We’ve been on a Makin’ More Money kick on the podcast recently! This week, we bring you career advice from Amie Thompson, who spills the beans on salary negotiation and pro tips for asking for a raise!
Resources from this episode:
- SoundInterview.com, home to Amie Thompson’s work as a career and negotiations coach. You can also find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- More information from Robert Half’s 2018 study on who negotiates salaries
- The 2017 Jobvite study on salary negotiation, including the rad statistic that 84% of people who negotiate get more money.
- The Young Scrappy Money Academy Digital Subscription Service
- Young + Scrappy, home to Michelle’s work as a financial advisor and financial coach
INTRO: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome to the Young Scrappy Money podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Waymire. And each week, I’ll be bringing you tips and tricks to help you take control of your finances as well as interviews with people who made big financial changes in their own lives. So join us. And we’ll help you get your financial s**t together.
MICHELLE: Hey, everybody. Welcome. I am super excited to have you here today. We all know that this is a place where money nerds can celebrate together, where we are sharing tips and tricks and kind of getting into all the nitty-gritty of what to do with your money.
But for some of us, we’re still in the stage where we’re figuring out how to get the money. So in order to do a lot of the stuff that we talk about, sometimes it feels like you have to have money right out the gate. Obviously, that sort of becomes less of a financial consideration and more of a career consideration. And so in order to kind of bridge this divide, I’m really excited because with me today is a true, real-life career coach.
Amie Thompson is the owner of Sound Interview Professionals. So her company is an interview and resume coaching company. She serves clients all across the United States, though she’s based in Seattle. And she has helped hundreds of people land new jobs.
So when it comes to like making the monies, she is here to dish out all the dirt on the things that we need to know in order to make that happen. So thank you so much, Amie. I’m so excited to have you here.
AMIE: Thank you. I’m excited as well.
MICHELLE: So I know that you’re an expert on sort of salary negotiation and career change. So I want to— I want to start just getting a little bit more information about your background. Tell us more about how you got into this field and the work that you do with folks.
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. So I worked in corporate HR for a long time. I started my career working at a hotel in Seattle. Working there two months after I started, both of the HR managers quit. And it was just me and the HR director. So I got the down and dirty.
And a couple months later, I was promoted into one of those HR manager roles. Worked there for a couple years, and then I went to a big corporation, where my last job working there was HR for HR. They had about 500 HR people.
MICHELLE: So you were the hiring of the HR?
AMIE: Yes, yeah.
MICHELLE: Ooh, oooh, wow.
AMIE: So I was making sure our HR team, we were hiring all the right skills, and making sure that we were treating everybody kind of fairly across the team, making sure promotions were fair and equitable, that kind of stuff. Then, I went— I actually had a baby. And she was born pretty early while I was on vacation. And that’s a whole nother long story. But—
MICHELLE: Oh, what a— what a pleasant surprise.
AMIE: Yeah, surprise. Um, so by the time my leave was up, I was not ready to go back to work. So I left corporate, and I became a stay-at-home mom for a while and started going crazy. And so in that, I found the thing that I liked the most about HR and working with other people in that kind of space was really helping people get jobs.
AMIE: Giving them interview tips, having people come to me and say, oh my gosh, I did it. Thank you so much for your help. I got the job. Really helping people further their careers, so that’s how Sound Interview Professionals was born. I started my own business helping people prepare for interviews, preparing their resumes, and really just getting ready to make those career transitions.
MICHELLE: Yeah, that’s awesome. Because this is, in my personal experience, the most intimidating part of making money in the entire world. I had a terrible experience finding my first job out of college. It ended so poorly that that’s how I got my master’s in business is I went back to school like, there’s no way I’ll ever put myself in a situation again where I can’t find a job. And so I’m basically looking at you right now, I mean metaphorically looking at you across the Skype interwebs, and thinking, you are a a real-life wizard to know how interviews and resumes and getting jobs work. Because that is really difficult.
AMIE: Yeah, yeah. It’s stupid hard. And it sucks for a lot of people. So I get to help people find jobs. And that’s like the best job that I could have.
