First – Happy Father’s Day to all! I’ll be back Monday with a Father’s Day recap post to let you know what we’re up to. But in the meantime, I wanted to get this post up sooner so I can try to get as much feedback from readers as possible, given that this is a time-sensitive issue. Thanks so much! I hope you’re all having a great weekend!
Hallelujah, y’all! I’m not even going to lie. I was starting to wonder if this would ever happen. I’ve come up with a whole contingency plan of what I’ll do if I never land a full-time position (continue working part-time teaching online, then also go back to in-person adjunct teaching once the girls start public school).
So I am THRILLED to announce that I’m on the verge of signing the deal with an awesome department where I will be so excited to work!
I really, really want to spill all the details about the salary negotiations but I’ve decided to hold back because I certainly don’t want it to get back to the department and jeopardize anything. So instead of dishing everything, I’ll give you some general information about the first round of negotiations and tell you some more specific details about the benefits package to get your feedback there. This is a bit of a long one, so prepare yourself.
Here we go…
At my meeting last Friday, I was offered a position and money was discussed almost immediately. I nodded and smiled and then proceeded to discuss job duties and responsibilities for the next hour without ever mentioning a salary amount. When the conversation was wrapping up I was point-blank asked what I had hoped for in terms of salary. I’m kicking myself now because I asked for more money, but I was met with an immediate “DONE!” which definitely leads me to believe I short-changed myself a little and could have asked for more. In all, the pay is more than I’d expected they’d give me, but less than what’d I’d really wanted.
In terms of benefits, it’s a mixed bag.
The university gives excellent 401k matching (up to 7% immediately, and up to 11.6% after six months of employment!!!). They also offer a child care voucher of $1500 (literally only covers one month of full-time childcare, but it’s free money so I’m thankful for it). Additionally, they offer a flexible spending account where I can put up to 5,000 pre-tax dollars aside for childcare – essentially saving the taxes from that $5,000.
So all that is good. Here’s some of the okay-not-great part of the benefits package…
The health/dental/vision package isn’t as good as I’d hoped.
For health, my options are between a PPO and a health saving account (HSA) option. The PPO is $486/month and has a $1,000 deductible. The HSA is $193/month, has a $2500 deductible, and the university contributes $120/month to the account. I’m leaning toward the HSA, but there’s a HUGE caveat. The info I’ve been given says “You must submit valid claims before the end of the claims period runs out. Any unclaimed remaining funds will be forfeited to your employer, so estimate your expenses carefully and set money aside accordingly.” So I’m not super thrilled that the money doesn’t just sit and accumulate, but can actually be lost. Anyone with strong opinions one way or the other (regarding PPO versus HSA), please comment. I’m new to this, so I’d love to hear from others’ experiences!
The vision is simple enough – only $16/month.
The dental is kind of disappointing. $105/month covers free preventative care. But they only cover 50% of other procedures and there’s a $2,000 annual limit per person. I’m really giving this plan the side-eye. I feel like it might be more beneficial just to stay without dental and pay out of pocket as we go (or buy the cheap dental discount programs that you can start and stop easily). Still – I may choose to enroll in the dental for the first month or two of employment to try to get hubs to have his dental work done, and then quit so we don’t keep paying the premium year-round. Thoughts? Opinions?
To sum up, we’re looking at:
- $193 (HSA) + $105 (dental) + $16 (vision) = $314/month, not including any contributions to the health savings account and not including the fact that we’d have to pay the first $2500 out-of-pocket. OR
- $486 (PPO) + $105 + $16 = $607/month. That seems like a lot for health care! We only pay $350/month currently for health/vision, but that’s a non ACA-approved insurance that was grandfathered in. It expires December 31st of this year at which point we’ll have to upgrade to an ACA-approved plan. I’ve priced independent health insurance to be about $1,000/month so this seems to me like the university paying approximately half of the premium (note: in their benefits materials they say they pay 85%…but that figure seems a bit high. It would mean the insurance is incredibly expensive before their contribution).
When I left the meeting, we had negotiated a salary and I essentially gave verbal assent. BUT I did leave myself some wiggle room by specifically saying I was eager to look over the full package in writing, including benefits, and that I’d give my final decision in a few days.
Given that the benefits aren’t quite what I had hoped (meaning, the university doesn’t pay as much of the health/dental/vision as I had hoped), would it be tacky to go back and try to negotiate for a little bit more money? That’s what I’d like to do, but I’m also a little nervous. I’ve read horror stories online of people who took negotiations too far and ended up having the offer rescinded. Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?
I’m leaning toward sending a very complimentary email talking about how genuinely excited I am to start this position (which is 100% true), but then to say that after looking over the full offer package I was a little disappointed about the benefits package and wanted to know if they would be open to raising my salary a little to compensate for the benefits. – Ugh! I cringe just writing that out! I have no idea how to write it so it still comes across as thankful for the job offer and conveys that I’m excited to start….but that, ultimately, I’d like a little more money. Again – thoughts? Is it okay to handle this in email or would a phone call be more appropriate? Give me your tips!!!!
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Also, thank you for all the comments on my negotiations post! You guys are awesome and gave me so many great ideas! I’m very thankful for your collective insight! You readers are a smart group : )
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, Granddads, and special men in peoples’ lives. And Happy Day to single parents doing it alone (Moms or Dads), and to all those who no longer have a living father….my thoughts are with you all!