They ended up working me to the bone for 6 months then laid me off once the product shipped.
Little things like this can really give you insight into how a company works. If a company is only willing to negotiate on money then maybe money is the only thing they are interested in.
He also used to put crap clauses into contract drafts (if he knew they'd be passed through lawyers), so that the lawyers can demonstrate being useful without messing with the actual matter of the contract. A true example of serving the true interest of the other side :)
The new lawyer was very much a Make Your Mark person, and despite us, the dept, and admin all saying "we're happy, please pay", she had to add a clause saying: "At any point during the contract, we can cancel and get reimbursed the full price of the contract". That is, they could cancel at 11 months 29 days of receiving support (this is actual send-field-techs-out support, not 'here's our pdfs and phone number') and get the entire year back. Of course it was bargaining nonsense, and we negotiated to a prorata clause, but it caused a fuckton of busywork for all involved, useful to zero people except the Make Your Mark lawyer. So much wasted time and money everywhere just for her to feel validated.
There's actually a programming version of this referenced on an old StackOverflow question - a "Duck", i.e. a feature submitted so management will take issue with it and not something else more important.
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/07/new-programming-jar... - see entry #5
Is your baseball team underfunded compared to others? Use the lowered expectations to test theories and find market innefficiencies.
Are customers are worried that our company is too small? We'll give you the email address of the CEO if you have a problem.
Don't have any money for raises? Offer employees special deals that no larger employer would even consider (like the wave height deal in the story).
Take the weakest part of you and beat the bastards with it.
I took a negotiation class a few years ago running through some examples where each side had to negotiate X and got crib sheets talking about what were the different aspects of the negotiation and how much each aspect meant to each person.
We did the exercises and learned lessons but one thing I noticed was that if we threw out conventional negotiation tactics and instead just showed the other person what our value assignment to each aspect was we both ended up maximizing our utility from the negotiation event. So you would think that it would be great to just be an open book when entering a negotiation right?
The problem is that as soon as one person hides any information then the trust factor that makes this work is broken. And for whatever reason (pride or lack of authority) this happens all the time in real life.
That's why I liked this story. Apparently both parties came to the table open and honest about what they wanted and the outcome I thought was favorable to both parties.
It bothers me that people think like this:
> I was already getting paid almost as much as people who had been on staff for many more years than me.
Salary should be based on performance and expertise, not how many years you've been sitting in a seat.
Rewarding loyalty to the business is not a meaningless gesture, nor should it be an affront to new people.
The difficult thing from the employer's perspective is balancing the reward for many different aspects of each employee that makes that employee important to the company: leadership, loyalty, consistency, trustworthiness, performance, expertise, efficiency, etc.
All other things being equal, a 25-year-old who just joined the company and automated 5 people's worth of work is worth several multiples of the 35-year-old analyst who'd been at the company for 10 years and was doing one of the (now automated) jobs. Yet most companies will pay the 25-year-old significantly less. This is just plain dumb and irrational, and encourages top performers to go elsewhere.
I couldn't disagree more. Loyalty is its own benefit that's worth compensating people for. I value people who come into a group and do more than just contribute a bunch of code. I value people who contribute to the culture and the framework of the ongoing enterprise.
Furthermore, I want newcomers to see how I treat the current employees with respect and reward for being contributing parts of the team not just this past week, but for years.
I'm not at all saying that just occupying a seat in the office should get you rewards. It shouldn't. But occupying the seat AND being productive while you're there is a benefit to me as a company founder.
Give me a competent employee whom I can rely upon year after year vs some hotshot code slinger who is here today and gone tomorrow.
I call it the "Mike Krzyzewski" team building strategy.
I completely agree that contributing to culture and the business is valuable. What annoys me is how much a lot of companies value seniority over anything else. The attitude of "Well, X is older and has been here longer than Y, so they should get paid more" is incredibly prevalent even in the USA. Especially in tech-heavy jobs, I've seen plenty of cases where someone might contribute 5x or 10x as much value as the average person in their position...and receive a 10% higher raise as a result.
This was unfortunately exacerbated by Trade Unions, which needed something "objective" to force owners to pay up and keep members happy, so they built their demands on this sort of easy metrics: seniority, hours of work, etc.
I'm sure if you could find a generic way to calculate productivity in an uncontroversial way, managers and unions would jump on it, but in most cases there ain't, so seniority it is.
And that kind of loyalty makes a company a nice place to work, because what you have is a community of people who are invested in each other.
