Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Negotiating 101. . .

One of the first rules of negotiation, is that you have to be willing to walk away.

That’s right, fold your tent, pack up your briefcase, and say “No deal”. If you’re not willing to do that, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the other party, you’ll end up taking whatever is offered, simply because, you’re not willing to walk away.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well today, the recruiter called me and asked if more money would change my mind. I thanked him for calling, but that no, money was not the issue. I reiterated that what had interested me in the project was the ability to work it remotely and to play a large role in the redesign.

That they were unwilling to commit to that, and as long as that was true, I was not willing to ‘get on board’.

So, since last Friday, when my rate was going to “leave him awfully thin” once he paid me, he’s offered a plane ticket home every two weeks, and now to pay me even more.

I’ve got to admit, I have re-thought my decision several times. Each time though, the potential downsides, have out weighed everything else.

At the end of our conversation he asked, what will you do if the current contract isn’t extended? What if that happens?

What if indeed… What if:
  1. I get on site and they decide they’re paying me too much?
  2. it ends up to be a “no end in site” maintenance gig?
  3. the working conditions really suck
  4. I hate living there
  5. Their idea of ‘casual’ is a two piece suit
  6. My wife becomes unhappy with me being gone 24 out of 28 days?

I’m much better at the ‘what if’ game I told him, I do ‘what if’ for a living!

I did counter his offer though. I offered to take on a piece of work, on spec, to be done remotely. That if I couldn’t deliver, they’d owe me nothing. If I do, they cover any and all travel expenses for any time they want/need me in CT. If I were a betting man, I’d bet he won’t even mention it to them.

I do want to say one thing here, this recruiter, has worked his butt off trying to make this deal come together, it’s not his fault the client can’t commit to a plan, and a process. I’d love it if he were able to place me as I can’t remember a recruiter who’s ever worked harder.

Also, I’d be a bit remiss if I didn’t mention Andrew McNeill he not only commented on my last couple of posts here, he also gave me a mention at his place and on Microsoft blogs Canada yesterday, and left a couple of links at JobSyntax as well. Thank you Andrew for all the kudos!!

One of the things I love about blogging, is I find that despite feeling like the ‘only one’ this stuff happens to, I’m not. That there are many, many folks out there dealing with these same kinds of decisions every single day. They may not all be contractors, but they have to make career decisions regardless.

I hope that something in all of this helps you the next time you’re struggling with a decision about a job change.

As always, thanks for stopping by… If anything strikes a cord, leave me a comment so I’ll know!

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Excellent post you are so coreect about not relocating for the gig.

For the most part they want you on site due to being control freaks and not really knowing their own purpose in the company.

If the company finds out that they can save expenses by "remote" workers than the guy with the corner office and executive water closet key loses his perks!

Bill said...

Greg - Thanks for the vote of confidence! I don't know the underlying reasons at their end, only my own for not 'getting on board'.

I do wonder sometimes though, how a company can miss the opportunity to be had by bringing the best team possible together, regardless of the 'physical' locations.

In another 10 years, remote work will be the norm, actually going on site will be the exception I think.

Firehawk said...


Sounds a little too "up in the air" for my taste. The whole, "We don't know what you'll be doing, or for how long, or if we really want to pay you what you're worth to get it done..." thing would put me off, too.

I think that the ability to stand firm and ask for what you want can sometimes make people mumble nasty things under their breath about you, but in the end, you can't bargain from a position of strength if you always cave in to other people's demands.

Money is abstract. It comes and goes. Integrity, on the other hand, is something you can't just buy and sell. Good for you, in terms of asking for what you want and sticking to it.

Good to be back here and reading your stuff, too. I've had a hard time freeing up enough time to blog lately, but we always hope for better things in the future.

Jada's Gigi said...

You are SO right about being able to walk away in negotiations...I have learned this from my hubby...cause I tend to get stuck on what I want but he has the ability to want something but not at any price...and other options are always around the corner anyway...just believe. :)...good lesson for me to learn....

Bill said...

Firehawk - Money is abstract, until you don't have any... things get pretty tangible about then... or at least that's what I've found. Fortunately, the flow has always returned after it ebbed.

Time my friend, is the one thing there is just never enough of!

It's good to see you back as well!

Cheryl - Not only do you need to know your limits, you need to knwo there's as well... also, the 'hat trick' is knowing their time frame, if it's shorter than yours, that's always an advantage as well! :)

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