Friday, May 4, 2007

Negotiate Your Way into a Telecommuting Job

Tele-Classic Article

A friend of mine just showed me, by example, a new way to find (or rather create) a telecommuting job. It all started when she asked me the question I’ve heard a million times. “How did you find your telecommuting job?”

Well, by now everyone knows that it took 685 hours (that’s 4 months of 8 hour days) of research to find the job I have today.
“Okay, how does one usually find a telecommuting job?” she asked. Well, that answer’s really easy. “Get a conventional job, do well at it and show your boss that you need little supervision and then convince your boss to allow you to telecommute.”
Then came the next question, which I thought was pretty darn insightful. “Knowing what you know today about telecommuting, what would you do to get a telecommuting job?”

I smiled. I hadn’t told anyone my ideas on the best ways to find telecommuting work, because frankly, no one asked. But Shana, my friend, seemed to be receptive to my crazy ideas so I told her, “I call this technique 'The Promotional Trade'. I would get a job the “conventional” way, work my butt off and when it was time for promotions or raises, I’d forfeit that reward for telecommuting options. I’d even take on additional duties for no raise in pay, if I could telecommute at least 3 days out of the week. If they offer full-time telecommuting with occasional visits to the office, I’d give them my second-born -- my first-born is reserved for the man that gives me the winning lotto ticket.

I giggled thinking she would join in. But instead, she wore a contemplative expression on her face. “Interesting, “ Shana said, “I think that would work.”

“What?” I said, really confused now.

“I’ll tell you as soon as I see the result. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know,” then she left.

I hate secrets!

Well, one week later my Shana squealed in my ear over the phone. “It worked! It actually worked!”

“What worked?”

She explained that she had just gone on a job interview for a “conventional” job that could have easily been a telecommuting job. She took my “Promotional Trade” theory and applied it to negotiating for a new job.

First she had carefully followed my advice from a previous article called “Want to Telecommute? Do the Math!” and had calculated the exact salary needed to maintain her standard of living while working form home.

Then she created a simple yet thorough proposal on how her new boss could create a telecommuting arrangement around the vacant position.
After the interview, the company offered the job to her and asked her what salary she required. Shana gave them two salary requirements. The first salary requirement was for a “commuter” job. The second salary requirement (which happened to be 15% lower than the “commuter” salary) was for a telecommuting job.

“I could have gone lower. Working at home cut my expenses by more than 40% but anything over 20% seemed as if I was desperate. I make it a point to never let a potential employer know I’m desperate for a job!” she told me.

Guess which option the employer picked?

So there you have it, two new ways to find a telecommuting job. Why not try it yourself? Ask your employer if you could trade your next promotion, salary increase or certain benefits you don’t need or want into a telecommuting option. It can’t hurt to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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