11.10.2007

the roller coaster that is my working life

They withdrew the offer.

The HR person called me yesterday, stammering and stumbling over her words. It took her so long to get it out, I thought something much worse was coming.

She said they ran the numbers, and realized the salary they had agreed to was considerably higher than they're currently paying people in comparable positions. (Should I paraphrase Joe DiMaggio? "Then those people are very underpaid...")

They still want me as weekend coordinator, and if I don't want that at the salary they're offering, they'd still like me to stay on permanently in my current position. So it's not awful news.

The weird thing is she didn't even have a counter-offer. Did she think I was going to keep guessing downward until I hit it? I told her I need more information before I can make a decision. She actually acted surprised.

They're going to give me a number early next week.

Sometimes I remember that I boarded this roller coaster of my own volition, and I wonder why I left Crappy Firm in the first place. Then I remember. It was crappy and I was miserable.

21 comments:

frozen tundra said...

Sorry to hear that...I've found that many times the dept. that's actually trying to hire you would be willing to pay market value or even a little higher. But then HR intervenes and the price drops! Sort of akin to buying a car when the salesman says "let me take this number to the Sales Manager..."

Or maybe it's just collusion?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Wow. That sounds ... a little unprofessional.

I hope they come up with something you can stand to take, because the job itself sounds like a good fit.

L-girl said...

...I've found that many times the dept. that's actually trying to hire you would be willing to pay market value or even a little higher. But then HR intervenes and the price drops!

I'm sure you're right, but in this case it was both HR. Same person agreed to my number, same person withdrew the offer.

That sounds ... a little unprofessional.

Indeed. This person is way over her head. She's one of these people who speaks only in jargon as a way (I think) of covering for her insecurity.

I hope they come up with something you can stand to take, because the job itself sounds like a good fit.

Thank you. Me too, because it is a good fit. Which I have to remember when I "ajust my salary expectations".

I hope they come up with something you can stand to take, because the job itself sounds like a good fit.

M@ said...

I just don't understand this thing these days where people aren't willing to counter-offer. What do they think negotiation is about? I've seen this in various forms, from "you're right for the position but your salary expectations are too high" to "thanks for your counter-offer to our offer... no." It just deepens my distaste for HR in all its forms.

Anyhow, that really sucks but hopefully they will make a reasonable offer. Good luck!

Woti-woti said...

Huh? They only realized this after they "ran" the numbers? Like you don't know this at a glance? During my 25 years of corporate life I grew to loathe the HR types. They are in a unique position of access to sensitive employee info. and invariably choose to use it to screw the average employee rather than benefit her. Like you say, yours sounds like she's way in over her head. Either didn't have the authority she thought, or got sandbagged by her boss. Maybe her boss understands negotiations and realizes that you do to, so maybe the counter-offer is still okay. Stay the course!

L-girl said...

Thank you M@ and Woti.

It is astonishing that (a) she agreed to something in the first place and *then* "ran the numbers" and (b) she called to withdraw the offer without another number in mind!

I also have a real distate for the world of HR double-speak, although I have seen a few examples of how a good dept can work. (Sadly, the best I ever saw was at Dissolving Firm, now Dead Firm.)

If firm rumours are to be believed, this particular HR person has minimal experience and was hired because of a nepostism connection.

I'm also so cognizant of how the firm has these professionals to represent their interests, and we have only ourselves. All attempts at getting collective bargaining rights for office workers in the private sector have failed. In another lifetime, that would have been my calling.

Scott M. said...

Withdrawing an offer is just unprofessional.

Good thing you still get $10 for every time someone clicks on that ad for ad-free blogs!

L-girl said...

Good thing you still get $10 for every time someone clicks on that ad for ad-free blogs!

Hmmm... I must have installed mine wrong. :)

Kate said...

I can't imagine having to make the phone call and tell you the offer was rescinded. No wonder she was stammering! I mean, the entire thing was her fault, no doubt about it, but man, I would be completely mortified if I were in her shoes.

NA Patriot said...

I wonder if you sense this is cultural. Having worked on both sides of the border, my experience with Canadian HR folks is that they are uncomfortable with negotiations. The answers are yes or no. The "maybe and let's discuss" seems to awkward for them. So for me, the fact that she was not prepared in any way to counter seems typical. Is that anyone else's experience?

