FROM THE TRENCHES: Haggling For Dollars. What Would A Man Do?


I recently had a free lance writing gig and was hired by someone I already knew. Our relationship has always been strictly professional and yet, this is someone I’ve kept a friendly rapport with over some eight years. Though I wrote for his publications in the 1990’s, I never reported to him directly. So our friendship remained steady – albeit at a distance. He found himself pitching a huge piece of new business recently and asked me to work on it. I posed the usual questions about scope and time frame and of course salary.

When he asked what I would charge, I did some quick math and requested an hourly rate at my standard writing fee. When he replied that he didn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, I simply asked him to tell me what he did have. He quickly halved my number and I made the deal.

What actually transpired was I did twice the assessed work for half the fee. Very predictable as it’s never failed to go down like that in the past. The one difference was, this time I asked for the remainder of the fee I first named to be deferred to the award of the job – which is fairly likely. At that point, I was offered a job. A much better result than a one time fee. Or was it? A choice that was handed to me and, in some instances, I would not have necessarily accepted.

Why? The pros and cons of a future arrangement are: the job might not materialize, the job might materialize but not to my liking, I might be already be committed to another situation when and if the job does materialize. If I get the deferred fee: it’s cash in my hands, I feel satisfied that I was paid for the work performed and I get what I initially asked for. This proves to my possible future employer -should I work for him later on – that I drive a hard bargain and will likely do that in future negotiations with him and with his vendors.

Being tough-minded where money is concerned is a good thing to employers and especially employers who are men.

At the vanguard of emerging technology, Elaine Morris Palmer, has been a “free agent” of the new economy since the early 1990’s. Award-winning broadcast producer-cum-new-media industry-analyst, marketing strategist, journalist and communications specialist. Her digital media consultancy, Maven Media, is headquartered in New York City.

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