Negotiating My Way Through a Tough Decision

by SMD 

In my story Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde I outlined the contradictory nature of my job/entreprenuer situation. Basically I have been working very hard at ‘getting out of the rat race’, meaning my 9 to 5 job, and just as I started to make some serious progress, I received a highly coveted “Permanent Position” as a pretty-well-paid systems analyst. As I outlined in that story, I work for the Government of the one of the wealthiest regions on the planet, so this is a position that would be described by many, as extremely rare with to-die-for job security and benefits.

In situations like this what I like to do is to try and put all the peripheral issues [like more money and benefits] aside and just see what is at my core in response to the choice.

Here’s a good decision making method you may want to try. Flip a coin: okay of course there’s a twist. Say something like heads – I take the job offer and tails – I stay in my current job that I really like. Now, pay attention and as you flip the coin in the air, what result are you secretly cheering for? This is a way to take what is really important and bring it into the picture. When I used this method it was clear that I wanted to keep my current job.

What to do? On the surface it was a silly decision. How could I keep my cake and eat it too as my grandma would say? Negotiate. I went to my boss and told him that I had another job offer. I was told flat out that there was no chance they would match the offer [it is common knowledge that these positions only come available when someone dies or retires and it is not unusual for there to be hundreds of applicants], but he said he would, as a token effort, raise it up the chain of command.

Well, about 10 days later he told me that, to his supreme surprise, there was a rumour that they would somehow manifest the impossible – a matching full time position [personally I think it had more todo with a point of pride at not wanting the other department to be able to raid our staff, than it did to my great value]. Unfortunately, I had to either accept or reject the original offer the next day and a rumour in these parts is not anything to hang your hat on. So I made the very scary step of rejecting the original offer knowing that I may end up with nothing. I didn’t feel that it was fair to try and extend the deadline and since it was clear to me that I wanted to stay [even in a temporary position], so I declined the offer and cashed in all my bargaining power.

Now, I’m not stupid, I didn’t tell anyone that I had rejected the other job offer. Then about two weeks later, it happened, the golden call from HR asking me to go to the RCMP for a background check [which I passed believe it or not]!

So I pulled it off. I got to keep my position, I ended up with a 22% raise [for doing the exact same work], job security till age 65 [I don't plan on using it, but it is still nice] and about a 7 year jump up into an intermediate analyst position [I'm only one year out of college!]. All and all it was a great win-win for me. I think the key take-away is to not be afraid to put the right things first in your decision making process. It was more important for me to keep the job that I liked than to have security and more money. I set my priorities in the right order and then stuck to them for every decision that I had to make in that process.

Holding seemingly conflicting forces in your psyche at the same time, without bending to the discomfort and making a decision too soon, is the greatest visualization and manifestation tool that I’m aware of. The next time you have to make a tough decision try it out; there is always a point in the middle of all the conflicts that is the magic overlap of all opposing forces. Once you’ve seen it work a couple times you’ll begin to crave being in a tight spot because the outcomes are often completely fantastic.

Some Other Articles You May Enjoy


5 Responses to “Negotiating My Way Through a Tough Decision”

  1. TDG on June 13th, 2007 2:31 am

    Congrats on the promotion, and once again a great post. I as well have gone through a job change. The key was that I simply asked for a position and I got it.

  2. tmtb on June 13th, 2007 2:31 am

    I really like the coin flipping idea. That way you know what your gut is telling you and it’s usually right. Everything then aligns itself with that decision. Good post.

  3. Anonymous on June 13th, 2007 2:31 am

    Your writing about your current job and the offered position is really unclear. It sounds like you currently work for the government in an insecure position, and the job you were offered was also in the government, but in a secure position? The only way I see your decision as not being completely foolish and selfish, is if I’m misunderstanding a piece of the puzzle. You made the decision that didn’t require any change or risk to your life or current situation. While it ended up just fine, the decision seems to be counterintuitive to becoming rich and successful on your own terms, sooner rather than later. It sounds to me like you negotiated your way through a tough decision and made the wrong one, but you got lucky.

  4. K on June 13th, 2007 2:31 am

    Congrats on the promotion! Nice to see negotiations work even in the government!

  5. Jon on June 13th, 2007 2:32 am

    Hi Anonymous, Thanks for the feedback. Sorry it is unclear. I was an intern, so my position would have expired in about 10 months. As far as becoming rich and successful, that’s never going to happen in a government job anyways, no matter what I negotiated. To be honest, from the view of getting rich, the decision was unimportant, it is purely a security blanket and practice to see if I can negotiate what I wanted, you see I really liked my current job AND I wanted the more money and improved security of the other job. So could I pull that off?. My real job starts at 5pm every weekday, so even if I ended up being fired on the spot, it would still have been a winning move to try.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!