I’m going to try to walk a tightrope here…
I was offered a job a couple of weeks back. I guess I didn’t shoot high enough when they asked for a target salary (mistake #1), because the offer is lower than I asked for (expected, I suppose), and after crunching the numbers, it’s not enough to fund the lifestyle my family’s settled into over the last several years. The upshot is that they give substantial bonuses at the end of the year. I’ll also be traveling a lot more than their other employees (my choice), and they’re going to cover all of my travel expenses. When I was given the official offer, they cited the bonus and the travel as reasons the offer was lower than I’d asked for, although I was aware of both things when I laid my target salary on the table and had already factored them into my request. I’m not sure I made that clear to them, though.
The problem is that I’ve made the cardinal mistake of falling in love with the job. I like the company, I like the work arrangements, I like the work, and I really don’t want to work anywhere else. I’d honestly rather take this lower offer than make 15% more than what I’m asking for anywhere else.
So here’s my dilemma. I think if I ask for more, there’s a good chance I’ll get it. I’m willing to tell them that I’ll do whatever I can to keep travel costs down if it means more money in my pocket. If they don’t bite, though, then what? I really don’t want to lose the offer. If they just say no and I have to accept the original offer, I’d do it (great position to be in when negotiating, eh?), but I’m worried about how that will set the tone for the rest of my employment. Any insight on how small companies respond to counter-offers would be great.
Also, I’d honestly like to insist on my initial request. Should I drop that by a little bit as a sign of good faith?