Negotiations Can Be Tricky
Learning to be assertive
After I hung up the phone I had to take a deep breath. I felt sick to my stomach.
I have done the unthinkable. I negotiated for a better raise and for moving expenses. I am proud of myself. I managed to keep my cool...I managed not to stutter. And I sounded strong. My voice had a conviction that I did not know that I had inside me.
I have always thought of myself as an outspoken person...but very quietly assertive. I have no qualms voicing my opinions and vehemently championing my own arguments. But, I have never negotiated.
Sure...I negotiate with my children (sometimes) and I negotiate with coworkers about what we're going to do for lunch. Asking/Negotiating for a higher raise after being offered a promotion is a completely different ballgame. A ballgame for which I came unprepared.
I did not go in to the conversation with guns blazing. I set up a mutually convenient time for my possible-future boss and I maintained a calm demeanor throughout our conversation. But it was a surprising strength that I told her: I cannot accept less than X amount of dollars and I have to have moving expenses for this to work.
There was at least 30 seconds of heartbreaking silence from the other end of the line. Then...a light cough...and with a soft voice my possible-future manager said: "Let me see what I can do." Oh my God! I can't believe I DID that! I feel like screaming and jumping up and down!
And that was the end of the 10 minute, seemingly endless and excruciating phone call. Now I have to struggle not to send any preemptive e-mails asking if there's any word on my counteroffer. I used to think waiting was the hardest part but now I know that determining your worth and trying to convince an executive of your value is much harder than waiting. What will happen next if the company rejects my self-imposed self-worth? Does that mean they do not think I am as awesome as I think I am? (Only kidding about me being super-awesome.)
I played hardball...nicely...and I enjoyed it a great deal. For the first time in my life I feel like I truly deserve this. I worked hard for this promotion. I am worth the salary that I requested. I am pleasantly surprised at my business prowess. Hopefully it does not backfire and the company laughs in my face. (Just thinking about it makes my heart whither a tiny bit.)
I understand that negotiating a salary does not seem like a big deal to some...but it is a big deal to me. I finally planted my feet firmly on the ground and stood up for something that will change my family's life for the better. As the saying goes..."Baby needs shoes..."
To be continued...(hopefully!)