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Short term contract negotiation with my present employer, need advice
Old 08-27-2014, 09:59 PM   #1
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Short term contract negotiation with my present employer, need advice

I posted some stuff about this on my introductory thread. I am really needing suggestions on how to get the most from these guys. Here is my scenario:

I work in a mostly hospital based medical group that has many sites around the country. We are a publicly traded company. Our local group staffs our specialty in two hospitals.

I announced my retirement months ago, effective in under three weeks. I work in one of the hospitals, where we all work our butts off. At the other hospital, it's a bit of a country club atmosphere, and yes we have to stay local and come in at all hours day and night. The group is renting an apartment for the position for which I am suddenly needed. I filled in over Christmas and made as much $ in 4 days doing basically nothing as I do in 2 weeks in my present location, literally killing myself.

The other hospital is a separate entity and separate cost center; the pay there does not impact the bonuses and income of the group directly--it is a new cost center.

I found out the people working there make about 50% more than I do for about 1/3 the work, 1/10 the stress, +call.

An emergency is occurring in which one of the people working at the other site is about to be placed on "administrative leave" or maybe being fired because of really bad performance issues. In desperation, they have come to me to ask me to fill at least some of this person's time until a replacement can be found.

I will be missing several events in my personal life as a result of doing this, the very first week. They need me to start THE DAY AFTER MY RETIREMENT DATE. I have said yes, tentatively, pending a money conversation that is yet to happen with our medical director and regional director.

I have decided to ask for:

1. Pay at least equivalent to the person I am replacing. (which would give me a 50% pay bump and it means I don't have to start my dipping into my before taxes investments until well into next year.) I was able to weasel out from one of the "leadership team" the pay of the person who is underperforming. (He he he)

2. Continuation of all benefits until I am not needed. Then I do COBRA moving toward insurance through the ACA.

Should I ask for any more? The person I'm replacing gets $180K/yr, full time. I only got $145K but I got pretty good bonuses when we got them, bumping my compensation to $170-$250K/yr. I cut back hours and pay this year, just to stay sane. It will cost the company nothing for me to jump in and work--I don't need any training or credentialling as it is already done.

Negotiating tips and suggestions would be very helpful.

Please don't filter for "appropriateness" I'm feeling a little bit like a shark--this is my chance to make off like a bandit. They can afford me. My motivation to do this is a couple of things: 1. To say FU to the really strangely managed hospital I am at now. 2. For a bit of recognition of my value as a caring physician which has been under recognized by many in my group. The sheer joy of getting a lot of $ for relatively easy work. Say what you want and have at it. I posted some stuff about this on my original introductory thread but it is coming down to nitty gritty time, so I really want all the down and dirty input you can give.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:06 PM   #2
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If you won't be an employee of the hospital you need to address malpractice insurance.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:37 PM   #3
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My malpractice insurance is paid through May 2015 and it comes through my present company. I do need to remind them of that though. Thanks!


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Old 08-27-2014, 10:53 PM   #4
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I am surprised you were paid so little at your current (crazy) job. If I were you I would not accept anything less than the person you are replacing. You might casually ask if there is any bonus for good performance.

The apartment is for nights on call, I presume. What is the rotation? Are there any other benefits, such as parking or meals? What about CME?

You are not a shark. The patients need a physician with skills, empathy and integrity. You have been sought out because you have those qualities. You deserve to be properly compensated for your work.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
I have decided to ask for:
1. Pay at least equivalent to the person I am replacing. (which would give me a 50% pay bump [...]

The person I'm replacing gets $180K/yr, full time. I only got $145K but I got pretty good bonuses when we got them, bumping my compensation to $170-$250K/yr.
I can't get those two statements together. 180k / 145k = 124%, no? Still quite a gap, but not 50%.

Regarding your question, I think your demands are reasonable. Sounds like a good opportunity to make a killing. I assume you won't be too disappointed if they turn you down, though, will you?
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:52 AM   #6
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I would ask for the stars and see if you can at least get the moon. I mean really, what else are they going to do? You are saving their butts big time by stepping in.

