How To Negotiate Job Terms, According To An Expert

From giving up a steady job, to start her own business, to collaborating with Fearne Cotton - Carrie Dennahy has shown the world that standing on your own two feet as a woman in business is 100% possible. And now, she’s paving the way for her all-female team.

Carrie Dennahy believes that the current business model does no one any favours. 

Whilst working as a jewellery buyer for over 10 years, she continually witnessed an abundance of lost talent due to inflexible, unrealistic working hours and unfeasible demands placed on employees – especially working mothers.

The idea of a company constantly losing valuable employees due to the rigidness of a Monday to Friday 9 - 5 baffled her.

This antiquated way of working should have been a thing of the past, she told herself. So, Carrie did what many of us can only dream of doing. She handed in her notice, left the career she’d spent years building in her 20’s and started her own jewellery brand - Carrie Elizabeth.

Since then, she has been doing all she can to promote a flexible work schedule and create a better work/life balance for her employees. 

“Flexible working is something that’s really important to us," she says. 

"Everyone on my team has their own schedule and I completely respect and support this. Some are mothers and so need to do the school run, some like to exercise in the morning - or at least plan to! - and some are night owls, like me."

We asked Carrie what are her tips for negotiating job terms with your employer, something that often strikes terror into those uncomfortable with confrontation. 

1. What are your tips for approaching a boss about work negotiations eg a pay rise or working from home? 

My advice would be to prepare your case thoroughly before you approach your boss," she begins. 

Gather evidence of the great job that you are doing, and present clearly to them why you are asking for the change to current circumstances.

If you are asking for a pay rise, I would present to them examples of your work and where you feel you add value to the business and why you are deserving of one. Perhaps you are going above and beyond or perhaps your salary isn’t in line with the current market or inflation. Whatever the reason, present your case in a factual way and try to remove the emotion from it. 

If asking to work from home, I would suggest a trial to your boss, so both of you can see that it can work well for both of you!

2. What do you do if they reject your wishes?

Respectfully ask for clear reasons why. Don’t be scared to challenge their response (again where possible with facts, not emotion!) If their answer is a hard no, I would reflect on whether the job, as it is, is enough for you. If the answer is no, I would keep my options open. 

3. What's the most important thing, in your opinion, about the workplace?

Respect for the people around you and the respect shown to you as an employee.

For me, the workplace is all about people. I have both loved and hated jobs in the past, and it’s always boiled down to the people I work with. After all, you can often spend more time with them than anyone else!

4. How do you know when to leave a job?

If you are feeling undervalued or disrespected in anyway then it’s time to go. Or if you aren’t learning any more in your current role and feel you have more to give, look for something else which will challenge you! 

5. How do you maintain a work-life balance as someone who is self-employed?

This is tricky and something I’m still working on myself after four years! My top tips would be to have boundaries and cut off times when you completely switch off.

6. What is your number one tip to young women starting out their career today – be they self-employed or not?

It sounds cliché, but I think one of the most important things about work is that you enjoy it. If you are interested in your work, you will excel and perform better than if you are not. We spend so much of our lives working, don’t spend it in a job you hate.

If you’re lacking in the skills to do something you love, start learning in your spare time & gain experience from people who work in the field you want to. 

Main image by @hoskelsa

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