What’s your negotiation strategy? Successful negotiation requires knowledge and skill. If you’re intimidated when it comes to negotiating a promotion or job offer, and want to feel more confident in your negotiation skills, this episode is for you.
In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:
- How negotiation is different for women, and how to advocate for yourself
- Step by step negotiation tactics, including the right negotiation mindset
- Negotiation mistakes and conversations to avoid
Today is a jam packed presentation from Dr. Linda Street, an obstetrician and expert in negotiation, who recently gave a presentation to my “Women Physician in Industry” networking group (and gave me permission to share the recording here on my podcast). By the end of this episode you will have strategies to advocate for yourself in a variety of workplace situations. Her negotiation techniques and tips will help you ensure you’re being compensated appropriately.
Special announcement: My course, Industry Insider, is now accredited for up to 12 CME credits. Learn how to land an exciting and impactful role as a physician in the world of pharma, biotech, or medical devices, AND how to do that even if you think you’re not qualified, don’t have any connections, or concerned about a pay cut… I’ve got you covered!
In this Episode:
[4:00] The social tax of being a negotiating woman
[13:30] How to find and use market data to your advantage
[22:35] Essential mindset shifts when you’re facing a ‘no’
[35:00] Salary negotiations and total compensation packages
[46:00] What’s inappropriate for negotiation discussions?
Please note: the information and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the guest speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the host, nor any of the host’s affiliated entities.
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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 105 – Negotiation Strategies with Dr. Linda Street
Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business, it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.
Hey there gang. Today on the show, I have a special guest, Dr. Linda Street who is an obstetrician by training, but is an expert in negotiation. And she came to a networking chat that I host every other week for women physicians working in the pharma industry. She came to our chat to give us a presentation about negotiation skills. She gave a presentation, and then there was a q&a. So I have, with her permission, taken an excerpt of that and posted it right here on the podcast for all of you. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m Linda Street. I am a maternal fetal medicine physician, I’m actually clinically practicing still seeing patients. So I am in a solo corporate practice. So it’s not my practice, but I am by myself. And it’s interesting, I’m working on a partner. But I have in the journey of my career found that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in negotiation.
And through some experiences in my first job, which was in academics, I realized that there were some tools available that I could use to help me kind of honed them and over the last three to four years have been helping female physicians to negotiate and honing my own skills. So I spend a lot of time thinking about this. And it’s interesting, I actually just today read an article that one of my favorite contract attorneys forwarded my way from Harvard Business Review, and it was talking about the social tax that women have when we negotiate.
So there is data that we are taxed, when we negotiate, there is data that it is not looked upon as favorably when women advocate for themselves as when men do. It is however very favorable when we negotiate on behalf of others. And apparently, we’re really good at that. But we get taxed when we do it for ourselves. But as depressing as all that sounds, there are ways that we can advocate for ourselves that that tax was negated.
And the data in this blog that it talked about and referred to was really focused on if the negotiation was presented in the frame of what they called “relational construct” ubt basically, you showed them like, this is why it benefits you for me to do this and interviewed, I think her name is Sheryl Sandberg, but the gal that was the Facebook CEO, or maybe still is so since I’m not quite up to date on the corporate world, but interviewed her and if you can present like why they need to give you what what you’re asking for in the context of how it benefits them, you got a lot further and you didn’t suffer that same tax.
So I thought that was very interesting, because I focused a lot on the same thing. I just didn’t call it something. So I was excited about that today. I am six years out of fellowship at this point. So I’ve been practicing clinically for a little while, but I’m fairly I call myself early, mid career, mid enough to be confident in what I’m doing and I got a little bored for a while, which I’m assuming many of you have to because you jump into different kinds of ways of using your brain when the current way isn’t serving you.
And that was part of what incited this business as well. So I’m going to go ahead and jump right in for the sake of time, and then share now. Okay, perfect, you’ve got it. Lots of lots of time for questions. So this is just really brief to keep me on track, mostly because I will digress otherwise.
So as a lot of you know, autonomy is something that is huge. And especially when you take well educated people like physicians, and you take away their autonomy, it is really hard to thrive in a work environment. And I find that this is probably the number one reason people change jobs. They, for whatever reason, their sense of autonomy is threatened or they don’t feel it’s there or they don’t feel valued. And that’s why they look for different jobs. And so my goal is to help people on the front end or even when you’re within a job to renegotiate so that you can really kind of retake that autonomy back and negotiate the job to fit you instead of continually squishing yourself to fit the job.
Because we think about shoes that don’t quite fit, right. But you can put your foot in them. They don’t automatically make your foot hurt, you get away with an hour or two. But like a couple hours in that raw area is really smarting. And the next day you’re in tennis shoes and socks, otherwise you’re dying. And our jobs are a lot like this. We can fit ourselves into a job where it doesn’t quite fit and it rubs a little bit.
It’s not too bad. We can do that for so long. But there comes a point where it’s just insufferable and you have to move to something else or do something to make it fit. And I think that autonomy is really at the center of all this and I personally think that autonomy and the shifts and kind of how healthcare looks and what we’re doing is really part of the bigger story of burnout and everything else.