I think you are undervaluing yourself. I would start with $250k -- you are replacing someone they are FIRING for incompetence or worse, aren't you worth more than him?

I would also ask for an escalation or bonus clause that bumps your pay up an additional amount for every x weeks you stay after an initial period -- say after 4 weeks, your rate goes up to the equivalent of $275k/year, after 8 weeks to $300k/year, etc. That will help to give them incentive to search aggressively and ensure that you don't get stuck in this position long term if they drag their heels finding someone.

I would also ask them to commit to covering your COBRA costs for 6-18 months.

Nothing ventured nothing gained. The worst they can say is no. And then you can go merrily on your way to being FIREd and not miss those personal events you already have planned.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:33 AM   #7
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Nice to be needed and wanted on your own terms. I might pick a number between the 180 and your current salary including bonus to start with maybe 220...say you don't want to take a large pay cut. Ask for a nice number, because after doing this job for awhile you might decide it is something you want to continue for a longer term. If that happens, it will be harder for them to suddenly give you a big raise. In other words, they would probably want you to keep working at the existing pay rate. If they balk and it suits you take the lower amount, but give them a drop dead I'm out of here date and then leave.

Just because it's a nicer gig then your current high-stress job doesn't mean it's a walk in the park, so don't let that influence you too much.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:46 AM   #8
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It's great to find better compensation at a related facility and all. Your demands are totally in line.

The decesion in my mind comes down to two questions. Do I need the income? How long am I willing to do this new job?

In 3-5 years will it matter financially if you stay or go? How much of your life is the fu worth? In a few months(after you depart) the facility will have moved on, will you be ready?
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:21 AM   #9
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It's a new job but also working near but not with my old partners, some of whom are dear friends. Different stresses, and no it isn't cake. I will shoot for the stars though, since the worst that can happen is they say no and I say Sayonara, LOL.


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Old 08-28-2014, 09:38 AM   #10
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To me it's a simple conversation.

"I am retiring in less than three weeks and I have a number of personal commitments that are important to me. However I understand you're in a bind and I'm flattered that you think highly enough of my skills to ask me to backfill. I'm willing to delay my retirement to help you as long as my salary is XX."

If you get the salary you'll be happy to be working longer. If you don't get the salary and stay anyway I presume you'll be unhappy. So ask for what you want and if you don't get it then you get to move to the next phase of your life!
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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Since the OP mentioned the company was publicly traded, be sure and demand equity as well.

I'd START with salary (forget bonus - they're too subjective) of $250k to $300k and RSUs also.

I would also be very clear with them that this isn't negotiating - you're dictating terms and they can either take it or leave it.

That's just me anyway. If I've already retired, I really wouldn't want to go back to work for anybody anyway, so they better be prepared to pay what I've always called "crazy stupid" money, which means they'd be crazy and stupid for offering it, and I'd be crazy and stupid for turning it down.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:42 PM   #12
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I also can't believe you are making so little in your specialty. In mine, the 3rd worst paid specialty in medicine, I am making more than the colleague you are replacing and I only work 3 days a week. I am not on salary though; I get paid a certain amount per CPT code and there is some small quarterly bonus money too.

Since with bonuses your highest income is $250,000 a year, I wouldn't accept less than that and, in fact, I think you should ask for more and negotiate down from there.

It's a lot to ask you to miss important family/personal events.

If they need you so much, they will pay you what you are worth.

Good luck. I hope it's worth it for you.


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Old 08-30-2014, 03:23 AM   #13
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While reading through your post I thought 145K, not a bad salary for nurse, but senior nurse is a demanding job probably with administrative duties.

Then I realized you were doctor and I went wow. I know engineers in Silicon Valley in their early 30's, admittedly with master degrees from good schools, who make 200K.

