Promotion Negotiations, part 4

There are times when you shouldn't negotiate. If the offer contains anything really unworkable, something you can't do, you can pull the plug on the negotiations yourself. You're under no obligation to accept it. That clearly isn't the job you need.

Impossible offers

It may not be a coincidence if you get an offer which contains built in problems for you. Job contracts containing unworkable conditions are considered a serious problem, and can be an abuse of employment laws. If you're confronted with a package which contains obviously impractical or unfair terms or conditions, you may want to consider getting legal advice. You can also check with your local Department of Labor or equivalent about your rights.

Unacceptable offers

You may find that the offer is genuinely unacceptable, even if it's a legitimate offer. In these cases, you do have some options, but you need to be sure they can work. Stay positive about the job, but start to clarify what's stopping you from accepting it.

  • Spell out the problems
  • Explain why you can't accept
  • Suggest reasonable alternatives

If that doesn't work, you may have to add that you can't take the job if the offer isn't modified. That is a form of negotiation technique, but it's a last resort. It's not recommended if you do have any other options.

Pulling the plug on negotiations

There's a big Danger sign in some forms of job offer negotiation.

If you've been offered a package which you know to be below market rate, or below the package to the previous job holder, you've got a big problem. The problem is the employer, and negotiating could be a big mistake.

In this case, the employer is trying to devalue the position, and by inference, your status in the job. On that basis, you can't accept the offer. You'd be accepting an offer which is by definition a downgraded job, whatever the job title. That does exactly nothing for your professional credibility, or your career prospects.

You could also be getting a similar job which would pay a lot better somewhere else. The job title, skills and experience may be worth something, but you've already qualified to get the job, so that's not much consolation. It's certainly not a career move, except nominally. Imagine getting a job which pays half what other people doing the same work are receiving.

Career issues

Job offer negotiations are a way of controlling your career. You need to understand the process. If necessary, get some formal training with a professional organization. Don't negotiate yourself into a serious possible mistake, or a dead end job. When you're negotiating, keep your eye on the career moves and options. You might just be able to include some valuable additions to your CV and your work record.

Be selective, be clear about what you want, and you can negotiate well, with definite objectives in mind. Compromise is part of negotiations, but you can still work on your career while you're working out the compromises. Negotiation can create opportunities that otherwise might never happen.