So you guys have embraced autonomy and looked for alternative ways to use your skill set. So that’s fabulous, you guys are ahead of the game. There are a lot of different ways that autonomy suffers, and how we’re socialized to think about our careers. So it can be like what standard part time isn’t okay, we all work this many hours. And I imagine you guys see this in your industry, some as well, where this is what the job looks like, basically, and this is what we’re offering. And whether or not that fits for you, this is kind of what it is, some of these things may be a little bit less applicable.
And that’s not really our fault. Because if you look at the socialization we’ve gone through, we’ve all been taught your value is determined by how much you do for others. And not everybody has heard the same internalized messages.
But as people, identifying as women, growing up in our society, a lot of these messages are taught to girls from a very young age. Your value is determined by how much you get done, how much you publish, how successful you are, how quickly you climb the ladder, how many grants you can get, whatever our views you generate.
A lot of these things are kind of drummed into us through medical training, and they’re gonna layer on top of the pre existing socialization that we’ve had as women. What others think of you, your success, pretty much anything other than your value is determined by the fact that you’re a human on this planet doesn’t serve us. So this one drives me a little bit crazy.
Other people, other people’s needs are always more important than your own, or valuing your own time and energy is selfish, or the team needs to come first, or something, something along those lines is pretty consistent in many industries for women, demonstrating an understanding of your value is unseemly. And this comes up a lot of times as she was so aggressive.
And this refers to that tax that women have when they advocate for themselves that sometimes men don’t. And oftentimes men don’t. You see this in data when women apply for promotions, a lot of women won’t apply for a promotion until they check all the boxes. Because we feel like we’re not able to fill that role until we’re ready to fill that role.
Versus if you look at men, they’ll say, “Oh, I think that one or two of those”, and they’ll go ahead and apply. And so they are just socialized differently to where a lot of them feel they can just apply for the job, even though they may be less qualified than a woman who thinks she’s not qualified enough to apply yet.
You’re replaceable. This is what a lot of us have heard in health care. We hear it when we’re medical students, there are plenty of other people who wanted that spot. We hear it from residency, like the supercomputer could find 10 other people who would love to have that position. So you shouldn’t complain about working a couple hours past your duty hours. You are replaceable is a theme that really doesn’t serve us.
And a lot of my goal is for you to build a career that fulfills you by advocating for what you should be getting. And when you learn what you’re worth, you stop giving discounts. I really love this quote, because when I frame it that way, I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to give a discount, I’m not on sale, I want to be Gucci, I don’t want to be Walmart. And so that really resonated nicely with me. The first part is really deciding what you want.
Because what you want, and what I want may be very different things. Just like the pair of shoes that might give me blisters might give someone else no problems, like what is useful for you in what is an ideal job for you is going to look a little bit different than someone else. And deciding what you want and designing a job to fit that and kind of retaking that autonomy or that ability to choose what you want to do is a really helpful way to set yourself up for success.
And this can be regarding money, it can be regarding schedules, it can be regarding leadership opportunities, growth opportunities, ability to learn new skill sets, whatever, you have to know what’s important to you prior to being able to ask for it effectively. I’m a big fan of when I think of the hierarchy of needs, money is actually at the bottom like it’s a foundational thing, but it’s not the most high priority. It is important.
But it’s the base of the pyramid. Next comes time because it’s finite. So we all only have so much we don’t know how much but we get an allocated amount of time. But to me the top is energy. And I see a lot of women who are changing jobs or leaving jobs, especially female physicians, because that’s the people I surround myself with, because of those little things that just suck your energy every single day.
And it’s really important to know what are the pieces of my day that really fill me up? What are the pieces of my day that I want more of? And what are those things that I would never want to do? Like, if somebody told me I will take this off your plate, my job would be so much better. Because if you can kind of identify those in your day to day, you can also find a lot of little ways and micro negotiations that you can use to make your job that you better.
And those are really good practice for competence and things leading up to bigger negotiation. So things like I want to change how my job looks completely, or I want to change to a new job, or I need a raise, those types of conversations can be a lot easier if you’ve advocated for some little things along the way. So they’re really good starter things. But I think they’re kind of the foundation of what’s most important.
So a couple of techniques for actually negotiating. And I know I’m breezing through this, I want to give lots of time for questions. So please feel free to stop me and I look at the chat at the end. Mindset is a two way street. So a lot of times with mindset, we think of ours, like they should pay me this because this is my worth, they should pay me this because I deserve to be paid this. And while those things are true, it’s true that you deserve to be paid.
It’s true that the value of what you’re providing measures that the vast majority of the time, usually you’ve actually underestimated yourself. But they don’t really mean whoever’s employing you, they don’t really have the incentive to give that to you, it’s not as much of a no brainer decision to give that to you, until you can show them how it serves them.
So while you’re asking for the things you need, if you can work on your piece ahead of time, so you work on limiting beliefs you have, work on what it is you actually want, and decide why it’s important for you to have that, when you’re having these conversations, you’re going to leave that aside a little bit and focus on what they want.
