Take the employer’s viewpoint when negotiating your compensation.

You have a “live with” number for your compensation (salary, bonus and benefits) as well as your “want to have” number. “Live with” is the amount you need to make to meet your basic expenses and feel good about yourself. “Want to have” is what you really would like to make. Your “live with” number depends on your expenses, living situation, and reason for changing jobs. If you are starting in a new field, your “live with” number may be lower than if you are continuing in the same line of work.

Similarly, most employers have a “want to pay” figure and a “stretch” number. Just as you don’t want to go below your “live with” number, so too do employers not want to go above their “stretch” number. Perhaps you can negotiate fewer hours for the same pay. This strategy won’t succeed, however, if it significantly changes the scope of the job.

It’s a set up for failure to get an employer to negotiate away or give up on something. You may get your way temporarily but there will be resentment on the employer’s side and eventually pressure to do the very thing that was negotiated away.

Likewise, if you accept pay below your “live with” number, you will eventually resent the employer and your work load. It’s far better to turn down the job, knowing that the right one will eventually come along.

Obviously, take the job if you need one NOW and the only one you can find pays you less than your “live with” number. Just go in with your eyes wide open, knowing that you made the choice to take less than you are worth and therefore there is no good reason for you to be resentful. Do a great job in order to feel good about yourself and perhaps impress the employer. Plus, be willing to keep looking.

Remember, too, that employers will know on some level that they struck a bad bargain by giving you less than you wanted. They may expect you to leave soon, they may end up letting you go so as not to have a “bad apple” in the mix, or they may try to find more money for you if you’re really a good employee. What happens is largely up to you and your attitude.