How do you negotiate for influence?
March 29, 2014 9:50 AM Subscribe
It is likely that soon I will be in a possession of a job offer from one of my company's competitors. As sometimes happens, my job search started out of frustration with certain issues in my current workplace rather than a true incompatibility. Ideally, I would love to stay where I am, but in an improved situation; the problem is that that things I want are not concrete things like a promotion or a raise, but rather vague like a greater influence on design and planning, and greater opportunities for leadership roles. How to translate these "wants" into specific, measurable goals?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Short story: I have been in my current job for about a year, on a fairly young team that is still sorting itself out. I have gradually gained my managers' appreciation and trust, and have risen to a level of certain influence, taking initiative and being given supervisory tasks and leadership of prominent projects. However, there was a pushback from some of the team members, apparently due to their feeling that a new guy shouldn't get ahead so much, and my boss, Sybil, who is generally a nice person who doesn't like to upset anybody, tried to make things better by removing most of these responsibilities from me. Granted, I was less than thrilled about this. Over the next weeks, as she witnessed how the resulting problems with leadership and accountability impacted our performance (and how her own life was made inconvenient by the added responsibilities), she started soft-pedalling back, and gradually brought me back on board, but she is still extremely careful that it doesn't look like the new guy is "in charge" of anything.
Now, I can sort of understand the feelings that generated the pushback; but at the same time, I do not want to work in secret. I am good at what I do, and I want to do it openly, and be recognized for it. Sybil has been offering her continued support in our discussions of the situation, but her behavior in these incidents makes me view any verbal declaration with skepticism.
But ideally, I would like to see these events as a problem to be resolved rather than a deal-breaker. I started the search for a new job out of frustration, but I know that a job offer from a competitor is a good bargaining tool. Now that one is incoming, I need some coaching on how to handle this sort of negotiation. My problem is, I am not sure how to convert my vague wishful thinking into specific and measurable goals. I cannot ask for a promotion, I just got one of these recently, and will not qualify for the next column in the table for a few more years; I don't want a raise, it is not about the money. It is about job responsibilities and opportunities for development. I want to go back to the trajectory I was on initially, which included gradually increasing supervisory roles, input on planning and design of our products, eventually taking me toward management position, within a several year's timeframe.
What language do I use? How to even approach this sort of negotiation? How do I trust verbal assurances, which can be disregarded at any point? Do I make a written contract or is this overkill? Should I hope that things will get better with time? Or is this a lost cause and I should move on?
Hope me, dear MeFites, otherwise I might have to go and take that job in California...