Don’t call it negotiation. It’s a talk.
Negotiation seems to be a sticking point with a lot of people.
For some reason, there is a block in these things because the person who feels like they are not in the position of power (e.g. you, the employee or freelancer), cannot know the outcome or result of what you are asking.
I think it’s the word.
It makes people think of war and power and fighting, but it doesn’t have to be.
For one thing, they don’t hold all the power in this relationship.
You need to get rid of this mindset that you’re just this small little ant trying to go against a huge inpenetrable fortress.
Even the most secure of places, can be compromised and even the most amazing things can fail – just look at the ubiquitous example of the Titanic! Just one little iceberg and everything sank the “unsinkable ship”.
The key to remember in all of this is that – they need you. If you can remember that, and then go into detail WHY they need you, it will make you feel a bit better.
Are you the only one with a certain specialized knowledge?
Are you the only one who can fix a specific issue in an urgent manner?
Are you the only person doing that actual job?
These are all points to think about when you think to yourself – oh but why would they ever give me more money? I am not Someone.
Negotiation is also not as scary as it sounds. It’s a talk, to come to a compromise or a decision that will benefit both of you. It’s a conversation. Don’t think of it as a scary, angry, stone-faced talk. It’s a conversation to come to a decision together.
Naturally, you can’t just go in there and expect a sofa-talk with coffee and biscotti.. you have to also go super prepared on your end. You need facts, you need reasons, you need special unique things that you do that no one else does or can’t really accomplish.
You need to go in there, not necessarily guns blazing, but at least with an idea of what you want to accomplish at the end and if you get all of it or even just a bit of it, it’s a win in my books. If it turns out to be a better situation than when you first started, then it’s a victory.
You got SOMETHING.
Sometimes however, you don’t get anything.
You don’t get that 5% raise, but you do come out of it with a win of some sort – you come out of it with a better understanding of what it is you have to change, be it that you at your job, were focusing on the wrong things that didn’t matter to your boss, or that you need to change to a different environment completely.
Either way, any meeting or negotiation, even if you don’t have a concrete win coming out of it, is still information that you have obtained to take the next steps in your career.
You can then decide whether you need to learn a new skill to get that promotion, or that you need to change something about the way you look at your job and focus on something different, or you need to get out of this industry/job/role and do something completely different.
Any information, good or bad, is good to use as a decision in the future.
There is a proverb I read recently that says something along the lines of:
Endure a little but not a lot.
This means for me, that if there is something you don’t love but the rest of it is good – let’s say you have to keep working with a colleague you don’t like, but it is only temporary until another thing comes along or if you change roles; then decide if you can stick it out and what your time frame will be, before you come to the fork in the road and leave or stay.
If it’s not a huge deal, and everything ELSE makes you happy – the work place, the commute, the colleagues, your vacation time, your telecommuting options, then weigh it against what you might get or not get at another place, and decide whether it’s worth the annoyance.
If it is something that is permanent that you really don’t like and it constantly sticks in your ribs and aggravates you each time, then it is time to find a way to fix it. Go to a different department, get training and get into another role, ask to be moved to another area to grow your skills, or just… leave.
In all of the situations above, you can choose your destiny. You have the choice to stay in that environment doing what you do, or you can make it better.
Sometimes, you can leave and come back. If the grass really wasn’t greener on the other side, then go back to where you were happy.