I need advice for a pending job offer

Hello dopers…constant lurker here…this is my 2nd started thread, the other one being the ask the National Spelling Bee Champ from a couple months ago.

I am in need of some advice regarding what MAY be a pending job offer.

As background, I currently work for a temp agency. The temp agency keeps over half of the pay from the company I work for and I am left with the remainder. I state this not to complain, just to show that I am capable of handling jobs that command reasonably high pay.

I am going to try to keep this as brief as possible to avoid tldr.

Currently I make $12 an hour. This is sufficient to pay my bills, but I live very cheaply and can not think about dating, moving to a better place, etc. So while I do want to improve my position, I am not in a situation of having to take a job immediately.

Recently I had a job interview. I think it went very well, it lasted 2 hours on a Friday afternoon from 4-6pm. I believe I will hear back from them later this week.

The posted job salary was $28,000-$34,000. This is probably in line with my market value (I have a non-business degree, have good work experience, no red flags, the right answers to the tough questions).

Compensation was not discussed during the interviews. On the post-interview application I stated $32,000 as desired salary. Upon sleeping on it, while I would be satisfied with that salary in the near future, I am not sure I would want to be making that 5 years from now.

The problem is that the company is very small (~15 people). The lady who would be my direct supervisor worked in my position for 7 years. So, I cannot expect there will be any chances for promotion.

TLDR - I’m worth about 28-34, the job seems fine, it would be a significant raise for me (discretionary income would go from around $200 a month to $700 a month) but I think I could get that elsewhere

So am I stupid for not just taking the money? Or am I stupid for taking the money and possibly locking myself into a dead end $32k job until I start looking again?

As a possible compromise, if offered the job should I ask the policy towards raises and say “If there are no raises or promotions I want to start at 36.”?

It’s tough. Usually I can figure out decisions like this on my own, but given the importance and uncertainties I would like your guys advice if you would be kind of enough to give it.


Asking for the max amount is not saying that you expect to be making that same amount in five years. In fact, to me it says that you are willing to work hard and hope to move up. However, don’t be surprised if they offer you the job at slightly less than you requested. Also by starting at the high end of the pay model, you may not get any raise the first year.


Take the job at the salary you requested (which will almost certainly be the offer), work there two years, then start interviewing for the next step up. Your company can either decide to match, or you can move on.

A full time job with a steady salary is better than temping, and in this economy, you’re extremely lucky. In a couple of years, things will look different.

Welcome again to the boards!

Ok, out of curiosity, I’m not in this type of job hunt, but is waiting two years even necessary? That seems long to me. My guess would be six months, and if you don’t like your pay, start sending that resume out and interviewing. What’s the worst that could happen?

With smaller companies, they usually have a cap on what they can pay - but they often pay that amount even if you asked for less.

In other words, I wouldn’t worry a whole lot about what you asked for vs what you get - chances are good they are paying you what they can afford to pay you.

Not all companies are that honest, but I think the majority are. Besides, I think they would know how pissed off you would be if you later find out everyone else is getting more money than you simply because you didn’t ask for it.
Personally, I find the question “how much do you want to earn” an unfair request. I mean, unless you have some rare/exceptional ability, you shouldn’t have to put yourself in the position of playing poker with Human Resources.

You end up with a resume that looks bad to prospective employers because you jump from job to job. I’ve stayed less than 2 years at a job but only once, because I was recruited by a former co-worker to join a thriving start-up. Jumping from job to job, especially early in your career, can be a limiting career move.

Sure. I understand that much. But I’m surprised it means that much in this day in age. If the next company is willing to hire you for a better salary with only 6 months or so experience under your belt, hey…move on. What do you care as long as you are progressing salary-wise and experience-wise from job to job?

I’m a freelancer working on a project basis and every time I get a call from someone headhunting for permanent positions, they worry that I’ve got so many “jobs” where I “only stayed for a few months”.

Until end of contract, duh. I’ve had projects ranging in length between 1 week and 1 year, it’s how long the contract is (I don’t list the shortest ones).

I wasn’t able to get a mortgage with ING because I “had changed jobs in the last 3 years”. I’d been doing the same stuff in different projects, with higher rates every time, but hey, since I hadn’t been working at the same desk for 3 years, I was financially unreliable :stuck_out_tongue:

Moving to IMHO since you’re asking for advice.

On the contrary, it’s early in your career when you can get away with jumping from job to job. If you’re switching every few months, that’s a red flag. But a year or two in a role is plenty for your first few “real” jobs. Employers think its normal.

