Everything veterans need to know about renegotiating their job


During your time in the military, job growth was different: career progression was more predictable, structured, and understood. Compare that to what you see in the civilian sector. Now it’s up to you how fast you move through the company, where you pivot, and when you defend.

When considering your current job, it’s healthy to ask yourself: Is it time to renegotiate your job?

Why you might want to renegotiate your current job

There are many reasons why you might want to discuss your employment options with your boss, including:

1. Your skills are not fully utilized.

If you’ve been hired into a position that doesn’t take full advantage of your skills, certifications, education, and experience, you may feel underutilized and dissatisfied.

2. You see an opportunity to add more value.

You may be in a contributing role, but are looking for management and leadership.

3. You want to work in a different place (geographically).

If you were hired in an office, but want to move to another city within the company, this could be a good reason to renegotiate your job.

4. You need additional resources that are available elsewhere in the business.

In some organizations resources are not evenly distributed and you may want to work with a team that has more of what you need to be successful.

5. You wish to develop your experience in another department.

For example, if you were hired in the graphics department but your passion is digital marketing, changing departments could proactively increase your overall marketing value.

6. You are not happy.

Before leaving the job and the company, renegotiating your work could offer you a chance to find happiness in the organization. Maybe the work schedule, environment, or team you work with doesn’t provide you with the right balance and you need to make adjustments. In many cases, the company will work with you to find a better option for you rather than having you arrested.

How to renegotiate your job

Understand the landscape.

Before approaching your boss with a desire to rethink your current job, take a look at the company, market, and team environment. Is the business in growth mode or is it barely surviving? Is the market served by the company expanding or contracting? Is your team doing well or experiencing high turnover?

These answers will help you assess whether the company, the market, and the team will help you change roles, or whether it is better to wait or look for growth elsewhere.

Consider the timing.

If you answered no to the first set of questions, you might want to wait a bit. Asking for growth in your job when the business is barely surviving might be seen as inappropriate. Likewise, if your boss is going on maternity leave or about to embark on a big project, he might question your timing.

Examine your balance sheet.

Do you have the credibility to ask for what you are looking for? If you’ve only been with the company for a short time and haven’t established yourself with the team, your boss, or the company’s management, your application may be premature.

If you’ve been recognized for your work, achieved significant milestones for the company, and built credibility with your peers and your boss, your track record might prompt you to seek a job change.

Call on allies and sponsors.

Make sure you have support from credible sources in the business. Your mentor, your allies and your internal sponsors within the organization will be able to accompany you throughout the renegotiation, to defend you with your boss and to support you throughout the process of development of your career within the company .

Get ready for the meeting.

Now is not the time to “fly away”. Plan how you will approach the conversation, what you will say, the questions you will ask, and how you will listen to your boss’ responses and comments. Then train with a trusted ally.

Agree with the result. If you get what you ask for, great. Plan how you’ll dive into the new skills, job, or team you’ve requested. If you’re not getting the changes you’re looking for, plan how you’ll get back to what you’re doing now and show a positive attitude.

There are many variables that go into a job renegotiation. You may not be aware of company conversations or changes that interfere with your request. Or your request can be perfectly timed and things fall into place quickly. Either way, taking charge of your career is now up to you, and if you’ve done your homework and think it’s time to renegotiate your job, do so with confidence and clarity.

The author of “Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty” (2020) and “Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition” (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker and instructor of several courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputational risk management.

A writer for Military.com, Lida is an avid supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and help employers looking to hire military talent. She regularly speaks at conferences, corporate meetings and events focused on military transition.

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