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December 11, 2010

Here’s the latest Reverb10 prompt I’m willing to do:
Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Half my problem is that I take these things too literally. I spend so much time thinking of things and then saying “Is that really the WISEST? Or is it just kinda wise? Was there something wiser? What do you know about wisdom, anyway?”

I thought about talking about quitting drinking. That was pretty wise. Or going to CA10. That was awesome and wise.

But earlier in the year, I did something extremely tough for me that was also kinda wise. Let me frame it up for those of you who have forgotten.

In December 2009, I got laid off, along with thousands of other people from the company where I worked. I searched and searched and searched for another job and got a few interviews. I finally had an offer for a job that I really wanted, a job that seemed perfect for me, a job that would pay somewhat more than my old job.

The HR lady made me an offer. She and I really had not hit it off. If it was up to her, I am sure that there would have been no job offer, but it wasn’t up to her, thank goodness.

What did I do?

I asked for more money. Not a HUGE amount more, but about 10% more than they offered. I am not a good negotiator. I am more of a “Oh, thank you for whatever pittance you want to pay an incompetent like me!” I stepped up this time because I felt like I had to, that it was time, that I was worth it.

The HR lady was like my worst nightmare come true.

“Why, don’t you think YOU’RE special,” she snapped.

“You know what? I do,” I said, quietly and evenly, willing myself not to run from the room crying.

She told me she had to check with my boss-to-be.

I got the money. All of it. It isn’t enough to make a large difference in my lifestyle, what with taxes and all, but it did make a huge difference in my self-esteem. That was like getting a million dollars, and I gained a bit of wisdom: Ask. All they can do is say yes or no.

Suebob and many tutus
(Not really related). And then I made tutus. Photo by Average Jane.

  1. December 11, 2010 18:48

    You ARE special. Good for you for owning it.

  2. December 11, 2010 19:00

    I think more of us need to ask for 10% more. Good for you.

    • December 11, 2010 20:26

      Yes, especially women. It seems like we have a harder time owning our awesomeness.

  3. December 11, 2010 19:04

    I love this. Good for you! How freeing.

    • December 11, 2010 20:25

      I don’t know why it took me 48 years to figure out.

  4. December 11, 2010 20:04

    Wow – you are awesome! But what a response from the HR lady! I’m a little shocked she would be allowed to say something like that (not that she is “allowed” but you know what I mean).

    • December 11, 2010 20:24

      One of my friends told me “She’s mad because you’ll be making more than her,” and I think he might be right.

  5. December 12, 2010 08:24

    Good for you for asking for more money! I am so glad I learned early in my career that it is okay to ask for more money and yes, they can just say no. I learned accidentally, when an internship offered to me paid such little money that I actually could not afford to take it. I politely told the guy making the offer and he upped his offer to something I could afford. Again, I learned accidentally, but man, I put it to good use in my later job offers!!

    • December 12, 2010 16:39

      I WISH I had learned this a long, long time ago.

  6. December 12, 2010 11:03

    Wow, how incredibly rude that woman was!

    Good for you for holding out for the salary you wanted. I’m job hunting right now and I’m determined to get a certain dollar amount. I’ll be thinking of you when I’m negotiating.

    • December 12, 2010 16:38

      Good luck to you! I will send good thoughts your way.

  7. December 12, 2010 16:59

    first of all: that woman should be out of a job. It is not her place to make any remarks like that and it kills me with so many good people out of a job, this bitch still gets a paycheck.

    second: Yay you! This has been the year of me sticking up for me and it has changed my life. It is still hard, just not as hard as it used to be and that is a great feeling.


    • December 12, 2010 17:46

      Yeah, it WAS pretty shocking. But one of the nuttinesses of modern corporate life is that it is incredibly easy to get laid off in a reduction in force and incredibly hard to get fired for cause.

  8. December 13, 2010 06:42

    I am really terrible about holding out for more money. This is why I so often end up seething because a colleague who spends most of the day looking for his own butt with a flashlight makes more money than I do.

  9. December 13, 2010 09:15

    I don’t think I have ever worked with an HR person who wasn’t completely unprofessional and unqualified to be nurturing and growing human capital. I’ve never had the wisdom and the courage to stick to my guns in the face of their incompetance either. Yay you!

    • December 13, 2010 12:05

      What IS it with HR people? In my work experience they have most often been rude, unprofessional, and the LAST people I would ever seek out as a *resource.* Why are they so cranky?

      • December 13, 2010 13:02

        Maybe it is because they know they may have to fire you at any minute, so they don’t want to be too nice? Hm…thinking.

    • December 13, 2010 13:00

      So much for being “people persons.”

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