It's possible to do both, using two tools: promotions and performance bonuses. If the 25-year-old is more of a rock star than the 35-year-old, promote the 25-year-old. Or, give them a nice fat performance bonus for that particular project.
But what is going to keep the 25 year old there for 10 more years? You can only promote someone so much. This is why companies provide merit raises within positions, and how a 35-year-old ends up making more than a 25-year-old for the same job.
An exceptional 25yo vs a should-have-been-fired-already 35yo, maybe you'd have a point.
Assuming they're happy with you they should pay the market rate - what it would take to replace you in the job you do at the level you do it.
If they do that you shouldn't have to worry bout being under paid, they shouldn't be worried about over paying you and for most roles it's pretty easy to work out.
Plus from a selfish point of view anyone in IT would have done better than inflation over the past decade.
The other 2 stories being:
They must be good writers!
This new method helped us to raise a more money in less time then normal boring pledge drives.
ALSO, I'm sure you can hire someone on craigslist to give your work a second read for gramatical mistakes, if that's really a blind spot you care about.
But I worry, are you even trying to get better? It sounds like you've accepted your current skill level as a fixed balance that can't improve, when that's probably not the case.
But I'm curious then: do you currently do the grammar editing yourself (in your "Fixer" package)?
Being a small flexible company means they can't compete on money, but they can compete on flexibility and increasing quality of life.
I think that's all any employee wants from a job -- a good quality of life. Money is probably the worst way of quantifying if they employee is already middle class.
It's amazing even how "here's a week to fix that low priority problem that bugs the shit out of you" would go to improve morale.
Beyond her creativity, Belinda shows great empathy for the author, and at the same time draws on the author's own empathy. This is both powerful and gratifying; at the end of the negotiation, each side feels that the other has his best interest in mind and truly cares about them. This arrangement is not a one-time compromise or an appeasement deal, and it certainly doesn't feel that way. It's a relationship that continues to grow.
I have seen too many engineers go into negotiations with the attitude that there is only one right deal - the one they have crafted and proposed on their own. Yes, management does offer a lot of bull, but its important to re-evaluate every new offer that is different from your own starting position.
> She told me that she wanted to pay me more, but the $2,000 increase, I was already getting paid almost as much as people who had been on staff for many more years than me.
That's an awful reason not to give someone a raise! Politics like this is why so many companies lose good employees. If the author was worth more than the more senior staff, she should have gotten paid more. People talk and there's no real way to keep salaries secret, but who is easier to replace in this situation?
> She more than gave me a fair deal. I stayed with the organization until I was accepted into graduate school. I did not financially benefit from that job in the short term, but in the long term- she put my career in a catapult and shot it forward.
Sounds to me more like she held you back. What could you and the company had achieved had you been properly rewarded? Had to been giving the motivation to take the next step within the company? Keeping you poor sends a clear message that you should focus your efforts elsewhere.
Good grief, no. I was in a similar situation- I got a day off each week, and worked from home for another. That day off was a fantastic benefit- I could get all of the dreary stuff I had to do on the weekend (grocery shopping, laundry) done in half the time I would otherwise, because everywhere was less busy.
That, in turn, made my weekends much more productive and fun. You can do a lot without spending too much money, you know.
What? This whole "no fun without money" attitude is maleficent bullshit.
This dude had a surfboard and waves are free. Besides that, there's a ton of activities that are fun and free or almost free. Running, walking, swimming, biking. Even if you can't do physical activities (for a reason that isn't merely an excuse) there's still meditation, for which the only requirement is basically that you are alive.
The only reason that stops anyone from having fun without money is the mindset.
I actually had a discussion with my employer the other day about how next time he considered a raise, I would actually prefer more vacation time, or a shorter work week. I enjoy the stability of a monthly paycheck, and I enjoy the work I do. However, given the choice of more free time and more money, I currently desire more free time.
> Guess what you do with vacation days when you have no money. Sit at home and be bitter about the fact that you can't afford to go any where.
The opposite can also be said, "Guess what you do with extra money and no vacation days. Work all day saving money and be bitter about the fact that you don't have time to take a vacation and spend it."
I bet literally nobody on hacker news has a side project that they wish they had time for.
Nope. Nuh uh.
The stuff I'm pushing for at my company is being allowed to remote-work, and more time off. Not because I want to get away from anything, but because it will allow me to focus better on the projects I'm doing for them, and also have more time for the projects I'm doing for me.