MICHELLE: Yeah. That’s so good. You’re like a Mount Everest guide or somebody who helps people find jeans that make their butt look good. Like you are doing good work, my friend.
AMIE: Thank you.
MICHELLE: Um, so let’s— let’s get right in. And I want to start actually— if you don’t mind, let’s start with like the salary negotiation stuff first just because I feel like most people who are listening, you know, might not be in the career of their dreams right now. But chances are they’re either looking for a new job or at a place where, you know, they might have to negotiate a salary in some context at some point. So why should somebody negotiate their salary when they start a new job? Like what’s the goal of negotiating your salary?
[00:05:05] AMIE: For sure. So the goal of negotiating your salary is really to get a bigger base salary. Because your base salary is what your performance increases are— your annual raises are based on. Usually, you get a percentage of that from a salary raise perspective. So the more you can get in a base, the bigger your raises are, the more salary growth potential you have over your entire career.
MICHELLE: Oh my gosh. I did not even think about that. I mean, we all know that making more money on the front end is awesome. But I didn’t even think about that if a raise is percentage-based, then that impacts basically all of your increases from there on out. That’s wild.
AMIE: It’s crazy. And it can make a huge difference throughout the life of a career.
AMIE: One of the things we talk about a lot is the wage gap and how women tend to make less money than men. And it’s really interesting because women also tend to negotiate less.
MICHELLE: Oh, wow. Do you have any statistics on like the— how frequently women negotiate or what the impact of that decision not to negotiate is?
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. So Robert Half did a study in 2018. And what they found was only 39% of people, kind of in general, negotiate salaries. And when it comes to men, it’s 46% that are negotiating. But only 35% of women negotiate. So it’s almost half of men that are negotiating and about a third of women that are negotiating.
MICHELLE: Yeah. So I— I want to talk about how one should prepare for a salary negotiation. But I think maybe it would be useful to even take a step back and talk about what the salary negotiation process tends to look like. So how— how do you negotiate a salary?
AMIE: Yeah. What happens?
AMIE: So the best thing I can tell people is you don’t want to bring up salary during an interview. Right? Um, it’s not the place or the time. Usually, you want to entice the hiring manager. You want them to want you before you start talking about money. And so if they— if they bring up money in the interview, then it’s OK to talk about it.
But otherwise, you wanna wait till you get that offer on your plate. Typically, an offer is usually done either over the phone or via email in these days and age. And you’ll get, in most cases, like a formal offer letter. You will always want to wait till you get that letter in writing before you can kind of go into those negotiations.
AMIE: Because there’s a lot of other benefits that kind of weigh into that decision. You want to know what your bottom line is when you’re interviewing so that you can have an idea where they’re at. And a lot of cases, like the recruiter will call you even before the job starts and say, you know, what are your salary expectations?
And that can be a really tricky question too, if you get that upfront. Or in some states, it’s still legal for people to ask, you know, what was your past salary? Hopefully soon, that will be a question that people can’t ask across the board. But until then, you kind of— the first person to name a number in a negotiation is the one who loses, in a lot of cases. So you want to—
MICHELLE: I always felt like those questions were a trap, you know, when they ask you what your— what your past salary is or how much money you want to make. I always— I am not a super aggressive person. So I’m always like, how much money do you want me to make? Right?
AMIE: Yeah, yeah. You want to try and avoid answering that question at that point, things— telling them like, I trust that you guys are gonna pay a fair salary or market competitive, you know. And worst case, if they really push you, you kind of want to give them a broad range. Right? Starting with the lowest range is your target salary and then go, you know, $15,000 to $20,000 above that.
MICHELLE: Ooh, that’s great. So don’t come on in with like the top number being what you want. Make sure that the bottom number is what you want.
MICHELLE: So that hopefully, you get more than what you want.
AMIE: Yeah. They’re always gonna come in at the bottom number.
MICHELLE: That’s true.
AMIE: Their— their goal is to pay you and get that labor for as low as they can. Right? And your goal is to make as much money as you can. So you always want to give them that low number as kind of your minimum.
MICHELLE: OK. So how do you— now that we kind of know how it works, you know, how do you go about, like once you’ve gotten the offer, actually negotiating the salary? How do you prepare for that?