So you’re going to want to ask the questions of where are they coming from? What is the goal of the company you’re working for? What are they hoping to do in the next three to five years? How do you fit into that goal?
And how do you uniquely have the ability to solve their problems in a way that somebody else may not be able to that might have your same skill set? So how is it that you’re the perfect solution to their problems?
Because if you can present why you’re asking for the things you are in the context of how it serves them, you get so much farther, because it makes it seem like such a no brainer. Like oh, yeah, I do want to make sure we get XYZ project out by the state. And you do have a contact there? Oh, that’s fabulous. Sure, here’s, here’s an extra resource, here’s an extra 20,000. Here’s whatever, because you’re showing them how you having what you need solves their problems, instead of asking for it just because you should have it.
Market data. So I don’t know, in pharmaceuticals and other industries, if there’s something comparable, there probably isn’t quite the same. I usually use MGMA data when I’m working with clinicians who are still seeing patients. But even in an industry where there may not be like an established database that you can just query, there’s always ways to get market data. Now that may mean you talk to other people who’ve been in the industry a little longer than you have and say, hey, look, what are the typical salaries you’re seeing for a position that’s like mine?
What are some of the best salaries you’ve seen for a position that’s like mine? That’s always a great question to ask, because why be average, right? Like, it’s wonderful to know, what has someone else who’s just starting out who’s five years and who’s 20 years? And what are they getting, and word of mouth travels. I mean, we are small communities. So even if somebody’s not willing to tell you, I make $452,512, they may be willing to say, “Oh, I’ve seen something as high as ____.”
Or this is the average of kind of what I’ve seen, so you can at least get some ballpark. Another really effective way to get actual market data is to interview a few places. So you can always interview at a few different jobs and have letters of intent or contracts that tell you what they’re willing to pay. And compare that amongst each other. That works especially well, if you’re open to leaving, I usually don’t recommend interviewing a lot if you wouldn’t ever consider leaving because you don’t want to burn bridges.
But I think it is okay to interview when you’re not certain if you want to leave or not. But you’re open to the possibility because you may, right. So that’s one way to get market data. And then if you’re not considering anything else, you’re like I’m saying exactly where I am. There’s nothing that could change that. I think it’s still reasonable to look around. Are any of the job postings disclosing what salary they’re starting off point is?
Now keep in mind, the data you’re seeing is where they’re starting. That is not the post negotiation data. It is the beginning, it is the jumping off point. But there are ways that you can find out a little bit more about what type of payment structures people are getting.
And I think especially getting into new roles, things that are not the jobs we saw our attendings do so not like academic medicine where your faculty have come up through the same system that they’re teaching you within, I think really just getting an idea of what are different compensation models. So we know that there’s salary, but what else are their stock options?
Or their bonus packages or their pensions or their sabbaticals, whatever? What are the other pieces of the package, because sometimes, even if there’s a set pay band where your salary is going to be XYZ dollars, and it’s a little harder to move on that, you can really enhance the value of your package by being willing to think outside of the box. So getting an idea of okay, well, so and so was able to get this, that would really mean a lot to me.
So for me, for example, one of the things that was really important to me is I needed a four day work week, because I have a side business. So I don’t work Fridays clinically, well, I’m by myself in a practice. So as you can imagine, that was not their ideal situation.
But I was able to sell it because I was like, “Look, you know, you’re just starting out a clinic, we’re not going to be full for a while. So your expenses will be less, if we’re only open for four days, while we’re filling up. Once we get full, we’ll look for a second doctor, we can open on Fridays, and we can figure out who does what, when then”, and was able to shift to how it benefited them.
And they’re like, oh, I can save a little money. Because my salary was adjusted, not percentage wise accordingly. But I made a little less than what I would have made had I worked five days a week.
And while we were building the clinic, it sounded like there were an infinite amount of patients that weren’t being seen. So it actually made sense to them that way. And that was a little bit of how it was able to pull that off. It was also very non negotiable for me. And so you can leverage those things.
Making it happen. This is kind of the negotiation piece. And I like to keep everything very simple. So I’ve kind of put it into very oversimplified buckets. But I feel like a lot of these terms seem very scary to us because we’re just not as familiar with them.
We don’t have a course on contracts and medical business and medical school. We should, but we don’t in residency, most people are just asking their attendings for advice, which is a terrible idea, unless you’re planning to stay in that exact kind of environment. And so oftentimes, we get really nervous about some of these terms.
So I like to break it down in a very simple way. Where do your skills overlap their goals? I literally draw like a Venn diagram. So it’s like third grade science, we draw a Venn diagram, where are their goals? What do they want to do? And how am I uniquely positioned to fill those needs? Leverage, leverage is really about minimizing your risk and maximizing how bad it seems to them if they don’t get you.
And so minimizing your risk can be having multiple different options. minimizing your risk can be having a backup plan, it can be being financially independent, it could be being willing to compromise on something else, or knowing you have something to offer that they can’t get elsewhere.
And the way you maximize leverage on the other side is showing them how you specifically are the perfect solution to their problems, why someone else who may have some similar clinical knowledge is not going to be as good of a fit because they don’t have whatever it is you have their specific goals or something your tailor made to fill.
