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An open letter to people going back to work in a pandemic and even after

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The pandemic has inevitably turned me into a part-time employment coach of sorts. Friends; strangers, and loved ones have all come to me particularly for employment advice on how to negotiate their perfect job and perks that fits their needs and life. If we’ve all learned one thing during the pandemic it is that a business cannot survive without, and I mean this literally, said employees of the very business mentioned in this article.

This article was partially inspired by a thread on Twitter involving the restaurant industry. In the thread, not shocking in any way, there were people trying to defend subpar wages for people who make restaurants possible. It is not 1965.

This article in essence can apply to anyone no matter where you live whether it be America or beyond.

Having two very different lives I’ve managed to live in both America and the U.K off and on since University. I’ve spoken to people on both sides of the pond and found one commonplace feat that bothers many: that many feel like they’re underpaid; under-appreciated, and often are treated pretty poorly even by the most basic of human standards.

Long before the pandemic ever became a thing (at least in modern day) this was a common problem probably that extends far beyond even America and the U.K.

And then the pandemic hit.

Businesses shuttered; others let go of swathes of their staff, and then there were those that continued to pay themselves but let go of others or slashed wages.

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It taught allot of people that in the eyes of disaster employees often never mattered.

You can spin that how you like but the pandemic has shown people far-and-wide that a their lives often never mattered to allot of these employers. Minus of course the rare case you were already employed by someone who truly cared about you; themselves, and the people who make their business possible.

With the pandemic (likely being an endemic) at this point; vaccinations rolling out, and so on allot of people need to consider what their bargaining price is. Do you have experience? Do you have hidden talents? Do you have other skills you’ve learned off grid that might up your bounty at work? What can you offer an employer outside of the general skillset that might be able to make your negotiation efforts even better?

No matter who you are keep in mind that you are a valuable asset at whatever job you’re going back into; applying for, or may have had this entire time and were just waiting for it to be safe to return. There is no reason you have to return to what I call #StrugglePay.

None. Let me repeat that…NONE.

It is 2021 and many of you are currently going through the first major disaster you’ve experienced in your lives. Some are very young and were on their own; others have been fortunate enough to hit mid-life and have had few and far between disasters and others even older are new to surviving a disaster all together.

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The Coronavirus pandemic has shown that as an “employee” employees must now bargain and negotiate their way into better salaries; safety nets, and benefits across the board. It is almost a requirement at this point because and I mean this with all honesty — we don’t know where COVID-19 came from.

Because we don’t know where it came from we can almost be certain that this will not be the last we see of a pandemic. Whether it be less worse next time or far worse — negotiations are important these days because when it does happen people may be able to be better prepared and have job security.

From my own personal experience, in 2021, most people should be bargaining for at least $45,000 or more in most jobs (but that’s probably only where you should start.) Get an idea of what an employer is asking; the scope of your duties/etc.

Always ask what are the benefits? mommy leave? Daddy leave? paid time off? Sick leave? commuter benefits?

Some other common things you should always ask:

  1. Base Pay
  2. Bonuses? Perk pay?
  3. Performance bonuses?
  4. Leave (Parental/Paid/Sick/Etc)
  5. Do they offer commuter benefits? (For example, in New York some places offer commuter benefits to get their employees to work)
  6. Health insurance? (the pandemic should’ve taught you that this one is critical and should be negotiated fully)

For example even as a publisher I receive job offers; gigs, and so on from brands and the like who want to employ me or the massive platform that bears my name.

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These are the common things I discuss during negotiations to ensure I am fairly paid:

  1. Weekly or monthly?
  2. Base Pay/ Bonuses?
  3. Performance bonuses?
  4. What are the general requirements? (If they’re quite long, I reserve the right to up the pay. The same should apply to people working 9-5 jobs. If they’re asking allot it might be time to change the price.)
  5. Travel? (This applies job wide no matter what type of job you have. If they’re asking you to travel, they should be covering it top-to-bottom.)

Young or old or 30 and just hitting the best years of your life you are an important part of the very economy no matter where you live. You are a vital part of the business trying to hire you and without you they have one less employee. Right now employers are struggling to hire people because let’s face it — allot of them need to update their pay and benefit packages.


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By SHK

Sultan H. Khane II is the Editor-in-Chief of Bazaar Daily News and its 5 sister properties.

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