OP, good luck with the job. My only advice is to keep an open mind should the offer come back lower than you were hoping. Your ask is higher than the midpoint of the range - where I work we don’t hire people at the top end of the range unless we plan to promote them to the next salary band in the next year or two.

Take the job. Even if you can’t move up in this company, you’ll learn skills and an industry. Small places can be better for that because you can cross-train more easily.

A couple of thoughts:

Take the job, when they make an offer below the $32k, you politely ask for 5% more, they will come back with 3% more, consider accepting that offer.

You are currently at $12/hr, and now 32K isn't better than that? ??? :confused: Bottom line, it's a job - you go into work and work, then they pay you. Just like you have now, except it's a lot more .

Don’t forget, in your temp job you are not getting any benefits, in the new job your pay is only part of your total compensation. Because it’s such a small operation they likely don’t have much in the way of benefits, but even sick and vacation is worth something.

You aren’t locking yourself into anything, as others have indicated. However, don’t start your tenure with one foot out the door. Give them a chance, 2 years goes by in a flash. For those people who suggest leaving after 6 months, that is some serious ADHD. In six months you don’t even fully get into the rhythm of what’s going on there.

Your main task at this point is not to make money. Your main task is to build experience so that you can make the difficult jump to “mid-career” professional. Always choose jobs based on growth potential. Keep growing professionally and the money will come.

Forget salaries-- you already know you can live on a shoestring-- and ask yourself what responsibilities you are going to take on, what contacts you can make, and what technical knowledge you are going to demonstrate. What is this job going to add to your resume? What role will it prepare you for? How will it help you get your next job? Done right, a job can be like an education- you go in not knowing much, and you come out with the qualifications to do something cooler. Of course, don’t just treat it as a resume builder. The point is to actually learn and grow.

I would never take a job for less than a year, and I would generally try to shoot for two years. That’s what you need to keep good relations with your employee, keep a good reputation, and avoid resume red flags. That said, definitely keep looking through those years. Get to know the labor market for your industry inside and out, so that you know exactly how to target Yöûr next steps and what experience gaps you have to fill in.

You want a little wiggle room within your salary range so within your time with the company your boss can give you a slight merit increase. Managers hate hiring at the top of the band - it means the only way I can give you a raise is to promote you - and promotions are hard to work - large company or small (hint, it doesn’t work the way you think it does).

And you likely won’t be working for this small company in seven years - I’d “target” two. For many positions out in the real world, HR has set an arbitrary line that less than two years is “entry level” and with two years under your belt, you’ll start to qualify for jobs requiring experience.

As to what employers think - it depends on the people involved in hiring - if you get an HR person who thinks job jumping is bad - your resume may not make it to the hiring manager. If the HR manager and the hiring manager are both fine with it - then it won’t hurt you. Being too stagnant (15 years in one company) can also hurt - shows no “gumption.” But it depends on how the people looking at your resume interpret it.

(When I did contract/consulting work, I put the name of the contract house on the resume, put described it as consulting, listed my accomplishments, and listed the clients I had. A number of friends do pass through work - most of them set themselves up as S-Corps so they get a W-2 in a corporate name (from themselves). Makes working with banks and getting loans so much easier to have W-2s - and cleans up the resume).

I appreciate the responses and also the move to the correct forum (my apologies).

I am not sure what in the OP made it sound like 32k isn’t better than 12/hr, Icarus?

Anyway you guys are mostly saying what I have been thinking.

The only reason I am thinking that it might be better to wait is - as I said I don’t know if there will be growth here, and I don’t think I will really be learning new marketable skills besides a new accounting program.

Given my overall situation, this is the golden opportunity to wait for something that I know is good. However, who knows if that will come along? I don’t really know for sure if there will be any more offers in the next 3 months, 6 months, etc.

I’ve decided if they offer me the 32 and there are benefits I will accept. If they offer lower, I will make that decision then. The bottom line is in 3 months I can pay off my 9000 loan that is now at 2000 that I have paid $50 a month on for years. I mean 3 months is nothing, so I kind of have to right? And if it doesn’t work out then I can still move on.

Thanks guys for the responses. I will let you know if I hear back and how it goes. I welcome any more responses, particularly if someone feels I shouldn’t take it and should wait for something better.

Nava, I’m a contractor who has been trying, without luck, to land a regular job. I’m just tired of contracting. It doesn’t suit my lifestyle any more. I get this question when I look for a permanent job and then get stuck back in contracting because nobody will believe I am serious about a permanent job given my history. It is *very *frustrating. I wish I could find a solution.

Take the job.
Learn the skills.
Establish the experience.
In 2-3 years, start looking at what you can move on to in order to make more money.