By: Revanche

Career Life: Taking the Castle, Part 2

April 25, 2012

Read Part I: Career Life: Securing the battlements for a promotion here

The wait would have been excruciating after Round 1 if I hadn’t firmly [very firmly] decided: I’d done my best with each interviewer (even if it wasn’t the best I could possibly do ever), I had advocates, and my best opportunity to prove that I was the right person for the job would be to continue to do my job well.

Besides, I was stressed enough with having to do my job, take care of my family and a million other things. I simply added a couple new interesting projects to my plate as backup plan hatchlings in case I didn’t land it, and moved along with life.

Stage 4: Getting the offer

It was a bit of a surprise, given several weeks’ wait, that rather than another round of interviews, the panel had decided in my favor.

Obviously, I was quite happy to hear I’d won. … erm, gotten the job, but then I had to receive the offer. I was verbally informed of the terms with the usual caveat that “there isn’t movement” in the offer and that HR would be following up with the formal letter soon.

Of course I mentally scoffed at the caution that there wouldn’t be movement – there would jolly well BE movement.

Stage 5: Negotiating the offer

I had my baseline number that would make me happy in mind. I already knew that the offer had come in below that number. So? I did my research to confirm how I could couch my counter-ask.

My advantage (and disadvantage) were the same: as an internal candidate, I was getting a standard offer.  That’s just what they do.  Nothing extraordinary to entice me from wherever I was coming from, and nothing more than they “had” to give me from one grade to the next.

That meant I knew exactly what the offer formula was and could point out in my Ask that the standard was actually not in keeping with the situation. As the selected candidate, I was confident that they knew my work was well above standard and I’d been held up as the star performer and best hire in my boss’s history of hires during my tenure more than once. I had excellent history and having beaten out candidates with 20+ years of management experience, I felt that reminding them that my salary should reflect that confidence wouldn’t be out of line.

Having built my team out of the ashes I was given, and made it one of the strongest and happiest teams in the most challenged section of the organization, alongside a few other serious accomplishments, I pointed out:

A) My track record in our rather unique culture was a given. My past history was laid out in front of them and a clear indicator of my future performance.

B) I’d already taken a paycut to come to this company and had made my investment of time and energy and commitment; I’d further dedicated myself to the next stages of growth  but while my intent to stay and make a career at the organization was steadfast, I have my own life to consider.

I was asking the organization to come back to the table with support in the form of a commensurate salary that allows me to continue to make the choice to stay on with them long term. (Note: no threats, just the observation that we need to grow in our careers and salary is an integral part of that growth – and staying stagnant in salary and career was not something I signed up for, I made that very clear from the get-go in the interviews.)

My negotiating point of contact asked me what I wanted: I gave her a number substantially higher than my baseline happy number. My negotiator to take my Ask and to negotiate for a 6 month review if they couldn’t meet my number. The accelerated review cycle was my next negotiating point so that was perfect.

Stage 6: Round Two, Negotiations

I didn’t get my higher number, but I got my baseline. Then I asked for one more item that would have been useful to me in quality of life: increased vacation time. This isn’t an area that’s normally negotiable but as usual: you don’t get what you don’t ask for. I also didn’t get what I did ask for but no harm, no foul. The reason given wasn’t really a good or a bad reason. I’ll ask again later when the water’s warm.

Stage 7: Closing Statements

In the end, I got the money and the title with the job that I was mainly already doing. With a few rounds of mockery and a laugh, we signed the paperwork.

Observations:  It wasn’t a fun process but both parties were satisfied with the results and there wasn’t any animosity. I’m set for the next year: to build up the strongest, most productive team we’ve ever had with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had and with the most ambitious team goals ever set so far. That’s not going to be anything like easy but I didn’t get this job or this raise because I set low bars to achieve.

And perusing SavvyWorkingGal’s post on women in the workforce and job disillusionment reminded me of something. Someone once said to me, “They won’t let women get anywhere near power in this place.” I’d laughed and said something random to deflect but I very carefully filed that away. We have women directors aplenty, strong and outspoken, bright and introverted, if you have the eyes to see it. Never let anyone, male or female, faux-befriend and trick you into thinking that the patriarchy is the reason you can’t grow and achieve. They may actually be the ones hoping to keep you down.

Do great work. Enjoy what you do. Support good people. Find allies who love what they do. Mentor people who need mentoring and want to love what they do. Ask for mentoring from people who have integrity, strength, humor and sway. Find your joy and to quote my favorite bus driver: “don’t let nobody take it away.” It all adds up to something substantial.

7 Responses to “Career Life: Taking the Castle, Part 2”

  1. Very impressive! I’m making mental notes.

    “Never let anyone, male or female, faux-befriend and trick you into thinking that the patriarchy is the reason you can’t grow and achieve. They may actually be the ones hoping to keep you down.”

    Those people *are* the patriarchy. And you’re fighting it. That rocks.

  2. “Never let anyone, male or female, faux-befriend and trick you into thinking that the patriarchy is the reason you can’t grow and achieve. They may actually be the ones hoping to keep you down.”

    Phenomenal. That is the spirit we need to hear. I am going to have to link back to you.

  3. Sense says:

    SOOOO inspiring!!

    I tried the ‘extra vacation time’ tactic and failed, as well. honestly, i’d rather get that than a raise!!

  4. Karen says:

    I agree with the above, impressive and inspiring! You’re doing wonderfully at your job.

  5. I’m learning so much from you. Keep these coming!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story – I know you worked hard for this and deserve it!

    If you are looking for post ideas, maybe share some tips on HOW you were so successful building your team & making them happy as a first time (I think?) manager. Did you read books, read interents, or how did you come up with a winning style?

    Just curious.

    But more than that, congratulations and thanks for inspiring!

  7. Amy says:

    That’s great! Thanks for the detailed explanation. Very inspirational.

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