Betty Buyside: Less stress and more pay

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Getting married and changing job are two of the most stressful events of one's life, or so I am told

As Anthony Academic and I have decided upon an October wedding, that means a move to a new firm is out of the question at the moment. It would be the last thing I needed while deciding on music, choosing a dress and arguing with my parents over the guest list.

Have you ever thought about how disruptive changing job is? The City of London is full of people who hop from job to job with astonishing regularity, particularly sellside analysts. I can never keep up with where they are.

They leave a firm, go on gardening leave (usually over some crucial set of results) and then reappear somewhere else and wonder why I am not ecstatic to see them back again.

For a buyside analyst like me, to change job is really to set myself back at least six months, so it is not to be undertaken lightly. A new employer will mean a new set of fund managers to get to know, a new investment process to understand, a new set of core holdings and probably a new sector or two.

So I have been lukewarm about the interviews I have been having with the US firm that approached me some time ago. By the time it came to arranging the fifth interview, I had had enough.

I cannot imagine how people ever join places like Goldman Sachs, where 20&#43 interviews are not uncommon.

The headhunter, two interviews with people in London and then the video conference call with a group of (male, of course ) fund managers drinking coffee in Boston had together taken up far too much of my time, especially if you include arranging them all.

With wedding preparations looming, I decided that I needed more time, not less.

How to achieve the goal of better rewards while remaining at the same desk? I decided to ask my boss, the head of research, for a private interview away from our open plan desks, where he sits right next to me.

I explained to him that I had been interviewing for another job at an unnamed US fund manager and had to make up my mind whether to attend the final interview.

I named the amount that they were offering - 66% more than my current basic salary. I said that I was not inclined to continue with the interviewing process, but neither could I continue to live with the knowledge that my current salary was so out of line with market rates.

Actually, this kind of approach is a huge risk and cannot be undertaken more than once during one's time at any one employer.

If you believe that you are being paid way out of line with market rates, consult a headhunter and then think carefully about the information you receive. No-one should move for a 30% pay rise. It is only once your pay becomes more than 50% adrift that serious action is called for.

The net result of my discussion was the the usual platitudes about how much they valued me and a promise from my boss that he would 'see what I can do'.

Of course, I did not let on that I had in any case cancelled the final interview and had decided to remain where I was until after the honeymoon.

A week later, my boss called me into a meeting room. I would be receiving a pay rise, backdated to the start of the month, of one third - half-way between my salary now and what was on offer from my American friends.

Given that I would have had to work twice as hard covering twice as many sectors if I had moved, this seems like an excellent result to me.

Anthony Academic and I are currently house shopping, and this will mean a substantial increase to our budget. Next challenge - the bonus round!

You can contact Betty at:

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