Stick it to the company partly as penalty for chronically underpaying you all these years. Just for fun you could find out what they bill insurance companies on hourly basis/procedure for your services. I got believe it is easily $500K/year. I start from there allow the company a very modest profit margin and work down.

Woman and men do negotiate salaries differently.
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If I were in your situation..............
Old 08-30-2014, 09:39 AM   #14
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If I were in your situation..............

I'd make them pay..............dearly. I'd start at 5x current wage, maybe negotiate to 3x........every extra week 10% bump to motivate them to search for a replacement, seriously.........bonus up front in cash for just showing up on first day, stock options, travel stipend, insurance coverage till medicare, free luxury car, separate apartment, valet parking, personal servant, golf club memberships...............whatever you can stick a lever into. you're trading a very dear commodity, a precious resource, that cannot be replaced, your finite time on this planet. Personally, I think it's almost priceless.............

Why?..........because more than likely if the situation was reversed, they'd do the same to you.

Case in point.

In 2008, my organization took a 15%, then another 10% pay cut, supposedly across the board for all employees. Rah, rah. Two years later, the pay cuts were forgotten about while the organization made massive record profits.......we did receive a 5% increase to stop the bleeding(employee turnover went from 5% to 30%, and several I left, as well, my disagreements with management were unsustainable) while yearly merit raises were cut 2/3rds.....yesterday, I found out from a old friend at work, that "management" didn't take a pay cut at that time, nor were their bonus's reduced or eliminated. You know, a memo got circulated. In fact, at their level, pay has increased more than 70% since that time. Yea, sure, you betcha....to say remaining employees are pissed, might be an understatement.

So, stick it to 'em. Pack it in hard.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:53 AM   #15
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Unless you really WANT to do this for non-monetary reasons (which is valid), then I would be really tempted to tell them you realized how much you've been looking forward to retiring and have changed your mind and won't be doing this. If they make any further attempts to get you, tell them it would have to be so worth your while that you can't imagine they can afford you/it. If they keep pursuing you at this point, the door is wide open. I would calculate how many years you've worked at that underpaid rate and factor that into the number you tell them. Like someone else said, I'm thinking starting number is 5x current or even more.

General strategy is to reel them in in increments, rather than laying it all out at once. Human nature is such that if they are part way down the road with you, they are much more likely to not want to start over with someone else. And what ever the final offer is, IMO it needs to blow you over with how awesome it is or you walk.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #16
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3 to 5x current wage, wow, you are talking between 600K and a million bucks, where are you guys coming up with this? The current person makes in the 200K range.

If you are going for 3 to 5x then you are basically telling them...No Thank you, not interested.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:38 AM   #17
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To those who want Dr. EastWest Gal to ask for the moon.....

Remember, your health insurance would ultimately pay for this.

I am all for proper physician remuneration and I do think she is currently underpaid, but a five fold increase is not realistic even in a private setting.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:40 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the input. Medical Director and I are both at the hospital today. The cool thing is I can always say, no, it's not enough. :-)


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Old 08-30-2014, 11:42 AM   #19
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You go, girl!
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:44 PM   #20
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Here is what happened. Medical director (we'll call him MD) sits down and looks at a little spreadsheet he created. He said he was offering to pay me what the person I am replacing makes but did his calculations completely wrong and offered 1/2 of what he should have.

I got to say I would never work for so little (that was fun!) and reminded him that I was bailing him out. I showed the math he did was completely bogus as he calculated a daily rate as if the other person was working 365 days a year. So he more than doubled the offer and said I can continue full benefits if I work at least one week a month. The work is about 4-8 hr/day plus call. Free food. It's cake. I think it will be a good transition, and it covers the remainder of DS's college expenses.

What bothers me is that either MD is stupid in his math calculations or he's stupid enough to think I'm stupid with math. And I don't know which it is! Kind of scary that someone who can calculate critical care drug doses in his sleep would try to do such a thing.

Will need to see the contract as well.




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