That conversation changed my life. I realized that getting rich was a stupid goal, because everything I wanted to get by being rich I could get without being rich. There are broke people traveling the world, skiing everyday, surfing everyday, etc.
I also realized that although a random day skiing is undoubtedly more fun than a random day working, I would be unsatisfied by just doing that all the time.
I think the ideal is a job you believe in with good work/life balance. 3 day weekends every weekend. Even working 40 hours a week with a short commute and quick access to a mountain or an ocean is great.
Meanwhile, working 80 hours a week for really any amount of money isn't worth it.
What do you think they'd be doing on days off? Surfing maybe?
1. He clearly has an altruistic bent (he'd just returned from the Peace Corp. in Kenya)
2. He liked his position for its flexibility and variety as noted throughout the article.
I think the point of the article is that many people approach salary negotiations as an optimization of just salary. But his real desire was to be happy and money was only one component of that. The boss found ways to make him happy without meeting his salary demands.
The story isn't a story of a 'clear win' for him, its an analysis of how to approach negotiations. Salary negotiations aren't always about maximizing your salary, you can make them more flexible by maximizing for your happiness. It presents more flexibility to both participants.
Perhaps where I disagree with you (and others who have responded to me) is in how important it is to keep good employees. If the author really is worth more than the more senior staff, the company has failed itself tremendously by losing him. If he is worth more than the others today, what will he be worth in the future (what is his growth potential). Putting up roadblocks for growth in your employees has to be one of the worst things HR can do.
Clearly the author believes it was a somewhat raw deal in terms of the money, read the summation at the end of the article, however he shows that you can get something you want that is not directly monetary, and that long term value can come out of it.
Also he clearly says that he had the chops to find another job, but what she did was make the non-monetary compensation attractive enough that it fit. If it did not, he would not have taken the deal.
Also to address the "keeping you poor" comment, he states more than once that she showed him all the budgeting, and he agreed with her conclusion that there wasnt any more money. Where should the money come from?
Not everybody treats a 'vacation' the same way. For someone with a family that could be extra time with the kids. For my dad it would mean extra time in the garden and doing yard work. For me it would probably mean sitting at home playing video games. People aren't obligated to spend money traveling somewhere on their vacation time.
2. "Keeping you poor". That really depends on how you measure poverty - the author clearly feels like the lessons learned from his time at the company were far more valuable than an extra $3,000 a year would be, and given his writing, I'd be inclined to agree with him.
Bottom line... Always work for experience over money.
It has a test to see what bargaining type you are and doesn't just focus on the "get the max tricks" like a couple of other books.
Pretty ethical in general.
I find that many wait for their managers to automatically do the right thing and then get disappointed. I've always advocated being more proactive about this.
Let's say I want a raise and a promotion this year. I outline it in my goals, and as the year progresses have meetings with my manager to make sure I'm doing everything possible to reach that goal as well as documenting things along the way. When it comes time for review, one of two things will happen: either you have communicated clearly what you want and you get most of it, or you get screwed either by your manager or his/her manager. If that's the case, you then need to decide if something went wrong, or if it was not in good faith. If so, it's time to leave.
Also, protip: find out when budgets are being set, that's the time to push/remind for more money/whatever. Usually by the time reviews come around, things are pretty much set in stone.
Don't be sad. Keep kicking ass and follow what I've written. I'm willing to say that you will likely have a more positive experience next go-around.
PS. This only works if you do actually work hard and get shit done. If you like goofing off and just want more $$, it will NOT work.
I know plenty of people who work at below-market wages for nonprofits because they support the mission. This fellow had some of that, but he also valued surfing time more than extra cash. People also value recognition, good colleagues, solid benefits, low stress, and a bunch of other things.
Just because people value different things than you doesn't make them wrong. De gustibus non est disputandum.
It has nothing to do with the supposed greed that you absurdly assign to the engineer. It has to do with critical evaluation of the company's financial condition. A company that can not pay market rate because they don't have enough money can't afford to be in business and will not continue to do so for much longer.
There are lots of jobs out there, just like there are plenty of potential romantic partners. Sure, someone could date a homeless crack addict. Perhaps those who don't do so are shallow according to the same sort of argument being used here.
Looks like they are still going. Just like every shoestring nonprofit I know.
And the reason is exactly that people get paid in things other than money. They could also have run the radio station with market-rate salaries. They would have had a drastically smaller staff. But because they wisely recognized that money isn't the only thing that matters, they looked for people who could take substantially lower salaries but valued other things they could offer.
* Getting Past No
* Getting To Yes