[00:09:50] AMIE: For sure. So I recommend— you want to try and avoid like back and forth and back and forth with them. Because all that does is really just frustrate people. And so what I would say in a counteroffer situation is really know why you deserve more money. Right? So look at the job description, and look at all of the bullets that they’re asking for, and talk about your own experience and how you’re exceeding that, what you’re bringing to the table.
If they’re asking for a bachelor’s degree, and you have a master’s degree, make sure you’re talking about that. So really lay out what it is that you’re bringing forward in this counteroffer. Lay out everything that you want— be it an increased base, be it more vacation time, be it stock options, be it a signing bonus. All of those things, all of those benefits, are negotiable.
But try to lay it all out in the beginning so that they can review the entire package. Typically, on our side, we have to go back and get some sort of approvals. Right? Before we can just say, oh, yeah, sure, you know, I’ll give you an extra 20 grand. No big deal. Um, there’s— there’s quite the process involved.
And so for us, for the hiring managers, to go back and forth and back and forth on our side too, it’s just— it can be really tiring. So try and just get it out there. You know, don’t see it as an adversarial relationship either. Like they’re a buyer. You’re a seller. You’re offering a skill. They’re trying to bring that into the workforce.
Try to— try to see it as a positive, you know, engagement. It’s not— you’re not buying a car or anything like that. Like it’s not an us versus them thing. Hopefully, we’re working towards a relationship where we’re both happy. We both feel like we’ve won.
MICHELLE: I love your point about that salary technically has a number of components. Because even in a situation where the employer maybe legitimately cannot afford to pay you what you want— I mean, then it’s maybe a question of, is it actually worth being with that employer? But if it’s like the perfect job for you, and they can’t quite meet your salary goals, I love that you mentioned all of the other benefits involved, and vacation days, and kind of the other components of your compensation that might be up for negotiation in a way that we don’t necessarily anticipate that they are.
AMIE: Yeah. Definitely everything has a dollar sign attached to it, right? And some of it could be even down to like what you wear to work or how often you have to be in the office, right? A lot of people would take a lower salary if they could work from home one day a week.
MICHELLE: Oh, yeah, for sure. Any other good ones like that? I mean, vacation days and working from home, that’s like the millennial’s pinnacle— for me at least.
AMIE: Right, right. Um, sometimes it’s a cellphone. Sometimes it’s, you know, transportation benefits, parking. It depends on where you work. But there’s a lot of things kind of that go— that can be negotiated.
MICHELLE: OK. So they make the offer. You kind of do your research, and get your ducks in a row, and make the counteroffer. And then you— how do you deliver that information to them? I assume email because it’s 2019.
AMIE: You know, usually it starts with an email, and then they’ll call you. And they’ll want to talk through it. Sometimes it’s a phone call. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with and what your preferred communication style is. For me, I’d rather do it in an email because that gives me time to think. And it gives me time— I don’t feel like I’m put on the spot.
MICHELLE: Yes. The idea that I would be on a call with somebody trying to verbally give them my not demands— you know what I mean— my requests, I feel like even though I’ve gotten a lot braver since I got my first job at 22, I still, even now at the ripe, old, wise age of 30, would always rather have 500 words to carefully craft my argument in the written— in the written form.
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. It’s definitely easier via email. Plus, then you have a written record of what they’ve committed to.
MICHELLE: Oh, that’s great.
AMIE: That you can fall back on if there are any questions.
MICHELLE: So if you give them the counteroffer— I think a lot of people are just terrified to write and send a counteroffer. Like you press that send button, and your heart seizes up. And you’re like, what have I done? Um, so what usually happens then? I mean, presumably employers can either say, yes, you can have those things, or, no, you can’t.
AMIE: Or they’ll meet you in the middle. Yeah. In a lot of cases, you know, when people do negotiate, they— there was a Jobvite study in 2017 that said 84% of people who negotiate get more money. So your odds of getting something bigger or something better are pretty high.
