You should be grateful

Last week Laurie did a great post on dick moves in the workplace that I think we can all relate to. You spend enough time around different kinds of people, you’re bound to be the perpetrator or recipient of a dick move. Probably both. I know I have. Now, I don’t want to be a self hating HR person and all, but dude, sometimes we can be major jerks. About things that we should totally know how to behave better too. What can I say, it’s like a nurse who smokes.

Case in point, I was having coffee this morning with an old friend and he was telling me about his job. We got to talking about the initial job offer and he laid this little gem on me: The HR person negotiating the offer told him the salary they offered was quite good for someone his age. What the (bleep) does that mean? I didn’t realize that a 30 year old was only supposed to earn a certain amount of money vs. a 40 year old. Obviously my education has been deficient in this area. But then again, I’m almost 30 myself so maybe that’s why I don’t understand the concept.

Look, I understand that companies have to watch their bottom line when in salary negotiations but let’s not resort to bullshit rhetorical arguments to do it. It’s disingenuous at best and purposefully manipulative at worst. If you have a high performing candidate who can bring significant value to your organization you and I both know that their age has absolutely nothing to do with it. Telling them to be grateful for the pittance you are offering them because of their age is the fastest way to start the relationship off on the worst possible foot. And it’s the fastest way to lose them once they are in a position where they don’t have to take it from you anymore. So companies, be grateful while you can for the upper hand the poor economy has given you in salary negotiations, because it isn’t going to last.

One Response to You should be grateful

  1. Deb May 4, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    I disagree in general. Yes, it wasn’t the wisest thing to say, but a 30 year old doesn’t have the experience that an older person has, in spite of his abilities. There is much more to a successful placement than just technical experience. Your ranting is a case in point.

    In addition, EVERY company wants someone to grow with them, but also has budgets in place. (Or at least most companies — most of us aren’t fortune 100s or even 500s. Most of us are in fact smaller companies.) If the 30 year old is expected to be with the company for awhile, there needs to be room for salary growth as well as professional growth.

    The problem with many people in this generation is that they expect everything immediately. But unless you are the very unusual whiz kid in town hired by a specialized, VERY successful and innovative company, it ain’t gonna happen. Unfortunately, this is a lesson my own daughter has yet to learn. She’ll be entering the work force in a couple of years. And yes, she’s worried.