Dear Evil HR Lady,
About a year ago I finished my MBA. While working on my MBA, I had imagined that there would be plenty of opportunities when I graduated. Unfortunately even with an advanced degree, my two years in finance are not enough to qualify me for advanced positions. My current employer gave me a great retention bonus, yet no raise. Senior management told me that I do an outstanding job, and that they do not want to lose me. My current salary is only a couple of thousand dollars more than when I started with the company and is significantly less than what my current position was advertised for.
I get the bonus in December and am not sure that they are going to offer me the salary I have in mind. I am wondering if you can give me some tips for negotiating. Also should I be looking at other jobs so that I have firm counter offers to come back to them with? My student loans are all due and I cannot afford to pay those and pay all of my other monthly bills like my mortgage and car payment.