And of those 84% of people, 20% of those got a raise that were between 11% and 20%. So take 10, 15 minutes to write this counteroffer. And you’re increasing your base rate by up to 20%. That’s a really— that’s the most money you’re gonna make per hour in your entire career.
[00:15:01] MICHELLE: What? OK. If I— if somebody had told me that I could make more money— if I had an 85% chance of making more money just by saying, can I please have more money?— there’s like no other life scenario where that’s the case.
AMIE: Yeah, yeah. It’s crazy. And only 40% of people are doing it.
MICHELLE: Well, d**n. Listen up, folks who are listening. You better get out there and kick down— don’t kick down the door. That’s rude and impolite. Um, send a carefully worded email kicking down the metaphorical door in asking for more money.
AMIE: Yeah, definitely. Um, it’s— it’s so worth it. And I mean, what’s the worst that they can say?
MICHELLE: No. You’re dead to us. Go. You have—
AMIE: Well, a lot of— a lot of people worry too that— that they’re gonna get the job offer pulled. Right? Sometimes people are afraid like, well, if I counter, what if they change their mind? I’ve seen that happen one time in my career. We were offering an individual a— I want to say— let’s say $60,000 salary for kind of an entry-level administrative type of role. This person came back and said that they wanted $120,000.
MICHELLE: Ewww, that’s so much money.
AMIE: Double, double their salary. We said, you know, respectfully, no. We’ll give you $65,000. And the person said, OK, $65,000 is fine. I want a $100,000 signing bonus.
And at that point, this person was so out of touch that we were like, ugh, there’s no way. Like we’re just gonna pull the offer and cut our losses. That was the only time I’ve ever seen an offer pulled because somebody countered.
MICHELLE: So it wasn’t necessarily that somebody countered, and it made you pull. It was like somebody said, please pay me an executive-level salary for an entry-level job.
AMIE: For an entry-level job.
MICHELLE: And that’s why you pulled.
MICHELLE: OK. Well, that’s plausible.
AMIE: Generally, I like to tell people you want to counter within, you know— 15% to 20% is usually good. Or, you know, $10,000, depending on where you’re at and what you’re making, is an acceptable kind of space to play with from the counter perspective.
MICHELLE: Yeah. So I love that example of how somebody took the risk— as we say in the South, bless their heart— and the preparation did not pay off. Can you give a couple of other examples of salary negotiations that have been particularly successful? So either people that you hired or maybe people that you’ve coached before?
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. I had one client. He was a software engineer. And he was laid off in December. Unfortunately, hiring in December is kind of a rough time because most people are not thinking about hiring. They’re thinking about the holidays, and closing out the year, and starting the new year.
But this guy got pretty lucky and had an interview. Um, he took his— he went through the interview process and ended up taking a new role. He was able— they wanted to— they asked him what he had made in the past. And he was able to skirt the question and raise his base rate by $30,000.
So laid off, got severance, through some coaching was able to counteroffer. And I think they had offered $15,000 over what his past salary was. And so he doubled that. Two years later, he took a new job. They again were in a situation where they wanted him to name the number first.
And this wasn’t face to face. So he kind of pulled this random number out of the air. And they came under that, but it still increased his base by another $20,000. So in two and a half years, he raised his salary by 50 grand.
MICHELLE: Wow. So just to be clear, like it is not ethical or technically legal for companies to ask your past salary?
AMIE: It depends on where you live, actually. There are states that it’s not legal— New York, Washington, California, to name a few. But if you’re not in one of those states, they can ask. It’s not— it’s not great. And it’s really not a recommended practice. Federally, I don’t see it happening under this administration.
MICHELLE: Eh, ah. But you can say it. You can say it on this podcast. That’s fine. You’re— you’re not wrong though.
AMIE: But hopefully in the next couple of years, it will become a federal law.
[00:19:58] MICHELLE: OK. So I mean, technically speaking— I mean, it’s— hmm. I’m not sure the best way to delicately phrase that. It’s not the best thing to lie during a job application or interview. But in a state where they’re— where you’re not legally required to tell them the answer to that question, there— I mean, there’s not anything stopping you from telling them a number that’s higher.
AMIE: Ugh, that’s a bad idea though. You really— you just want to avoid the question if you can.
