Inquiring about workplace benefits in addition to your base salary can boost your bottom line.
After incessant job interviews, you've finally been offered a job! Problem is, your dream job has a nightmarish salary. But before you resign yourself to Ramen dinners and resentment over your pittance, there are many non-salary benefits that you can -- and should -- negotiate for. Here are our picks for the top ten workplace benefits to ask for.
Transportation Costs. Schlepping to and from work day in and day out can be tiring -- and costly, too. Ask if your transportation costs can be covered by your job. After all, you won't mind the grind of your daily commute if you're not forking over your hard-earned cash for it.
Extra Vacation Days. Between kids getting sick, running errands, and school closings, you could easily eat up almost all of your own vacation days in the first few months of the year. So find out what the company's policy is on vacation time, and see if you can get extra days. Spending an extra couple of days on your trip to Machu Picchu might make it all worth it.
A Better Title. Sure, you were hired to be an administrative assistant, but that doesn't mean that you need to stick with that label. Getting a better title can be worth more than money -- when you interview for a new position in the future, you will have access to better job opportunities with higher salaries.
Housing Subsidy. Sometimes your job requires you to pull late nights at the office. Those almost all nighters make it pointless to go home, only to turn around and head back into the office again. A housing subsidy can come in the form of a company apartment or townhouse that you can crash in instead of commuting late at night. If housing isn't available, there might be a chance that you can stay at a swanky hotel -- all on the company's dime.
An Office. Let's face it: Life in a cubicle is nothing but grey walls and bad, bad lighting. While you might have your eye on the corner office, getting any office (preferably one with a door) can be a major workplace bonus, especially if you value your privacy.
A Flexible Schedule. Imagine being able to continue in your career, doing work you're passionate about -- and doing it all from your home. Telecommuting offers employees the opportunity to pursue their passion, but on their terms. From deciding the hours you work to being able to attend your child's recital (in the middle of the workday!), a flexible schedule can be the Holy Grail in your pursuit of work-life balance.
Child Care Costs. Ask any working parent where half of their paycheck (or more) goes, and they'll automatically sigh and answer, "Childcare." Ask what childcare options your company offers to its employees. Perhaps they'll reimburse a percentage of your costs, or they might have a discounted group rate with a nearby childcare center. Some companies even have on-site care for their employees' children.
Guaranteed Severance Packages. Just like signing a prenup ensures that you'll be safe should you get a divorce, getting a guaranteed severance package also means that you'll stay financially afloat for a while should you be let go from your position. While it might seem pessimistic to plan your job exit before you've actually started working, it's essential to have a little financial insurance in today's unstable job market.
Wardrobe Allowance. No, this doesn't mean that your company will pay for your Dooney & Bourke handbag obsession. But your organization might offer a clothing stipend to help keep you stylish -- especially if you're meeting with Fortune 500 CEOs and other industry heavy-hitters.
Tuition Reimbursement. If you're planning to continue your education, petition for a tuition reimbursement to be built into your contract. Not having to worry about paying for school can be a big bonus, and furthering your education is a win-win, for both you and the company.
Before you say no to a job simply because the pay is low, try negotiating for better benefits. Combined, these benefits can help offset the extra expenses you have -- and might make that salary look pretty sweet too.
Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.
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