Step 07

Evaluate + Negotiate Like an Insider

How to negotiate salary and pick the right post-military job for you

The phone’s ringing. It’s the recruiter. He can’t wait to share the good news.

Congrats + game over!

Not so fast. You didn’t work so hard in the military and push so hard in your search just to take the first offer that comes over the transom. Instead, make sure all that hard work leads to a new job that you’ll want to work equally hard in by evaluating and negotiating the offer carefully.

Start by getting as close to certainty as possible that this is a job you’ll love. To do so, put on your job detective hat and focus on the three key drivers of job satisfaction:

Will You Love Doing This Work?

Job-seekers tend to focus on all the fringe aspects of a job: Look at these stock options! My family and friends are going to think I’m awesome! And I can’t wait to eat all that free sushi!!!

We call these “fringe” aspects since, even though they loom large as a job-seeker, they quickly fade to the periphery as a job-doer. After all, if you’re knee-deep in boring spreadsheets by Week 2, no amount of free sushi is going to compensate for work that just doesn’t inspire you.

Which is why you need to get super clear about what you will actually be doing all day. So be sure to ask your prospective boss the following questions:

Then, just like you did in the Find Your Path section, you’ll want to take some time to reflect. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the specific projects you’ll soon be tasked with. Then notice how your body responds without the interference of stock options or free sushi. Because if you find yourself salivating at the prospect of taking these on, that’s awesome. But if you feel yourself already reaching for the Snooze button an extra time, well, you’ve been warned!

Will You Love Working with These People?

While you’ve hopefully gotten a good feel for your prospective teammates during the interview process, there’s one person who can make or break this job. Yup, your boss.

So to make sure your boss is more Dead Poet’s Society and less Devil Wears Prada, it’s time to do a little cyber-sleuthing. Here’s how:

People Also Viewed

Will You Love Working in This Organization?

Culture is a tough thing to pin down. While it can be easy to conflate it with the cool office design or a Casual Fridays policy, it’s really more about what kind of person fits within an organization. For example, if you’re an incredibly driven Type A, you may get frustrated with an organization’s slow, consensus-driven approach to decision-making. Whereas if you’re more of a Type B team-builder, a cutthroat, results-driven culture will feel like oil to your water.

So while you can start by reading Glassdoor reviews of your potential employer, you really need to get a perspective from someone who knows you or the cultures you’ve been in already. Here’s how to do that:

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Negotiate with Leverage + Data

So you’ve done your due diligence and everything checks out: the work, the boss, the culture. You just can’t wait to get started.

But now imagine that on Day 1, you find out that your new teammate is making 50% more than you to do the same work. Not feeling so motivated after all, huh?

To prevent this unhappy discovery and to kickoff the new job with confidence, here’s how to negotiate with strength - but in a way that doesn’t burn the very relationships you want to build.

Keep on Building a Career You Love

The best way to start a new job after the military