AMIE: Like get away from it. Don’t— don’t give them an answer. You don’t want to lie. Because if they find out you lied, and then, you know, six months later, they’re looking for a reason to fire you, that—
MICHELLE: So better to be sneaky and dodge the question than risk the fact that when they’re actually calling references, and they say, can we contact your old supervisor?— if they cross-reference, then you’ll be in the clear.
MICHELLE: OK. That’s cool.
AMIE: So, yeah, usually they’ll ask, you know, what are your salary expectations? Instead of, what are— what did you make in your last job?
AMIE: And that’s— that’s better because you want to give them a range. Right? Instead of saying, you know, I used to make this. And don’t ever offer that information up either. Because what you made at your last company has no basis on what you’re gonna make in your new role— unless they’re offering you something that’s under what you made at your last company.
Then you can say, well, hey, you know, company B paid me $100,000. And you guys are only offering $80,000. Like what gives?
MICHELLE: Mm, yeah. That’s great. So that’s not information that you wanna offer unless it explicitly helps you, helps build your case?
AMIE: Mm-hmm. Exactly.
MICHELLE: OK. Awesome.
MID-ROLL ADVERTISEMENT: If you love the Young Scrappy Money podcast, you’ll love our digital subscription service. For less than the cost of your gym membership, you get access to our whole suite of classes, workbooks, a private Slack channel, and more. Check us out online at www.youngscrappymoney.com.
MICHELLE: Kind of along the same lines, I know salary negotiations are intimidating but useful if you’re getting a new job. What about if you are negotiating a raise at a current employer? Because, I mean, that’s a form of negotiation. What advice would you give to someone in that scenario?
AMIE: That’s a little bit more tricky. Um, there are some companies that don’t negotiate internal salaries at all. So it can be— it can be hard. And it depends. Like there’s a couple of different ways to get raises at a company.
One is when you’re getting your performance review every year, and you’re getting kind of that cost-of-living raise or the performance raise. And usually that’s between 2% and 5%. And the second opportunity is when you’re changing jobs or levels, so if you’re getting promoted or moving into a different organization within the company. And sometimes, you can negotiate there.
You, um— you definitely want— again, when it comes back to the negotiation, you want to talk about all of the things that you’re bringing to the table with that, so be it— you know, maybe you got a master’s degree while you were working. Or maybe you took some extra certifications or training. And so definitely highlight those. But know that it is more of a challenge to negotiate when you’re already working there because they’re already— they’ve already got you.
MICHELLE: Yeah, no, that’s true. That’s true.
AMIE: So they have less incentive to try and give you more money, unfortunately.
MICHELLE: Yeah. That’s a great point. And I think I’m also coming from the perspective of— sometimes I work with clients on the coaching side who will talk about income. And I’ll notice— again, you know, I’m not a career expert by any means. But I’ll kind of get pinged on, that salary feels like it’s quite low for the type of job that I know you’re doing, or the type of work that I know you’re doing.
And sometimes I’ll talk about it with them. And it’ll turn out like they’ve not gotten a raise of any kind in five years or something, like not a cost-of-living raise. Or they’ve taken on new responsibility and just have not received any more compensation for it. Then I think it’s maybe a little bit easier to negotiate the raise. Or it’s a sign that your current employer is also trying to take you to the cleaners.
AMIE: Right. Yeah. In that case, like if you’ve been in a role for more than a year, and you haven’t gotten a raise, and nobody’s mentioned it, it’s something that you really have to take charge of. Right?
Sit down for your mana— with your boss and say, hey, look, here’s the deal. Like I’ve been in this role. Here’s all the great things that I’ve done. You’re bringing on new people. You have X number of open jobs. Pay me more
AMIE: But, yeah, you have to advocate for yourself in the workplace if you’re not seeing that kind of— that kind of movement. Most large corporations have, you know, review processes in place. But if you’re working for a smaller, you know, less than 200 people kind of organization, you really have to get on them and bother them if they don’t have that in place.
[00:25:09] MICHELLE: Yeah. I will say that the one time that I got a raise when I was working in my corporate job, I was super grateful. Because my boss came to me and was like, I want you to do more job and more work and more time. Here is the more money that we are willing to give you for this. And I was like, OK, good talk.
