Friday, January 16, 2009

A little off the sides, please

According to this post in BNET, some companies are making the decision to cut back on labour costs, but not cut back on the labour. Cutbacks include working a four day week, cutting back on benefits, asking people to take their holidays or a furlough (a furlough means to grant a temporary leave of absence; a layoff is a temporary suspension which rhymes with "you're fired"), all in an effort to keep staff.

In academia, administrators have asked professors and administrators to take a pay cut--or imposed, not asked--and frozen salaries and plans to make new hires. There's even an article on the BBC magazine about the Prime Minister asking that public employees voluntarily contain their pay raises to keep inflation down, and an argument as to why it might help the economy. But when it comes to less money, should you? And how do you know if you can?

When the economy was boiling, we were asked to figure out what types of salary would be fair, and people wanted to know how they could negotiate. In industries with lots of competition for jobs--i.e. academia--we told clients: make a budget. Your needs, please debt repayment and some realistic savings are your minimum. You can't accept anything less.

You need a budget: for salary negotiation, whether up or down in these economic times, to understand where your money is going and to make some rational decisions about what you can and cannot afford. A budget can help you in both good and bad times, and now, just like writing your resume, it can help you in the job search since it can give you valuable information about the position, or positions, that you are eligible for with your financial responsibilities.

So, again, look to the free options on your campus, get your student budget and your proposed graduate budget in order and figure out what you can do to start living a lifestyle that doesn't allow your money--which includes your job--to make you into a prisoner.

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