Tips on negotiating your first academic job

(See also, Appendix 4: Negotiating a Job Offer, from: The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator)

Things to consider over all if you are lucky enough to be choosing among multiple job offers:

a). Where can you be most productive? What setting is ideal to getting your work done? This of course will be determined by a combination of things, but most importantly:

  1. Research setting: e.g., lab researchers need labs or people or both....
  2. Money to support research: do you really need it; if yes, where does it come from?
  3. Graduate students as collaborators....

b). Noah's Ark rule: says that you need two of everything; so, make sure that there's at least one of your "kind" somewhere

Negotiating the "ideal" job offer

a). Do not negotiate until you have the job offer in hand (yes, that means in writing)
b). You are most powerful before you have said "yes"
c). Most valuable things (in rough order of priority):

  1. course reductions (standard for first year; but not after that)
  2. multiple sections of the same course (could you teach the same prep for 4 years?)
  3. $$$ to pay a T.A. for your course (note: if it is "forbidden" to have TAs in MBA courses, then say that you need a paid course intern....)
  4. research budget (some standard amount; you will need to justify getting more; as a start, add up how much it costs you to be a member of Academy, SESP, etc.; how much your journal subscriptions cost)
  5. NOTE: make sure you find out in advance the following: who pays for your monthly phone bill (you or department); long-distance calls; stationary; office supplies;
  6. summer support (2/9 for 2-5 years can be standard; try to get 5 years)
  7. research RA (someone to run studies, collect data; analyze data, etc.)
  8. secretary (if shared, what % do you get; can you negotiate more?;)
  9. programmer/web-master (you would like to have $xxxx money to develop great homepage, course page, etc.; no, you are not interested in really working with the university undergraduates for this....)
  10. hardware (computer is standard, but get the best you can for yourself: e.g., fully-loaded desktop PLUS laptop, 2 printers (one for home; one for office); fax machine for home, large monitor, etc.
  11. software (this is the time to have them buy you full SPSS package; say "no thank you" to site license, you want your own; this is the time to get $$$ data sets; etc. Remember: figure out what you need and justify it...)
  12. other research equipment: (e.g., you need 50 tape-recorders; no, you are not interested in "leasing" anything; and will only agree to "share" the department's tape-recorders if they are the model you want AND you have department agree to repair any broken ones (with new replacement) and agree to buy you X if they are on loan to someone else...
  13. videotape set ups...
  14. teaching equipment: videotapes for your class; DRRC CD ROM set; other paraphernalia
  15. research travel budget: for xx years for xx sites per year; for you and xx RAs...
  16. conference travel budget: you are an active researcher, you need to not cut back on your presentations....

Most important words you can say while negotiating: "In order for me to be productive and do my research I need...."

The best approach you can use to get what you want: "I will sign the contract today if it includes X,Y, and Z...."

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