Negotiating a golden, but onerous handcuff


Posted on January 16, 2015

I AM being pirated and was given a tempting job offer to work as a department head of one real estate developer. The offer sheet contains everything, including a budget for a P1.5-million car and a P15-million condo unit that I can enjoy right away. The title will remain with the company. However, if I resign or am dismissed, the condo unit will be forcibly (no choice) sold to me at the price prevailing at the time of my separation and can be paid by taking out a bank loan. Whatís your advice? -- Cautionary

Youíre having a happy but tricky problem. But letís take it lightly from the perspective of one recruitment manager who jokingly said to one job applicant:

ďWe keep our salaries low so you wonít have much to lose if you get fired.Ē

While youíre thinking about that yarn, let me ask you this question: Suppose, you became extremely lucky to receive another exciting job offer with almost the same value from another prospective employer.

How would you decide at that point? Your confidence level would zoom right up the sky. It goes to show that your intelligence, industry, skill, and credibility in the industry are responsible for your marketability.

Now, letís put it in another way. Suppose, you failed to receive any job offer despite the fact that you have been an industry veteran, then what would you think? Youíre thinking that headhunters are looking at a different direction. But still, youíll think youíre happy with your current job, anyway. Perhaps God has a different plan for you. Youíre getting an annual reasonable pay increase and you donít want to abandon your seniority rights, excellent working relationship, and other good things youíre enjoying with your current employer.

So whatís the point of jumping to another employer?

Thatís self-serving bias. Youíre asking my advice because youíre tempted to accept the lucrative job offer. Youíve a bias for material things but not on other things like the personality behind the controlling interest of that real estate company. Are they political cronies, tax evaders, womanizers, gamblers, or with strings of court cases? Sure, the personality of the business owner is separate and distinct from the corporation.

Itís really difficult to make a distinction. But it boils down to image.
In other words, donít decide based on what is written on the job offer.

Examine what is not written. Focus on the good and bad sides of your prospective employer. Do the same thing with your current employer.

Donít limit yourself to making a decision based on the peso sign. Even if it feels good to receive job offers left and right, you canít simply make a decision based on material rewards. Instead, decide until the following questions have been satisfactorily answered:

First, what is the cause of the job vacancy in your prospective employer?

And why are they not hiring or promoting someone from within? The answers will give you a hint on the challenges and issues of that organization that can also happen to you.

Second, what is the reputation of your prospective employer in the eyes of the general public? What is its management style? How would you like to be associated with those people? Given the unsavory character of some stockholders, how would that affect your job and your own image?

Tell me your boss, and I will tell you who you are.

Third, how would you compare the job offer based on industry standards? Is it low or high? What is your real worth given the length of your service and experience with your current job? Is it worthwhile to consider other employersí offer vis-ŗ-vis your comfort level with your current job?

Lastly, what is the turnover rate of your prospective employer? What are the usual issue of ordinary employees against management? Youíve to be clever by working a little harder to investigate these things with other workers.

Beware, if youíre getting a negative feedback or if the prospective boss wonít give you a convincing answer. Salary negotiation is not about pay and perks. Itís more than that. Donít limit yourself on the P15-million condo unit offer. Indeed, it is a golden handcuff, but just the same, it is a handcuff that could make your life miserable in the future. So before you make a decision, consider all the things that are important to you.

Working for a new employer involves some luck, at least to a certain degree. But with a lot of background checking, you can make a wise decision. Remember, the employerís goal is to earn more money which can be done by selling more products or cutting costs. Conversely, your personal goal is to bring the most money to your family and be happy with your career. Your challenge is how to reconcile both interests.

ELBONOMICS: Signing a job offer is the opportunity to begin again with another job search.