I have exciting news to share! This past Friday we received the official offer from the place where we will hopefully accept Jeff's first "real" job post-training. It was surreal to see all of the numbers for salary, vacation time, and little extras all laid out on a sheet of paper. But excitement quickly gave way to anxiety as we realized we now had to hire a lawyer and do some negotiating.
The starting offer we were given is good, but it's just that, a starting offer. There are things we like in the contract, and things we aren't satisfied with. It's easy to get stuck on that base salary number, but that doesn't give you the whole picture. There are so many other things to consider. For example: How much call will you be responsible for? Will you get paid extra for call? How much vacation time do you get? Is there a limit to how many days in a row you can take off? Do you get paid extra for RVU's generated over a certain threshold? If so, at what rate are you compensated? What about insurance (tail and malpractice)? Will they give you money for marketing? Loan repayment? Will there be a signing or commencement bonus? Is it enough to get you through several weeks to a month of unemployment after residency/fellowship before you receive a paycheck from your new job AND for a downpayment on a house? Speaking of downpayments, what is the price of homes in that area? You will need to factor in a 40% tax rate (yay) plus about $3000/month (for us) going towards paying back med school loans before you can consider what you need out of a contract. As you can see, base salary isn't everything. I'm sure these are only a few of the many issues we will have to consider.
It becomes immediately clear why it's so important to find a lawyer who specializes in physician contracts. There are so many issues that are unique to our situation. Someone experienced in reviewing physician contracts can give you information of the typical salaries for doctors in the same specialty in a nearby area. Offers and salary vary greatly by location, so this is a key piece to the puzzle. It also doesn't hurt to talk to friends who have graduated a few years ahead of you. In our experience, they are happy to share the details of their contracts with you to help give you a better idea of what you can expect in a good offer. And interview at one or two places that aren't your dream job. I'm so glad we interviewed at potential job location #1, even though it ended up not being the right fit for us. Why? Because we were offered a contract there so we now have something to compare this new offer to. It always helps to have leverage!
So we're crossing our fingers over here that these negotiations are quick and painless. Does anyone have any negotiating advice for us??