Negotiation Blues

Yesterday I went for a morning meeting with HR at my potential new office. The practical purpose of the trip was to try out the commute real time. But my mind was pretty much made up. I brought the contract, unsigned, with the intention of signing it there.

On the way I made a few calls about the cost of parking — I had found out earlier in the week none was available on site. A year of parking would come in around £3,000 or roughly 10x my annual bus fare in London. My joy over the petrol card benefit subsided. After a pep talk from husband, I decided to negotiate on this and a few other benefit related discrepancies. Husband is a well known negotiating wimp who fails to take his own advice but hands it out with authority.

I hate negotiating. The only way I have ever done it is if, like in this scenario, I can string together some benefits-related story that shows I am worse off than in the previous job despite a salary increase. Unlike a Loreal model, I have never been able to say actually I want X amount “just because I’m worth it.”

The impromptu negotiation took place with two HR ladies in a conference room named Vivaldi or some other universally liked composer. Despite my discomfort with the situation, I think it went reasonably well. By which I mean I wasn’t cast out from the building to the tune of accusations of being a greedy bugger who didn’t know how lucky I was to get a good offer like this in the midst of the second Great Depression. In general they displayed lots of eye contact and affirmative nodding and only the merest hint of annoyance that it had taken me over a week to ask for more money. I was full of assurances that I was ready to accept if we could come to some agreement on the matter of these expenses.

Friday came and went with no feedback from HR ladies. The rational part of my brain tells me they just couldn’t get in touch with the boss who had to authorise my request, and I’ll hear something Monday. Husband backs this up with assurances that negotiating was the right thing to do – there’s always more money on the table than the first offer—and that the measly sum I was trying to up sell them on is but a drop in their vast corporate ocean.

The crazed emotional wreck side of my brain tells me the boss is furious at my impudent behaviour. Rational brain reminds me I am a grown woman and boss man is not my father. I am a negotiating, skilled professional businesswoman even if crazed emotional wreck brain tells me I have absolutely no skills and these people are clearly insane to offer to employ me at such a wage. They are surely right now at this very moment over evening cocktails coming to this conclusion and my offer shall be promptly rescinded Monday morning.

I too am off for some cocktails to ease the anxiety: a tutored wine tasting benefit at and for the village hall.

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