thank you

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Saying, "Thank you!" (Immediately)
You pick up the phone. The woman at the other end of the line informs you that she's from Big Company HR and you've gotten the job. You're happy, because you went through four interviews and because you really, really need the job. Now, because you also have manners, you say, "Thank you!" and accept. But hold on! The Harvard Business Review ran a scenario comparing a woman who accepted her initial offer and a man who negotiated for $11,000 more a year. "Even if both receive identical 3 percent raises for the rest of their careers," the journal reported, by the time they retire at 65, the difference between their annual salaries will have widened to $30,953."

Thankfully, unlike in this imaginary case, most of us switch jobs at least once before retirement. If you've already made this mistake, you now have a very powerful voice of reason to consult, one that will explain you are neither greedy nor pushy to ask for what you want and deserve. To that HR person? Go ahead and say thank you; it's polite. Just add a "but," as in: "but before I commit, I'd love to talk about salary range." And remember: The point is for you to negotiate. If you're in a field or at a company where there is no extra money to give, consider asking for vacation days or a better title. And, even if those don't work, the effort of asking will prevent your going through the equally hard-to-recover-from meltdown of regret.