So then…I clutch the phone tightly, heart hammering, as the HR person utters those words I’ve been desperately yearning to hear: “We’d like to offer you a job when you graduate college.”
HOT DAMN & HALLELUJAH!
I silently shake my 22-year-old booty and gesticulate wildly, fist pumping and foot hopping!
And not just ANY job! A job at a FORTUNE 500 company on PARK AVENUE in NEW YORK CITY!
I’ve been fantasizing about this dream job for months as my fellow seniors and I prep for graduation and what lies ahead for all of us – new cities, new jobs, and (SQUEAL) new PAYCHECKS!
So NOW is the part of the phone conversation where we discuss income.
I try to shake my body free of the “omigodpleasehiremefortheloveofGodIambeggingyoutohireme” vibe –
And replace it with the
I furrow my brow, trying to remember all the clever negotiation techniques my friends and I practiced when discussing how best to secure a terrific starting salary.
Professors taught us to factor in the cost of living in the job location, median salary of other college grads, the type of position, and the relative financial health of the employer.
Based on all that, I REALLY, REALLY want to earn $20,000 a year.
Such a round beautiful impressive number.
And come on, they can afford it! Fortune 500 company! On Park Avenue! In Manhattan!
And come on, I’m worth it! Like seriously “L’Oreal” worth it! Graduating Summa Cum Laude! Paying my way through college by working part-time jobs and taking student loans! Winning awards and scholarships! Earning superb references from multiple summer internships!
I shall stand my ground! I shall earn twenty THOUSAND dollars!
Marvel at my negotiation skills!
HR Exec: “We’d like to offer you a job when you graduate college.”
Me: “Thank you for the offer. What’s the salary?”
HR Exec: “The starting salary will be $18,600 per year.”
Me: “Oh. (pause) I was thinking $20,000.”
HR Exec: “Really? ‘Cause we were thinking $18,600.”
Me: “Oh. OK. That’s fine. Thank you. Thank you very much.”
Did you see that?
Did you see how I had them shaking in their shoes, terrified they’d lose the hottest young recruit in their company’s history?
Did you see how they almost caved – then I swooped in and magnanimously offered to reduce my salary so they could donate funds to charitable causes like blind orphan puppies?
You missed that?
It’s in the subtext. Highly sophisticated people would get it.
So anyhoo…what was YOUR starting salary for your first real job?
And were you as brilliant and tough a negotiator as I?
— Darcy Perdu
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(So spill – any fun salary negotiation stories to share? From either side of the desk? Do you remember your starting salary at your first real job – and what was the job?)