Hey Ron! - Year End Reviews
It’s that time of year again. No, we’re not talking about “the holidays.” If you work an office job, chances are your yearly performance reviews are just around the corner. But don’t freak. Ron is a negotiator by trade and birth, and he has calmly laid out a foolproof strategy for this week’s column.
My review is coming up soon, so I am going to tell you my plan. Let me be clear: This is not what you should do. This is what I’m going to do, because I’m me. If you can find someway to use my advice then by all means do that.
When I walk into the “review session” I will sit down. Then they will most likely start making small talk before transitioning into telling me about my performance this past year. I’m going to cut them off and say, “Hold on one second because I just want to make sure this is about a raise, not that I’m doing a good job. If you want to tell me how good of a job I’m doing without talking about how you will compensate me for it, then we’re going to shake hands, I’ll say, “Thank You,” and that’s it. I’m up and out. They’re going to save a bit of money and I’ll be able to stay home for the winter. So let’s just get it out of the way, please.
If things go my way and they do the right thing, I don’t really see them telling me that I’m doing a great job because a “great” job means “great” money. They’re probably going to evaluate me and give me just enough compliments to correlate with the money they want to give me. I hope they’re not going to say, “Ron, you’re doing an excellent job, great job, keep it up. The collections are going great and our revenue is good. Everything is going well. Here’s $3,000.” If they do then I’m going to ask which Ron they’re talking to, because it can’t be me. I’m hoping that they pay me a quarter to my worth, which… let me retract that. I don’t think anyone gets paid what they’re really worth, so if they pay me a quarter of what I’m really worth then I think I’ll be happy. At least give me enough that I can go to a place and not worry about the prices when I take a girl out. I don’t want to take my raise and spend it on a beer and peanuts.
So we’re going to talk. We’re going to go back and forth, negotiate. I really don’t care to negotiate when it comes to my salary because the work speaks for itself, so I’m hoping my meeting is five minutes. Walk in and walk out. But if they want to play the word game, I have a lot of words for them and none of them are “choice.” They better not play me like this is my first job and I just got hired as an intern—that I should be happy to have a job. Please don’t tell me, “You should be happy to have a job, because there are people not working.” I don’t care about those people not working. They have nothing to do with me. I feel bad for them, but they really have nothing to do with me. I’m here. I’m working. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. These are the requirements you ask of me. I’m meeting them. Give me something to compensate at least what I’m doing.
If they say no, then I’ll just be like “Why the hell am I in this office? To suck up heat? I could be sitting at my desk trying to bring in some money, doing my job, rather than sitting here and being humiliated as a grown man.”
The worst type of job review is when they make you sign documents that don’t really pertain to you. Or they make you sign documents that say you won’t quit unless you give them two weeks notice. Believe me, if they want to fire you they’ll be quick to do it at a quarter to five on a Friday. What is that? No. I am not signing this! I don’t want any of this. Or they’re quick to write you up for something you’ve done six months ago that they never spoke to you about, but they want to have it on record. It’s like, “You should have brought it to my attention when it happened. Not six months later when you’re drawing up my review. “About six months ago we saw you at blah blah blah, and you were late.” You couldn’t tell me then? You’re going to tell me now? And then, because of that, you’re going to give me $1,000 less? You’re charging me $1,000 a minute? That’s what you’re fining me? Because you’re certainly not paying me $1,000 a minute, so how is that fair?
I will leave you with a few general negotiation tips that you may or may not find helpful:
- First, you have to ask yourself what you think you’re worth. Are you afraid to lose your job? If you’re not afraid to lose your job then you can go all out. You live with your mommy and your daddy? You go all out! You have nothing to lose. You can tell them to kiss your butt where the sun don’t shine—tell them to wipe it with their tongue.
- If you decide what you’re worth and you do have something to lose then you think it out. You never tell them what you really want. Always give them a high number if they ask. I know the first number they throw at me is getting refused, regardless. I don’t care what it is. It’s getting rejected because it means they can at least afford $3,000 or $4,000 more. I’m not even going to step into the first offer. Kill it. Tell me the real number, so we don’t have to play this game. If I want to play games I’ll go home and play with my PlayStation.
- Once we’re in the actual negotiating process I let them know: This is how it works. You’re going to make me an offer, but this is not your final offer. You’re playing hardball with somebody else’s money. Why don’t you just cut to the chase, so we both know what we’re dealing with and we both can have an easy day and go on with our business. You don’t want to be here any more than I do. This is not your company. I can do that because of my relationship with my manager. If it’s somebody from HR who I have never met, I’ll be a little more cautious. Come out not so strong, but pretty much in the same fashion. It’s a battle of the money. A negotiation of what you give and keep. But you’re trying to keep money that isn’t even yours. They’re not going to take it and put it back in your pocket. You don’t get anything from saving them money. So why not let everybody eat?
- If you don’t like the offer you say, “Look, we both know this offer isn’t fair. So how about we revisit this in three months? I’ll send you an email asking for another review, based on what you said I was doing incorrectly. That way we can rectify the situation and maybe bump me up a little more. You know I can do this job.”
- If your employer is lying to you, don’t say anything. Just get a box cutter and make them sit on it.
Send questions and fan mail for Ron here.
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