And the more you can convince them, they need you. Not that they need somebody with your skill set, the easier it is to get them to open their pockets or to be more creative about a compensation package. low effort high value exchanges, this is actually really great.
There’s a guy named Bill Sanders who wrote a book. I think it’s called Creative Conflict, if I remember correctly, but it focuses on things that are easy for you to give, but a ton of value for them. And then vice versa. So for example, one of my most recent accumulations in my clinic was a genetic counselor, which for high risk OB is like heaven on earth is like the best thing that could happen to my clinic.
And part of how I lured her is because I knew the environment she was in. And I knew she had to ride a shuttle for 30 minutes every day to get to her job, because she parked like two miles away, because that was the assigned parking space for people who were not physicians, and had to write a shuttle that came every 15 – 20 minutes.
So that added like an hour to her day, in addition to her commute, just to get to her office building. So I told her I was like, “Oh, we have a parking lot right here at the office.” I think I had her at that. Like I didn’t need to tell her anything else about the job. I think I had her get a parking space that you can walk into the building from but something that small that isn’t even something she had to negotiate like it’s just a given with this position was enough to really pique her interest because it makes such a difference in her life.
That gave her an hour back every single day. There were plenty of other things that I used, but that was a really low effort for me like it was pre existing, but it was really valuable to her and you find out these things by talking to people like why are you looking for a new job, what would be a perfect job for you?
And when you start asking those questions, you get kind of their pain points, the same thing can be flipped on the other end. So if you’re asking like, what would a perfect candidate look like? What are you hoping to have someone who takes this role achieve?
If you’re confident about wanting this specific role, you can even be a little bit more aggressive about it and say something along the lines of, “when I’m in this role, how do you see me succeeding?” Or, “when I’m in this role, what support do you have for me to ensure that we get these goals met?” And that’s like one step further, you may or may not be to the place where you’re confident with that. But it really, it goes a long way. So the last piece is pre anticipating obstacles. And this is because we have human brains. So congratulations.
And when somebody tells us no, we automatically don’t feel awesome about that. I have yet to meet a person who’s told no and doesn’t like, make that mean anything like they’re like, no, okay, that’s great. I’m so glad you told me. No, no, none of us respond that way.
And there are kind of two default pathways in which one you go down depends a lot on who you are as a human. So one pathway is to become very defensive. This is my default. Not my best trait, but it is what it is. And so if somebody tells me “No”, I’m like, “Well, why not?” That’s my automatic reaction in my brain. I may not say it in my mouth. But the other ways to feel very defeated, like, “Oh, I must have pushed too much, or okay, I guess I shouldn’t have asked for that.”
And a lot of these automatic neuro pathways trigger when somebody tells us no, which feels like a rejection. And that worked. And it was great to, like, save us and keep us safe when evolution depended on us being in groups. But in job context situations, it really hampers our ability to advocate for ourselves effectively, versus if you can pre anticipate the obstacles. So actually, when I’m working with clients, have them list out what are all the ways they’re going to tell you now.
Because a lot of the time, you can pre anticipate the ways they might tell, you know, and they may not use those exact same words, but you can get kind of basic buckets of the budgets already set. And that’s just not allocated for that. Or nobody else has that resource. Or this is not how the position has ever looked before, or whatever, those are very common ones, or this is standard pay.
So we have pay parity, I really like that one because it sounds really attractive. And I’m like pay parity doesn’t equal pay equality, like parity means everybody’s paid. Like you’re saying, You’re gonna pay everybody the same. But is everybody doing the same amount of work?
Like, is everybody doing the same task? And if not, then it’s not really equal, like we want equitable pay for what you are doing. And not necessarily same pay if you’re doing different levels of work. And so really pre anticipating how that might show up in a negotiation allows you when you’re not in that moment, staring at somebody who just told you no, to come up with like, “Okay, if this is what they say, How do I want to respond?”
So if they say, the budgets are already set, and there’s no wiggle room? Okay, how can we build in like, when do you do your next budget? How can we build in an anticipated raise, so that this is factored into the next budget? How can we pull from a different budget and maybe do like a sign on bonus, or a one time thing? How can we change how many resources I have to do what my job is, etc.
Like, you can be really creative and come up with a million different ways to circumvent that. But if you’re going to accept that as the case, how else could we accomplish the goal I have. And oftentimes, if you start offering really complicated solutions, all of a sudden, it’s not quite as set in stone, it’s easier to just give you a little bit of extra money. So they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
And that’s totally fine. You’re happy to take it. But if you can kind of pre have responses to these common ways, they’ll say, No, it really sets you up to where you have an intelligent response. That’s not just like, okay, or like what the heck, right? And so that helps. And that is, I think the majority of I’m gonna stop.
Right? I was like, I’m gonna stop this PowerPoint. It was for a talk I gave and I apologize again for not tweaking that, the whole six year old with angioedema escapade kind of changed my plans for today. But that’s kind of the high points of what I like to really just introduce his basics to talk to folks about negotiation. And then I’m going to spend a lot of time being able to field your questions.
