I met a friend for a glass of wine this afternoon. She is an ear nose & throat doctor, and she has received an out of the blue job offer from a coveted institution.
"Do you know what the offered salary is?" I cut to the chase.
"Better than your job now?"
"Not by a lot."
"You're going to negotiate your salary, right?" I checked.
"I don't know..."
Turns out that this woman who had the courage to start her life over in a different country, who had the tenacity to attend medical school in the U.S. to validate her studies abroad, who has kicked butt at several prestigious fellowships and who helps people lead liveable lives by giving advice and instructions... is scared to ask.
"It's just that I don't feel like I'm anything that special or remarkable. Why should I get more money than they're offering? Why would they give me more than what they're offering? I feel grateful to get the job offer in the first place," she confessed.
"Why? They're expecting you to negotiate, and you ARE awesome. They came to you."
"But what if they have budget constraints? Especially these days. Or if I price myself out?"
"That's why you have to snoop around first. Once you know there's some flexibility -- and, I have no reason to know this, but this is what I'm guessing -- there's always a little flexibility, even when they say there's not. You should at least try."
"So when we meet I'll say, 'We need to negotiate my salary!' "
"Something like that. Maybe not sounding quite so forceful. But what if before talking to them, you got some practicing asking? We can role play."
She agreed. I know she thinks I'm kooky. And a little obsessed by this asking project -- and she's right on both counts.
Anyway, I took out my pad and wrote out this "prescription." (I took a picture with my cell phone, but it's blurry. Here it is part of the page).
The idea is based in spirit on a weeklong asking exercise called the Negotiation Gym, created by the writers of Ask for It (and Women Don't Ask). The idea is to help you discover that asking 1) isn't scary even when you're rejected and 2) gets easier over time.
I created each daily goal together with my friend, checking at each step to see if it would help. Here's the list.
Ask for something random you'd normally not ask for that...
Day 1. you know you'll get
Day 2. you might get
Day 3. you definitely won't get
Day 4. Break.
Day 5. Actively negotiate something, anything
Day 6. Ask/negotiate for more TIME (she's busy, and I wanted to give her a goal she really cares about to see how that affects her methods and success)
Day 7. Ask in a nice way something that seems to you offensive or rude or difficult, but might not be to the other person. Look for a solution to a problem you have, etc (i.e. to help her get over herself, since many times I think people stop themselves, shock themselves, when the person being asked wouldn't mind in the least helping out or providing said service/favor/courtesy)
In the first three, I told her to ask for stuff she doesn't care about, has no investment in. Just to get a feel for it and feel ok taking risks, getting rejected, letting loose. In the last three, it has to be for goals she is actually interested in obtaining.
Every day, she should keep a log with what she asked for, the result, an analysis of her method (what could improve, what went well), and how she felt asking.
After seeing the list, she thought about it and realized she's been negotiating left and right already. She just hadn't seen it that way ebfore.
"Ok?" I asked.
Gained I: Spread some askerly love. With her permission, I'll let you know how her week o' asking goes... and how that salary negotiation turns out!!!
As for what I asked. I ended up on someone's email list, and many months ago I requested that he remove me, through email and voicemail. Since then, he's kept spamming me and I've kept asking him to stop. I could just put his email in the spam filter, which is what I do with most other annoying message senders, and which is much easier. But now I'm actually intrigued by the the process of getting him to stop.
That is, I've been fairly successful in getting people to do something, but how do you get someone to not do something?
It's much harder, it turns out.
After various attempts, with no success, today I sent him this email. Is the all caps excessive? Maybe I could have saved them for the last paragraph. I don't know. I've never sent an all caps email before, but maybe this will get the point across that I mean business? We'll see next Sunday... Here it is:
PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST.
I HAVE ASKED TO BE REMOVED APPROXIMATELY 10 TIMES.
IF I RECEIVE ANY MORE MESSAGES FROM YOU, ROB/RAOUL APPEL AND/OR SD THEATER SCENE, BESIDE A MESSAGE CONFIRMING THE END OF MY UNDESIRED, UNREQUESTED AND UNTOLERATED EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION TO YOUR NEWSLETTER, I WILL TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:
--REPORT ROB/RAOUL APPEL TO AMERICA ONLINE, WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE SUSPENSION OR TERMINATION OF HIS ACCOUNTPLEASE CEASE AND DESIST.
--REPORT YOU TO THE SAN DIEGO COMMISSION FOR ARTS AND CULTURE
--REPORT YOU TO THE SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION
--REPORT YOU TO THE TIPPETT FOUNDATION
--REPORT YOU TO THE FTC BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
--REPORT YOU SPAM GUARDS DATABASES, WHICH MAY PLACE YOUR EMAIL ON A BLACK LIST AND HINDER YOUR ABILITY TO SEND UNSOLICITED EMAILS TO NEW ADDRESSES IN THE FUTURE
--ENCOURAGE MY FRIENDS, FAMILY AND INTERNET CONTACTS TO THE SAME
--USE YOUR ASSOCIATION, NAME, AND THE NAME OF ROB/RAOUL APPEL IN INTERVIEWS WITH OR PIECES PUBLISHED BY THE MEDIA ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF *SPAM.*
I HAVE ASKED KINDLY. I HAVE ASKED PATIENTLY. NOW I AM TIRED OF ASKING AND I WILL TAKE ACTION IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY WITH MY REQUEST.
Gained II: I know, what drama. No results yet, but I advanced the experiment of making someone stop, rather than start, a behavior.