7 Reasons Not to Negotiate For a Raise, but Negotiate for the Job You Want

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — While negotiating for more money is always nice, shouldn't you be going after the job you really want? Here's a look at seven reasons changing jobs is often the best solution to getting a bump in salary — and everything else you deserve.

1. The fulfillment you'll get from a raise may be short-lived.

There is no denying a nice paycheck can make you happy, but it's a short-term fulfillment, says Adam Ochstein, founder and chief executive of StratEx Partners, a Chicago provider of human resources and software.

"No price can make up for having to show up to work every day doing something you're miserable doing," he says. "Continuously negotiating for a pay raise in a miserable role won't lend to long-term career success."

2. A little raise may come with a lot more work.

"If someone is in a miserable position and they ask for a salary raise, the workload will increase, and they will become even more miserable," Ochstein cautions.

You should focus instead on finding a career you can see yourself growing into, which will lead to a bigger salary as you progress professionally, he says.

3. That vacancy you're waiting for may never happen.

Taking a raise while you wait for your dream job to open may seem like a good plan, but you might be waiting indefinitely.

"Don't wait for the vacancy," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half. "If you postpone asking for the job you wish you had or rest on your laurels hoping for HR to post the position, it may never happen."

4. You probably want more than just a bigger paycheck anyway.

Aside from salary, your dream job might include the ability to work from home one or two days per week, or flextime to complete your work assignments outside of the typical 9-to-5 hours, McDonald says.

"Make sure to bring up your requests during the negotiation process, and be upfront about how these perks could help you save commute time, and the company money, for example."

When you change jobs, you can often negotiate for more vacation days or a schedule that allows you to pick up your child every day by 4:30 p.m., says Katie Niekrash, senior managing director at Execu|Search Group.

"If you've been at the same company for a while, your quality of life may be stagnating," she says. "Work-life balance is just as important as a raise, if not more so."

5. Your employer may not be able to give you the title change you need.

"Even if you're happy within an organization, often times you have to look outside to satisfy your desire for a new title. At some companies, titles are very standardized, so there's no way for them to tweak your salary and title without tweaking everyone else's," Niekrash says. "You can get trapped, and at that point it's worthwhile for you to start looking."

Your title is often more important than your salary, Niekrash says, especially if you're already considering your next move.

"Some people have bland, less-exciting titles that don't describe what they do or the leadership role that they have," she says. "Often when you change jobs you can get the title you deserve as well as the raise. It's a no-brainer if you can upgrade both."

6. Your employer may be unable to offer a change in responsibilities.

If you haven't gotten a raise recently, chances are you also haven't had an increase in responsibilities for a while, and you may be bored.

"You're probably not really challenged," Niekrash says. "A lot of people get complacent when there are no opportunities to advance or try something new. If your boss has gotten used to you fulfilling the same job every day, it may be difficult if not impossible to switch up your projects."

If you're looking for a chance to lead or to get "out of the box" it may be time to look for a new opportunity.

7. Sometimes you just need a better view.

Yes, your workspace matters. Sometimes it matters a lot, Niekrash says.

"If you're stuck in a cube all day and someone offers you a corner office, yes, that's important. For some people it can be a game changer," she says. "You've heard people say, 'I really need a change of scenery,' and it's true. Where you sit can make a big difference in how you approach your job day-to-day."

— Written by Kathryn Tuggle for MainStreet

Follow Kathryn on Twitter @KathrynTuggle

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