Before the regular post, a bit of housekeeping. I’m getting married tomorrow and then heading off for a honeymoon where I’ll be largely off the grid. I’ve scheduled posts to go out during that time and social media blasts to announce them, but in case things get weird, know that the ship is on auto-pilot. If you tweet/message/email me or submit questions, know that I won’t be back home and playing catch-up until late September.
With that out of the way, I’m going to make my last post before leaving a post about something people frequently ask me. This actually isn’t a reader question submission, per se, but I’m asked about it enough that it might as well be. If you’ll recall, a while back, I talked about how to negotiate with your employer by suggesting that you should negotiate for non-monetary perks with a lot more value than whatever pittance you’ll claw out of them. But what if you really want or need more money?
I was reading this post on Simple Programmer by Xavier Morera the other day. In it, he mentioned walking away from a job and having them offer to double his salary, and this struck a chord with me as a valuable lesson for how to negotiate with employers if what you really want is more money. You’re probably thinking that a doubling of salary sounds outlandish, and, while that is unusual, it’s not as crazy as you think because of Xavier’s circumstances, which are likely different than yours. They’re quite probably different because he wasn’t looking for the money and walked away from it. You’re looking for it.
So how can you set yourself up to negotiate when you really want that money and you want to stick around the company for a while?
Remedial Opportunist Raise Negotiation
Something I still see people do that just makes me cringe is to secure a competing offer from another company and use it as raise leverage. Often this happens after someone unsuccessfully pushes for more money, but they might just opportunistically go out and do it. This is, strictly speaking, an opportunist move. (If you’re not familiar with my definition of the company hierarchy, you should read about it to understand what I mean by “opportunist.”) But it’s a move by someone who is bad at being an opportunist and probably destined for flameout followed by checked out pragmatism. Opportunists are risk tolerant, but this type of leveraging is an extreme short term, prospect-killing play.
Put yourself in a manager’s shoes and imagine the conversation. Bob saunters in, sits down and says, “so, I just got a really tempting offer from Initrode and it’s actually for 10K a year more than I make here. I’d really like to stay, but it’s hard to leave that money on the table. If you could match it… look, I’m sorry to put you in this spot, but it just sort of happened.” What’s your next thought?
I’ll tell you what mine is in this situation. “Yeah, it just ‘happened,’ huh, Bob? You tripped, fell, called in sick here a couple of times, got dressed up in a suit, scheduled multiple rounds of interview with several people, received an offer letter, negotiated to a final offer and walked in here with it to show me? Yeah, that’s a crazy coincidence!” Bob is wearing a smarmy smile and insulting my intelligence. This didn’t “just happen” — it was a calculated piece of leverage, executed at a time when Bob leaving would be an operational problem. Bob’s strongest case for increased compensation was soft blackmail.