This was so great. I have some questions that have come through in private, but we can also scan the chat. I have questions, but first, let me ask people who want to raise their hand live to ask theirs.
And while we’re waiting for a volunteer, I’m going to quickly address the chat. Yeah, so the regional salary differences so I can’t speak to in pharma. They are definitely present in very real and clinical work, but there’s also a wide distribution And so while certain regions tend to have better salaries, there are jobs within those regions on either end of the spectrum.
So I’ve seen people in the Midwest make poor salaries.
And I’ve seen people in markets like New York City where oftentimes salaries are a little bit more difficult to negotiate, have great salaries. So yes, there are regional variations and what the median is for sure. But there’s certainly still opportunities.
What are your thoughts on anchoring, we’re often told not to be the first to give a salary? Yeah. So I actually agree that I don’t like to be the first to give out a salary and typically my Get Out of Jail Free phrase for this. And if I am gonna give one I’m gonna give higher than I want. Like, I want my like, blow my mind goal to be the thing I asked for not like my what I need to make it happen goal.
But a question or a response, I usually tell people that works well is, you know, I’m still learning so much about this position and since you’re more familiar with it, what range are you thinking? Because it’s true, anything you’re interviewing for, they know more about than you do, because they’re there, and they know what they’re wanting.
And while you may know more about the skill sets, you are just learning about this job. And so I think that kind of pivoting to you know, I’m still learning about the responsibilities and the expectations, what range would you typically offer for a position like this, you don’t even have to get them to commit to the range for that job. I mean, that’s what you’re really asking. But if they’re Hedgy, about that, like, what have you paid before for similar positions, anything you can do to get them to kind of throw out a ballpark is always wonderful.
But if you get backed into a corner, or if you accidentally, or like, I just have to say something compulsively, because sometimes we feel that way, aim high, because you certainly want to set the conversation to where you’re not discounting yourself. Now, with the caveat of high but reasonable.
So you should have already done your homework on what kind of market data is available ahead of time, it would be weird for me to go in as an MFM, and say, hey, I want to make $3 million because there’s that one orthopedic surgeon who does it, like now they’re gonna be like, “that’s nice. Here’s the door, you’re crazy.” So that’s probably not a good approach for me. But I did come in and say like, look, this is the 75th percentile, and then minimum is 75th percentile player. So I’d like to see this salary. And I didn’t quite get it.
But I went up 33%, from what they offered initially. So they were much more willing to play ball when I said that I wasn’t willing to consider their offer. I was a little aggressive because I had a lot of leverage. And I knew I did. And I’m pretty sure my exact words were insulting, call me back if you can do better, and I hung up. But you have to be in a position where you have lots of choices, to be able to be aggressive.
So and I don’t recommend that I knew idle. I don’t recommend that to people. I was just in a position where it was. I didn’t have to take the job. And I had like a bunch of noncompete left. So I was in no hurry. And so I was a little bit more able to be very aggressive.
Question that’s coming in early. This is a comment right in Massachusetts, against the law for recruiter prospective employer to ask how much you make. I believe that is true, right? They can ask salary expectations, but not what you make. Is there anything they don’t know about that?
Yeah, I’m not sure about the legalities. That is something that I have a law that passed about a year ago. And it was basically intended to equalize that, you know, to minimize the pay gap.
And every state’s I mean, I’m in Georgia. So I don’t know what our laws are, but I assume they’re behind some other folks. Just a fair assumption. But I usually tell people, if they don’t want to answer that you can always allude to, you know, part of why I’m looking for a new job is I’m looking, I’m looking for the compensation to more adequately represent the value I can provide.
And it’s really hard to get back to like, “Oh, you’re underpaid? Like how much?” Like there’s no graceful way for them to ask you again. And so I think usually putting that as you know, part of why I’m looking is I want the pay to reflect the value I can offer. And that most of the time shuts things down.
Without somebody talking to me recently was that you, instead of like, saying, like, what are your expectations, like give them a range, but provide commentary. So like, this is what I would absolutely say yes to this is the range, I’d really need to think about, depending on like, you know, what, what sort of resources I have at the job or what sort of things I might have to do and this is something that I wouldn’t really be able to make happen and like provide some commentary because it softens it a little bit, instead of just saying like, this is the range I want, but I haven’t tried that. And I don’t know how well it actually works. But I’ve been given that advice.
Yeah. And I think eluding kind of on that same vein, alluding to the fact that the whole package is really what you’re looking for. And so you’re open to that looking a lot of several different ways that needed to reflect the value of what you’re providing. Because it’s all about what it’s worth to them for you to do what you’re going to do for them.
And if it’s not worth that much to them, while they may not value your positions, it may not be a good place to go. If it’s worth something that works for you, then awesome, you should be able to build upon that. But I always think of, I always think of pay as a whole package as well.
And I think especially in yalls’ industries, there’s just even from what I heard talked about with the spreadsheet, there’s a lot more variety and how that can look and how compensation can filter to you versus just like incentives and base salary. Which is pretty common in clinical medicine.
