Wednesday, May 18, 2005

the negotiator (or: playing softball)

I signed the job contract last Friday. My ‘negotiating’ was unsuccessful, despite (what I think are) some fair reasons:

  1. The salary was advertised as “internationally competitive” and it’s slightly less than what I made 2 years ago in Oz.
  2. The expected level of managerial responsibility was considerably greater than indicated in the job ad.
  3. The guy who previously did almost the exact same job was paid a salary 71% more than what I was offered. (He is more experienced, so deserves a higher salary, but this seems a bit out of whack.)

I had the usual frustrating experience with the director of human resources, who told me things I knew to be untrue – especially that he didn’t know if s ingle case where somebody successfully negotiated for more money (I know at least four people who did). I would have been happy with just a couple of thousand dollars more, but in the end I can’t complain. I have more than enough etc etc.

I probably could have bluffed and said I just wasn’t going to take the job. But I’m incredibly uncomfortable playing that game. I did talk to the director general, but not to try to negotiate – just to let him know that there’s a sense among some of the younger staff that they’re undervalued. I was nervous and inarticulate, and afterwards kept thinking of how I could’ve said things better. It occurred to me that if I was doing this about something I was really confident about, and where I felt I had strong knowledge (eg, some sort of political negotiation), I’d actually really enjoy it.

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