2008 Archives

How to Handle the Job Offer You Can't Afford


The following is from the Dec. 2, 2008, edition of The Wall Street Journal. Robin Pinkley, professor and director of the American Airlines Center for Labor Relations and Conflict Resolution in SMU's Cox School of Business, provided expertise for this story.

December 3, 2008

By Joann S. Lublin
The Wall Street Journal

Earlier this year, Mark Cummuta walked away from a chance to become the No. 2 executive of a Chicago technology consultancy -- for less than $100,000. As the sole breadwinner and father of triplets, Mr. Cummuta couldn't afford a nearly 20% cut in pay, compared with what he was earning as an independent management consultant.

He's still looking for a permanent position. "Every now and then, I hit myself and say, 'I should have taken that offer,'" concedes the consultant, who has helped several firms navigate difficult times since 2003.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cummuta is hardly unique. More battered businesses are giving new hires less money than they made in their last job. . .

Rather than immediately reject or accept a lowball deal, you should mount a careful counterattack, experts recommend. You could improve your chances of winning a satisfactory compromise, with tradeoffs ranging from a faster pay review to extra perquisites.

Arm yourself with data about the going rate for your position by trolling Web sites such as www.Salary.com, indeed.com/salary, salaryexpert.com and Glassdoor.com. You'll see whether a concern "has poor information about the external market" and rewards staffers below prevailing levels, says Robin Pinkley, a professor at Southern Methodist University's business school and author of books about pay negotiations.

Read the full story.

# # #


Find an Expert