Yeah, that’s right. Most people on this call, I think, have a combination of a base salary, a cash bonus, which is usually a percentage or a target percentage of base salary that’s given annually. And then oftentimes, a what’s called a long term incentive, which is a stock bonus, which again, is a number of shares or percent based on your base. That often takes a few years to vest. So you’re building this right, but you don’t have it right that minute. And then depending upon what your severance or separation terms are.
You may be leaving money on the table when you leave if you are the one who chooses to leave. So to Aaron’s question in the chat, how do we best phrase a request to get compensation for what we’re leaving on the table? So if Aaron has unvested stock or a bonus that’s upcoming, but if she leaves to take this new offer, she won’t get that? How does one broach that discussion with the potential new employer? Right, right. I forgot your question. Correct? I hope?
Yeah. No, I mean, I think that obviously, my most of my experience has been in clinical. But I mean, this happens with like tail insurance a lot of the time and happens with really just what is the activation energy costs for me to leave my current position and join you? And I think that’s very valid, very valid to bring up like, look, this position seems amazing. I think that together, we could really accomplish XYZ things that they want you to do.
But in order to be are and like and better than but and in order to be able to do this, I’m going to need to address the fact that by leaving, I’m leaving behind, blah, blah, blah, blah, because then it can be on the front end of you coming into something else. So like, tail insurance is a big one that I see. And I’m an obstetrician.
So tail insurance can hurt a lot. I can’t tell you how many new grads that go to leave their first job. I’m like, I’ve only worked a year. And I’m like, yeah, it’s $72,000. I’m really sorry. They’re like, that’s like half of what I took home. I’m like, I know, it’s awful. I’m sorry, I didn’t meet you two years ago. But sometimes that can be worked into either nose insurance, which is the new insurance policy pulling it back or a bigger sign on.
So in your case, you could certainly anything you’re leaving behind can be leveraged of like, what one time bonuses or what better package, can I get here to compensate me for that and make it make it a yes. And I think that’s very reasonable.
And most companies have different buckets for things like set salary versus things that are a little more variable like bonuses or one time things, because like a one time sign on comes from a budget for one year, versus a salary is going to come from a budget every year, therefore thereafter. And so sometimes you can maneuver more on one than the other just depending on the culture of where you’re working.
If I can, if I can jump in there really quickly, too, because this is something I’ve recently done with a job when I left one pharma job and took another and a lot of pharma companies will offer you offer to make you whole, potentially, and to make you whole that means all I had to do is print out the stock that was waiting for me for the next few years.
And the two companies that I was negotiating with both offered to give me more than that. Now that’s not going to come to me next year. I’m not going to have it you know every year, but is a total package. It’s there for me once it vests. So that’s something you can you can at least reach out and say hey, I got a lot of stock options or I’ve got a lot of stock waiting for me. How can we work on that?
That’s super and I think that speaks to one of the comments in the chat about not having that get rolled into you telling them the salary you’re expecting. But so there’s a right time to have that conversation, right. And it’s after you have a job offer, and an initial compensation package, in my opinion, right before you start talking about additionally making you whole or other things like that. Go ahead, Sarah.
All right.I just wanted to ask a follow up question to Susan. So are you saying that, that in addition to whatever your long term incentive was with the new package, they were willing to add whatever you were going to be getting at your other company, but just haven’t had the opportunity to vest at all? To that?
Yes. Okay. Because I knew I’d be leaving a whole lot on the table, right? And they weren’t going to start, you know, every time you start a new job, that’s when your stock starts building up. And it’s going to take you a few years, you know, and for quite a while it’s like Monopoly money, because it just doesn’t add up. Until all of a sudden it’s there.
But yeah, no, they and they were quite willing to do that. And I will say, Marjorie, I would suggest that this is a discussion that you start having with the HR person that you’re talking with at the very beginning, because that is something that they made quite clear to me both both companies that I was going to potentially join made it very clear that they would make the hole.
And then yeah, right. Yes. I mean, for sure. Whenever you want to seek the information, I guess I wouldn’t. I was thinking more of like, I wouldn’t print out my actual stock folio.
Right? They didn’t get the details, until we were, you know, truly talking money. But conceptually, that was discussed early on.
Absolutely. And I think that’s fairly standard. I feel I’ve heard that as well. So that could be an interesting conversation for us, as a group for another time, if we want to get into like, does everyone have that same experience? I see a question in the chat, Linda from one of the folks on the call. I don’t know why I’m being all anonymous. It’s not anonymous.
And she’s saying, like, HR one? What’s that? Is this the HR one? Yeah, yeah, that’s what I’m looking at. Um, so I may need a phone, a friend for what typical is here. But typically, when I’m working with folks, whoever benefits from you being there is the one you’re explaining why you’re a perfect fit to, and then they’re your ally to whoever it is, that may be in charge of checking the boxes to make sure that compensation package happens. But that may be a little different in corporate, but most, I would imagine it would work fairly similarly. I mean, I think both of them are involved, because HR is going to have like the buckets of what standard is in the company and whatnot, but the hiring person is going to have an idea of what value you’re going to bring to the company.
