adjustment. This is my justification and let your manager and HR partner know so they can start adding that in the budget discussions Performance review a lot of companies are going through now is a great time to bring it up and then just have a conversation, but always talk about the forward-looking skills that you will bring and the impact. So you'll say something like last year was a great year for me and my team. We delivered double digit growth. Next year, my five year strap plan is showing a 15% growth. I wanna continue to impact this organization, but based on this data, have a one page already and say, based on this data, I believe my compensation needs to be at 190. And then you'll get pushed back and they'll say I wanna go to HR or finance to get approval and that's fine. Just time bound them. Okay. Thank you for listening to me and hearing me out. I hope shall we meet in another two weeks and then go from there?John Neral:
That point about time-bounding a leader to come back with an answer is so smart, and I couldn't agree with you more, because these are difficult conversations for managers where, depending on how well experienced or versed or comfortable they are with having these kinds of conversations, they may not be comfortable having it Right. And so setting a time agreement to say, look, let's put some time on the calendar in two weeks, can we agree to that? You will know right away whether they're going to hold that meeting or they're going to hedge on it or not. But that's such a smart move to do it in a way to use your word earlier about doing it with integrity, but to partner with them on ensuring you're appropriately compensated.Dorothy Mashburn:
Absolutely, absolutely. You hit the nail on the head, yeah.John Neral:
Well, I want to let everybody know who's listening. If you are not following Dorothy Mashburn on LinkedIn, I want you to go ahead and connect with her and follow her. I mean, obviously, don't do it while you're driving, but do it when you're safe. But, dorothy, you've got a great newsletter as well that you publish frequently, and I want to bring up something that you published just a few weeks ago that had to do with encouraging people to double their salary in 90 days, and I'm wondering if you can tell us a little bit more about the rationale and that particular strategy to help people get more by asking for doubling their salary.Dorothy Mashburn:
Yep, absolutely. It goes back to my earlier point about going big. So a lot of people don't go big enough and if I or you, john, we've been in this industry for a while. But even when we are negotiating for ourselves, we will find ways. So say I'm making 100,000 today, I need to make 200,000. If we try to not go big, if we try to be rational about it, we'll say 20% is good enough and they might bulk at 20%, let me go at 15. I think that's fair. We're going to split the difference, we'll go for 115. So that's usually what's going on in our internal chatter, and what I encourage people to do is double your salary and say I want to go for 200,000. And you want to aim to fail. So if you aim to fail this is what I mean, even if you say 200,000 and the company pushes back say you have a new job offer and the company pushes back and says 200 is way too high, we can do 180. You failed for your 200,000 ask, but you still made so much more than the 115 you were going to go with originally. So that's that, and then 180, then still keep pushing, like I will ask you to push yourself to say, okay, I wanted 200, you got me to 180. How about a leadership career coach? It's valued at 20,000. Can you get me there? A lot of companies have amazing professional development opportunities. Budgets are pretty much untapped in many companies, so not a lot of people use them, and so that is a lot of flexibility for the hiring manager to get you there. So now you got 180, plus the $20,000 leadership coaching, so you're 190. Then you're not done. Yet you say, okay, well, market is 200. I asked for 200. And I want to be flexible. I want to be a cooperative problem solver here. How about you add an extra day of vacation, extra week of vacation, and more times than none they'll say, yep, sure, extra week of vacation or charity event or flexible Fridays. Whatever that want is for you ask for that, and so doing this, holding out this strategy or deploying this strategy, gets you far more in overall compensation. Then you would just saying, okay, I'm going to tug of war this 100,000 to see if I can push it up just a little bit, versus going big and then building your strategy from there.John Neral:
That's really good, and I like how you gave us some ideas that really are very creative and leveraging different aspects of the company that many mid-career professionals may not be considering be it the internal coach or be it the extra vacation to use that as leverage in terms of ultimately getting whatever they want.Dorothy Mashburn:
So thank you for that.John Neral:
Absolutely, Absolutely Well, Dorothy as we start wrapping up here and thinking about everything we've talked about today, what particular either salary or negotiating type advice would you give for someone listening to help them build that part of their mid-career GPS?Dorothy Mashburn:
Yeah, yeah, I would say that start planning your career. You know, not this, just this, this years, the next years and third, fourth, fifth, your long term career plan. Like, if you don't do that, you know, chance is going to make it very random for you. So you have to be very intentional about building out your career plan and once you have that plan, then the things you ask for in any negotiation becomes second nature. So I'll give you an example. So in the example of where you ask for a internal or external leadership coach, say you want to be a CEO someday of a fortune 500 company, if you get that leadership coach, you can start building your executive presence, you can start building your communication skills. So those are some of the things you negotiate in your salary because that's going to take you to your ultimate goal. So if you have a plan in place, you can absolutely negotiate the things that will get you to the end state Does that, does that make sense?John Neral:
It does Absolutely. So I thank you for that. And it's it's all part of how, when we continually build our mid career GPS, that planning is such a huge part of it. So I love how you gave us some things to consider, not just for the immediacy, but also for down the road, so thank you for that.Dorothy Mashburn:
Absolutely and resonated with me about your newsletter today, that about having your plan and having the four F's in place. So thank you Absolutely.John Neral:
Thank you for that. Well, Dorothy, I'm going to turn the mic over to you, because if people want to follow, connect, learn more about you or even enlist your help in negotiating their next offer, I'm going to turn the mic over to you. My friend, tell us all the good things about how people can connect with you.Dorothy Mashburn:
Absolutely. Thank you, John. Again, you can reach me in LinkedIn. I also have a TikTok channel. It's DorothyMashburncom is my website. You can also follow my podcast. I have some great leaders who provide industry expertise and insights on the podcast. It's called Salary Negotiations Made Simple. It's available on all of the major podcasting channels and please like, share and repost any of my content. I am on a mission to help as many professionals as I can to really get their arms around compensation and salary. So happy to help and happy to be part of this community.John Neral:
Well, I will make sure all of that is in the show notes. But, more importantly, you are doing such incredible work and I love how you are just positioning yourself very strategically to help all these people. So, dorothymashburn, thank you so much for being a wonderful guest on the mid-career GPS podcast.Dorothy Mashburn:
Thank you, john, it's been great talking with you.John Neral:
All right. My friends, if there is one takeaway from today's episode, for me, it's this Aim high. Dorothy gave us some great examples about how, so often, mid-career professionals don't ask for enough because you're playing it too safely or you're afraid about being greedy. As you go back and listen to this episode, and I hope you will keep in mind that aiming high may mean that you still may fail a little bit, but you will still end up far better off than what you would if you just played it safe. So until next time, my friends, remember this you will build your mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how you show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcasts. Visit JohnNarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you in your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnNarrowCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.