MICHELLE: Like, you know, shook hands, came to an understanding of like, yes, I am willing to do more job for that much more money. Um, and I’ve never had to negotiate a raise before. So I think that’s good perspective that you’re providing.
AMIE: For sure.
MICHELLE: I also have a follow-up question kind of— kind of based on something that I saw a lot about on your website. So I know that when you’re going through the salary negotiation process for the first time, so much of that is email or maybe phone. But it’s rare that you would be sitting across the table from somebody in a salary negotiation on the front end.
But with a current employer, if you’re negotiating a raise, you might actually be in a situation where you are sitting in person with somebody. And so I know you also do some work with like body language and making sure that your body language reflects what you are trying to say. Do you have any tips for how to sort of manage your body language if you’re trying to talk to your boss about negotiating a raise?
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. If you’re in an office trying to negotiate a raise with your boss, and you’re slouched over, and your arms are crossed, and your legs are crossed, and you’re taking up as little space as you can, your boss is not gonna think very highly of your confidence in the negotiation. So you want to, you know, make sure that you’re sitting up straight, that your feet are flat on the ground, that you’re making really good eye contact, and that you’re assertive.
You don’t want to be aggressive in your salary negotiation. Because you don’t want to, you know, come across as overly cocky or intimidating or anything like that— no threatening behavior.
AMIE: But definitely, you know, you have to believe that you are worth the extra money that you’re asking for. Because if you don’t believe it, chances are the hiring manager isn’t gonna believe it either.
MICHELLE: Yeah. So what does that look like in practice? I mean, is that like power poses in front of a mirror? Is that getting your brain right so that you have self-confidence? I mean, do you have any tips for— for building confidence?
AMIE: Yeah, no, I’m a huge fan of, you know, kind of the fake it till you make it. Like you want to practice the skill prior to going into the interview or the conversation with your boss. Because, you know, if this is the first time you’re trying it on, it’s gonna feel very awkward.
So, you know, go walk around a car dealership and be assertive in telling them no and walking away so that you get that practice and that comfort level working with other people. You want to practice in the mirror. The power posing is a great strategy, you know, to hype yourself up before you get into any kind of difficult conversation.
But know that like you’re not asking for something that’s absurd. You’re asking that you’re paid more equitably, or more fairly, for the work that you’re doing. That’s not something that is unfair. And if they say no, you need to know what your plan is.
Like if you’re in an organization, and you’re not feeling valued for the work that you are doing, and you don’t feel like you’re being paid fairly, and they tell you they’re not going to give you any more money, then what is plan B? Think through those things before you go into that conversation. And be prepared. Along with that, I always recommend updating your resume every—
MICHELLE: (LAUGHING) You’re right. You’re so right.
AMIE: But by going through and updating your resume when you’re— when you’re going into this kind of conversation, you really will be able to capture— you wanna capture the accomplishments that you’ve performed in the job before you go in to this negotiation so that you can really talk about this. Like, hey, you know, I led this big initiative. And I was able to save the company 20% on X,Y,Z product. And I’d like to see some of that from a compensation perspective.
Right? You guys are saving, you know, $5 million a year. And here I am making 80 grand. And I’ve been making 80 grand for the past five years. But I just saved you a whole lotta money, so can you grow that piece of the pie for me a little?
MICHELLE: Yeah. And I feel like that’s a win-win too. Because doing your resume forces you to think about the projects you’ve worked on and the results that have come from that project. But then worst-case scenario, they say no. And then you have a sweetass resume to send to other people who will actually value your time and skills.
[00:29:58] AMIE: Exactly, exactly. Don’t walk out of the interview— or that, the negotiation, and quit your job, though. Don’t give them an ultimatum. Because you want to make sure that you have your eggs in a— your ducks in a row and everything lined up before you— if you do decide to jump ship. Just don’t make any brash decisions in the middle of those conversations.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Or don’t make an ultimatum that you’re not willing to follow through on.