So I think that sometimes these conversations if you don’t get anywhere, and my context is usually recruiters like, if you don’t get anywhere with a recruiter, I tell people reach out to your future partners and say, “Look, I would really love to take this opportunity, I think it’d be a great fit. But I’m having a hard time making this happen at the level of the recruiter at the level of HR. How can you help? Or how can you help me move this forward?”
I think it’s fair to say that the hiring manager who is your future boss is the person who really wants you or doesn’t, right? And the HR person is the person who’s like, well, here’s our standard package. But they’re also the person who has the organizational knowledge to say, what are the other buckets, like what could be possible?
So they can probably have that conversation with you. But if they’re, if they’re not getting you where you need to be, I wouldn’t give up until you’ve gotten a big note from the hiring manager. I think that’s fair. How can you negotiate without threatening the job offer itself. And then there’s some detail about how having once had a job offer and entering into negotiations, the literal offer was rescinded.
So I’ve seen an offer be rescinded once. And to be honest, it worked out beautifully, because the thing that they wouldn’t budge on was a deal breaker for her. So I think a little bit of it is knowing what are your deal breakers? And what are the things that you’re hoping for but a little bit more open to having a conversation. But I think a lot of it’s how you present it. If you’re like, look, this is how I can help your company.
This is the value I’m going to offer. I’d like to see blank for it. And then if they say, Well, this is what we offer. It’s reasonable instead of saying, well, that’s crap, I’m not going to work for that. I mean, obviously, that’s not going to go really well. And I don’t think this person did that. But I think you can kind of pivot from a positive sense of, you know, that’s a good jumping off point. But I really need it to be closer to this to offer the value.
How can we move the offer? So I like how how is a really powerful engaging word. So when you ask Ask questions How is always better than what is always better than why? Why makes us think of our toddler asking you why mom, and you only because I said so. Because you ask why 30 times. And so I think a lot of us have this very like internal cringe like nails on the chalkboard to why, and why is very, it tends to be a little more entitled, versus it’s hard to ask.
I’ve tried and I’ve not yet found some, it’s hard to ask in a reasonable tone of how question that’s not collaborative. So if I’m here, and you’re there, how can we bridge that gap? Or is there something? Can I learn a little more about the offer? Because I feel like we’re in different places? Maybe, maybe we need to regroup and kind of clarify things, because maybe you’re thinking two different things?
I don’t know. I mean, I think that engaging them into the conversation versus demanding, like, if they can’t get you something, well, how else could we accomplish getting this package to a place where it would be more attractive? How else could we approach this?
You’re, you’re asking in such a way that rescinding seems very counterproductive, or seems very extreme. And I think if somebody is that extreme, if you’re using collaborative language, that’s maybe a sign because I always think of and I’m an obstetrician, but I always think of the negotiation is like the fourth trimester of your interview period.
Like, it’s still letting them know, how do you engage in conversation? How do you react when you don’t get what you want? How do you react when you’re having to advocate like, there are a lot of things they can tell about you as a leader, and as an employee, because you guys are not coming in as entry level people. I mean, you may be entry level in whatever specific role but like you’re coming in as a physician with expertise.
And there’s some level of leadership even in the most early career role associated with that. And so if you can conduct yourself in a way, that you’re able to be really collaborative, you’re able to ask questions, and engage and kind of try to co create the position to make it work better.
You can really buy yourself a lot of credibility, I think, as to how you handle things. So I always think of it as a really beneficial thing to negotiate well, and there’s a follow up to this question, which was two parts? What do you think is the ideal timeframe for responding when it’s like, you know, you’re, they’ve they’ve put an offer, it’s time for you to get back to them?
And also, like, how do you suggest handling it? If it’s in the moment, right? Like, they haven’t emailed you a letter or something, but they’re on the phone with you. So I guess those are really, they’re two different questions. But I’m going to say them at the same time, because, and I’m going to address them out of order.
So the first or the second one. If they’ve got you on the phone, and they’re like so what do you think? I think it’s very reasonable, because you’re also wanting to show again, fourth trimester here, you’re wanting to show that you’re not somebody who’s impulsive and quick to make big decisions unless they need to be done quickly.
And this is not something that’s urgent, like it just isn’t, there’s no reality where this is urgent, no one’s coding. And so I think it’s very reasonable to say something to the effect of, you’ve given me a lot to consider, I really want to make sure that this is a sustainable long term relationship, I’m looking forward to a really effective partnership, whatever something that says like, I want this to be a good long term fit.
Because turnover is expensive for companies just as it isn’t for hospitals, maybe more. So it is for y’all too, because then they gotta train somebody who’s been clinical to be able to kind of shift into a different role. And so turnovers are expensive for them and in the long term are great for them.
And so if you can kind of present it from the idea of like, I want to be very thoughtful about this decision, and very deliberate, I’d love to take some time to talk about it. And from the response question, this kind of circles back to that there’s not really an ideal timeframe. But I do love at the end of the conversation to have the next conversation booked, because then there’s none of this really weird, like, they haven’t responded in a week, what does it mean? Like you just already have a time to circle back.
And so I think it’s reasonable at the end of a conversation to say, you know, I want to really give this consideration so that we can be deliberate about my choices. What are our next steps to move forward? And when can we schedule a time to circle back so we can close that loop? Right, and or who do I talk to, to schedule a time to circle back on that?
