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48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 9 Questions

Chapter 9: Show Me the Money

1. Is negotiating on price uncomfortable for you? Describe 3 things for which you negotiated the purchase price. Extremely uncomfortable. I've rarely negotiated price, except to accept less than I wanted to sell something at a garage sale. I don't like to make a fuss. Negotiating price feels like making a fuss to me. Miller asserts: "But realize that negotiating salary is not a confrontational process and certainly not a win/lose proposition."

2. Have you negotiated your income in the past? Since graduating from college I've only had two "real" jobs: the first I started as an entry-level trainee, for which I did not negotiate salary because I had no background in desktop publishing and I was fresh out of college, working at a coffee shop (I loved that work but felt victimized by the predominating Old Boys' Network; passed over for management in favor of a less qualified young man). During my decade-long career I rose from entry-level trainee to satellite office manager and commanded a salary I never negotiated and for which I never felt worthy. When I left that job to work at the preschool my son attended, I started as a substitute teacher at minimum wage, within three years gaining a position as a lead teacher with subsequent salary increase, which I did not negotiate. In fact, I didn't want to be lead teacher. I just accepted what they paid me.
My current work as an early childhood educator garners woeful compensation and meager prestige. But I like it. When it became apparent that my abilities fit well with the philosophy at SSCS, the directors there quoted me a salary range. When I told them there was no way I could work at the lower end, they looked over their budget and managed to find ways to pay me at the upper end. I don't feel like this was negotiating, but maybe it was. It was simple fact. I couldn't manage to pay rent, utilities, and buy food if I didn't earn a wage at the upper end of the spectrum they quoted me. And they wanted me bad enough to figure out a way to do it. I hope I don't let them down.

3. Do you realize that in changing companies you may be able to increase your income by 40 to 50 percent though that is unlikely to happen while moving up in one company? Makes sense, sometimes. Much of what Miller talks about seems to apply to work that's related to a product, a specified outcome. The work I've currently chosen is more of a service. I work for a not-for-profit preschool. My wage is paid by children's tuition and fundraising. Ugh.

4. What are the guidelines for how much is reasonable? What is fair? Is it always reasonable to ask for more?
Prickly question. Employers want to pay the lowest amount possible, while employees want to make the highest amount possible. And I want to please my employer, but I want to make as much as possible. Miller elaborates that compensation isn't always monetary: perhaps your employer pays the lease on your brand new BMW or offers childcare, life insurance, gym membership, etc. One of the perks of my current job is free pizza on Friday; one of the perks of my new job is free twice-monthly yoga. Guidelines on "how much is reasonable? Fair? More?" I don't know.

5. Read Matthew 20:1–15. How does this parable fit what you’ve learned?
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
I'm too tired to think of this. Maybe later.

6. What would you do if you tripled your current income? What could you offer that would merit that? I'd quit working. I'd write stories for myself. I'd make bottle cap crafts and knit all the time. I'd play with the kids when I wanted to and quit when I felt like it.


auntie m said…
Maybe I can negogiate with my employer to get the lease paid on my brand new BMW. I think I get the denarius story and I think it is totally fair. I would be a worker hired in the morning who would accept my denarius at the end of the day and then go home and grumble about it and wish I owned a vineyard.

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