October 16th, 2003


Calling all sharks

I am such a bad, bad, negotiator when it comes to myself. It's frightening, really. And I've never found myself in quite this position before. The offer from the job referenced earlier has arrived. And the position itself is perfect. I really liked the managers who interviewed me. It's 5 minutes from my house. But the $ offer is *way* (and I do mean *way*) below my present salary. So far below it that if it weren't for the fact that the job itself and the title actually represent forward career motion, I'd be afraid the salary level would doom me to repeat most of the last 8 years in which I worked my way up from a temporary administrative position in a big consulting firm to achieve again the current salary level.

So I'm looking for advice. I really want this job to work. And from a bare-bones perspective, I'd say the difference between what I thought was my absolute minimum acceptable salary and what they've offered is about $9,000 (that's about half the difference from my present salary with hour long commute each way).

How should I approach them? All the standard benefits are included, 401k match is good, and to ask for more vacation would only result in my having more vacation than I could take. Do I ask them to meet me halfway? Do I insist on my former minimum? Must I suck it up if I really want the job?

Seriously. I've never had to do a negotiation on salary before; folks have always come to me and made offers I couldn't refuse since I left that old consulting company. This is an offer I could easily refuse, but don't want to...

So what's the right way to go with this? I did tell the recruiter who extended the verbal offer that the salary was *significantly* below my expectations and that I'd need to talk it over with the family before getting back in touch with her. Made no implied acceptance whatsoever.

Oh. 'nother note: I did know I'd have to take a cut for this job. The reason companies locate to an area like mine is to get cheap land and labor.