And then if they’re like, Oh, I just want you to email like, then they’ve answered the questions. So like a week later, you’re not like, “should I email, should I call like, should I zoom? Like, what should I do?” They’ve probably answered that already. It just eliminates so much drama and ambiguity on the front end, which is so much easier.
Yes. And I’m seeing here in the chat. The question is there anything considered improper to ask in a negotiation conversation, and a little bit of a comment that I think, if you want to speak to what one of our attendees says I just straight up asked, I asked what was negotiable, when trying to negotiate, it was helpful to know where to spend my time advocating. And I asked advice of a professional coach, do you have any reactions to that question or that comment?
Yeah, I mean, to me improper, this is your job, this is your livelihood, this is your time and feeding your family or saving up to go on bougie trips, or whatever you want to use your money for. I love all the things. So I don’t think anything’s improper, if it’s important for you to know, before you commit to this job.
So anything that would be important to you, for you to say, yes, you need to know, kind of like first dates, like you might not ask, and I always joke with my patients about this. But you might not ask like, Hey, were you a 10 pound baby on the first date, but maybe you should. Because somebody’s gonna have to birth those 10 pound babies’ offspring someday, maybe?
Like, there are things that may not be first state questions, but they’re important to ask before you get married. I think the same thing with a job like there may be things that we’re a little less comfortable just coming out with. But if it would make a difference in whether or not you accepted a position, I think that you need to ask it.
So I don’t think anything’s off limits. How you ask it is important, if it’s a little more delicate, and by delicate, I mean, either considered socially, not the norm, or if there was a mass exodus or a scandal in the company or something. I mean, I think you need to be wise about how you ask things, and be very neutral. But anything you need to make your decision?
Well, I don’t think I don’t think there are improper things. If that helps, then I think as far as advice on a professional coach is to what’s typically negotiable. Yeah, I mean, mentors are great. People who coach in that industry are great. Any, anytime you can find someone who’s more neutral than you to bounce things off of, there’s typically an advantage. And oftentimes, when I’m working with clients, like I don’t know anything about their job more than they do, but I lack the attachment to it the same way.
Like I can look at it as a very neutral thing. Because I’m not thinking like, Oh, this is the best opportunity I’ll ever give, and I don’t want to mess it up, I can just pull back and see data and be a mirror for that versus when you’re in things. I mean, the same reason coaches are good at any other thing. So whether that’s a mentor, a friend who will call you on your stuff, those are good, too.
You gotta be careful, though, because sometimes friends are like, “Yeah, you’re worth $100 million,” and so sometimes friends have bad advice. But I think a mentor or coach is a great person to talk to, or somebody who’s been in a similar position. And this group, it sounds like, is a really great sounding board of folks who have a lot to offer to that effect, as well. So use your resources 100%.
This sounds like a really great opportunity, as we’re nearing the top of the hour for me to ask you, Linda, to take a couple of minutes and just tell the group about your business. Because, you know, obviously the reason that you’re here is because you have expertise in this, I know you do help clients.
And any one of us either has colleagues or may one day be in a position where we need some help. So can you tell us a little bit about where people can find you and what kinds of stuff you offer?
Yeah, so I’m gonna drop the podcasts link in the chat, because that’s the easiest way to do that. So the easiest way to get to know me is a podcast. I have a podcast that drops every Thursday, it’s like 20 minutes, because I am a short and simple kind of gal. Like nobody has three hours to listen to me speak.
So we try to get to the quick and dirty on everything. So that’s a place where you can get free access to more information. I have a website. I’ll put that in the chat too. It’s just www.simplystreetmd.com.
I married my husband because he had a great last name, www.simplystreetmd.com
so that you can find me there and I work with people in a couple different ways.
The main two ways that would be applicable to you because MGMA payday payday doesn’t matter for y’all are either do one on ones where I do basically a strategy session, and it’s almost 90 minutes like you have to have coffee because it’s a little bit like intensive. But we basically plan an entire negotiation.
And we go through the things that I talked about. So like, Okay, what’s your leverage? What do you want? What are you hoping for? What will you take? What are they offering kind of how do you expect? They’ll say, No, we go through all those things together. And if you have questions on like, Well, how do I word this requests?
I can help with that because I spend a lot of time thinking about these things and kind of crowdsourcing them. So sometimes, I can help with language in a way that’s hard to do when you’re in the moment. I also did an extra certification in something called conversation intelligence, which has been super fun as a whole separate topic, but it’s about the neuro chemistry of Have a conversation.
And so there are actually data driven ways that certain ways you say things get different responses. And so that’s something I’m good at. And then I have a more comprehensive offering that plus a course and a group program for female physicians.
Thank you so much for coming, Linda to talk to us.
Thank you for having me. The more we can help each other, the better position we’re all going to be. So there you have it, Dr. Linda street on negotiation. I’m so grateful. She came on the show and I’m grateful to you for listening all through about 15 minutes. I know this is a longer episode than most, but I thought it was so full of value. I certainly hope you agree.
Before you go, please leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.