MICHELLE: Like know that if somebody calls your bluff, you’re like, welp, bye. But you actually better be prepared— better be prepared to say goodbye.
AMIE: Yeah, for sure.
MICHELLE: So I think that’s a good segue. I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about career change. So if you are in that position where you feel like you better get a heckin raise or it’s not even worth staying there anymore, or you’re just looking for a change at work, feeling kind of corporate burnout or something like that, let’s kind of talk about career change for a second. So what are some of the big reasons why you have seen people potentially looking to switch careers?
AMIE: So, yeah, I mean, there’s a couple of different things when you say switching careers. You can be switching industries. You can be getting into a completely different role. I have a lot of clients that come to me. And they’re saying, you know, hey, I’ve been an accountant for the last five years. And now I wanna be a teacher. Can you help me make this change?
There’s, you know, switching companies. There is getting promotions. Career change can be really very encompassing of a lot of different things. As far as a company perspective, you know, after you’ve been at a company for like seven years, you kind of start— stop learning industry transferable knowledge. And you really just get that tribal knowledge from the organization.
You’re not really gaining things that will benefit you outside. And so that seven-year point, if you’ve been with a company for seven years, it’s kind of one of those decision points in your life where you wanna ask yourself, is this the place I see the rest of my career being? Or is it time to move on?
In addition to that, you know, people switch careers to make more money. Right? If you’re in a corporation where you’re getting these 3% to 5% raises every year, you can go, you know, leave the company, get a new job, make a 15% to 20% raise just by taking a different job.
AMIE: So, you know, and sometimes people— they have— we have this thing, term, called boomerang employees, where people go, and they work in a company for a while. And then they leave. They go do something else. And then five years later, they come back. And typically, when they come back, they’re offered more money than when they left. So.
MICHELLE: That’s super interesting. I have not heard the seven years before. It’s— I think it’s hard for me to— well, now that I feel like I’ve found the career that like I’m really, really into— if you would ask me in my first job, all you have to do is stay here seven years, and then you’ll know everything there is to know about this role, I was like, that’s not worth it.
Um, so, yeah, I mean, I made the career change from— teaching is actually how I started and then to financial services, which was the right move for me and the right move for America’s youth. I love teaching, but I hate discipline.
AMIE: Changing jobs, moving around, it’s not bad. You know, our baby boomers and the generations before them, they wanted to work in a job for 30 years or 50 years and then retire from it. But what we’re seeing now is, with the gig economy, people are, you know, taking jobs and doing jobs for a year or two years, moving on.
There’s a lot of churn kind of in the system. And from an individual career perspective and a salary perspective, that is the best way to increase your salary quickly is to take a couple of different roles.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Well, and not to get too far on my financial soapbox here, but, I mean, it’s a lot easier to justify working the same place for 50 years if you get a sweet pension at the end.
MICHELLE: So how should somebody approach that big decision? Like what— what factors— if you’re coaching somebody who’s looking to switch careers, what do you tell them to consider in order to make that decision?
AMIE: The first thing I would ask is why. Why are you looking to switch careers? What is— what is motivating that? Is it because you want to do something different? Is it because you hate your boss? Is it because you think the grass is greener on the other side?
And in getting that answer, there’s a lot of insight there. You know, a lot of people will quit jobs because they hate their boss. Most— the number one reason people leave is because of a leader that they don’t like. And so with that, you want to avoid, you know, going into work on a Thursday, and your boss saying something you don’t like, and exploding and walking out, you know, burning that bridge.
[00:35:09] You definitely want to take your time and do the research as far as what the market looks like, what people are making from a salary perspective, what companies you’d like to work for. From there, I would definitely recommend, you know, trying to do some informational interviews. Right? So before you commit to a company, or before you decide that that’s a place that you want to work, what are people— are people happy there?
What do they like about their work? What do they hate about their work? You know, the more kind of informational interviews, and the more you can kind of talk to people about that, the better gauge you’ll have on, is this a place that I want to work? Or is this a career that I want to move into?
MICHELLE: I actually once went to— I think it was some sort of lecture or talk on career-related stuff. And one thing that I thought was really interesting— because they had recommended the informational interview as well. And they said it had the double-edged purpose, or not double-edged sword— whatever. Two birds, one stone, you get my metaphor.
That not only does it enable you to figure out what’s going on in a company and whether you might be a good fit for their culture, but it also allows you to get to know people within that company so that in the event that you do decide to put in an application, or you do decide to contact them about a job, you have somebody in your corner who’s met with you in person already, or over coffee or video conference or whatever, who can say, yes, I met this person. They are great. They’re interesting to talk to. They have good perspective on life or skills, whatever it is that you bring to the table. That you kind of get like a sneaky opportunity to show somebody within that company before you’re even showing your resume off.
AMIE: Oh, yeah, sure. Informational interviews are gold. Because people generally don’t mind talking to you about their job, and what they like, and maybe even what they don’t like about the company. It’s a truly great way to gauge and even potentially see the inside of the company if they’re willing to meet with you at their office.
MICHELLE: Yeah, that’s great.
AMIE: Really observe that workplace. And then, yeah, later on down the road, if you do find a role that you’re interested in, or maybe a role pops up that they see, they’re gonna call you and say, hey, I think you’d be great for this role. I’d love it if you apply.
AMIE: So networking is very powerful in the job transition perspective.
MICHELLE: Awesome. Beyond networking and informational interviews, do you have any other tips for making that a smooth transition?
AMIE: Yeah, for sure. Um, one of the things that people— that often will happen with somebody when they give their two weeks’ notice to an employer is that their current employer will offer them a counteroffer or, you know, what’ll it take to get you to stay? In most cases, that is really not a good thing. If you’re leaving the company, you don’t want to accept a counteroffer. Because more money isn’t gonna fix the problem or the reason you’re leaving.
With that, you wanna try to avoid burning bridges with your current employer. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you might have to come back and say, hey, you know, are you guys hiring? So try to avoid burning those bridges. A lot of industries are pretty small. And word gets around pretty quickly. And so you want to avoid getting blacklisted or anything like that in your career.
MICHELLE: Yeah. And then I think, you know, at this point, we’ve really gotten a lot of good information out there in terms of salary negotiation, and raises, and career changes, and all the good stuff. Any other key takeaways or just general career wisdom for our listeners?
AMIE: Yeah, sure. So, you know, I’d say that it’s— change is scary. And most of the— one of the number one reasons people don’t leave jobs is because they’re— they don’t want to rock the boat or shake things up. But right now, unemployment is at an all-time low.
There are more open jobs than there are workers. So it’s an employee market right now. So if you are considering, you know, exploring the the job market and seeing what’s out there, it’s a really, really good time to get out there— and even consider those salary negotiation conversations with your boss, if you are internal.
Um, it costs a lot of money to hire somebody— up to, you know, six months of their salary. So companies would rather keep you if they can. And money is important. So it’s easy to have those conversations right now and definitely worth it to try and see what’s out there.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Dude, thank you. This has been awesome. I’m so excited that you unfolded your brain and like laid it all out on the table for us. So, Amie, thank you so much for joining us.
[00:39:53] That was awesome. I know that you are the owner of Sound Interview Professionals, like I said at the beginning. But if folks wanna find you online and learn more about your work, how can they do that?
AMIE: Um, yeah. So they can go to soundinterview.com. Or they can hook up with me on LinkedIn, Amie Thompson on LinkedIn. And you can also follow me on Facebook. We have a Facebook page for Sound Interview as well as Twitter, @SoundInterview on Twitter.
MICHELLE: Awesome. Sweet. So, y’all, if you want to make the good monies, if you wanna go and make the good bucks, go hire this gal. And she’s gonna— she’s gonna help you do that. So thanks for listening, y’all. I appreciate you tuning in.
Please, please, please continue to give us your likes and your feedback. We so very much appreciate it when you tell your friends about us. Because then we get to do more of what we do best, which is bring you all those good money nerd talks that you desire. So thanks again for tuning in. I hope you have a great weekend.
END CREDITS: I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. If you want to read about my work as a financial advisor and financial coach, you can do so at www.youngandscrappy.com. That’s www.youngandscrappy.com. Thanks again for listening.