L-girl said...

I can't imagine having to make the phone call and tell you the offer was rescinded. No wonder she was stammering!

She took so long to get to the point that I thought she was firing me!

L-girl said...

I wonder if you sense this is cultural. Having worked on both sides of the border, my experience with Canadian HR folks is that they are uncomfortable with negotiations. The answers are yes or no. The "maybe and let's discuss" seems to awkward for them. So for me, the fact that she was not prepared in any way to counter seems typical. Is that anyone else's experience?

Wow, that's interesting.

My work/interview experience in Canada is limited to either contract work for which there is no negotiating, at least not at first (per hour, per page, per project), or these big law firms, which do negotiate. I'll be interested in what others have to say.

The thing about this phone call to rescind the offer - there was nothing to accept or reject. She told me they wouldn't pay what I asked, what they had agreed to. But she didn't say what they *would* pay. She just left me hanging.

Kate said...

I agree with every word that na patriot said. I've noticed a real lack of straightforwardness in Canadian transactions. I realized a while ago that while Canadians have a reputation for politeness, that politeness doesn't always extend to helpfulness, and that while a New Yorker might not be as socially polite, they are actually ultimately more helpful in a lot of situations.

It's a complicated issue that I am not expressing very well, but as a born and bred New Yorker who moved to Canada two and a half years ago I've run into this again and again. The Canadians take their shoes off and refuse all offers of beverages, but sometimes you sort of want someone to stride into your office and say, look, this what I want to do, this is the hangup we ran into, this is compensation in a different form which might be appealing to you, etc and so forth.

L-girl said...

I've noticed a real lack of straightforwardness in Canadian transactions.

I have definitely noticed this, it's something I frequently remark on. I know Idealistic Pragmatist, who moved to Canada from the US 10 or so years ago, has also written about this.

I find the lack of straightforwardedness maddening at times.

Eg, if I ask someone at work if she can switch shifts with me, she's likely to say yes, whether or not it's convenient for her. It's as if I'm expected to mind-read whether or not it's ok to ask, or not ask at all - rather than a simple business transaction, I ask, you say yes or no, we thank each other, case closed.

I find myself checking over and over, asking repeatedly, to see if something is OK or if it's an imposition. And I'm still never sure, because "politeness" supposedly dictates that the person never say if she feels put-upon.

However, she'll think nothing of complaining about the transaction to others - even though she agreed to it.

This is a made-up example, I'm not complaining about something that actually happened. It's something I frequently see on many levels.

I don't know if I have enough experience to know if it applies in this current situation, or if it's typical in HR here, but I wouldn't be at all surprised.

L-girl said...

PS I hope you all know me well enough to know that is not an insult. It's an observation about a perceived cultural difference. So no snark, please!

M@ said...

I find myself checking over and over, asking repeatedly, to see if something is OK or if it's an imposition.

You are becoming a true Canadian! :)

Seriously, I understand what you're talking about, and it frustrates me too -- and I can't help doing it. There's something in the KD, I suspect...

L-girl said...

I find myself checking over and over, asking repeatedly, to see if something is OK or if it's an imposition.

You are becoming a true Canadian! :)


Heh. But I hate it! I want to ask once and be told the truth!

Amy said...

Sorry to hear this, Laura. Law firms should know better than to think they can "retract" an agreement they have already made, but it probably isn't worth fighting that battle. I hope they come back with some reasonable compensation for your new responsibilities.

L-girl said...

Thank you, Amy.

Law firms should know better than to think they can "retract" an agreement they have already made, but it probably isn't worth fighting that battle.

They hadn't put it in writing yet. Thus far it was only verbal and I was waiting for the offer letter.

(In the US, support staff on my level doesn't even get anything in writing.)

I hope they come back with some reasonable compensation for your new responsibilities.

Thank you. They either will, or I won't have those new responsibilities. I won't take on increased responsibiliites for the same pay. That I know.

Amy said...

Not to be playing lawyer here since I don't know a thing about Canadian law, but generally in the US, an employment agreement does not have to be in writing to be enforceable, as long as it is not specifically for a term of years that is longer than a year. (Of course, such a contract can also be terminated by the employer, although that hardly seems to be the situation here.) The bigger question here would be whether this HR person had the authority to make such a contract with you and whether she indicated that it was a done deal.

Anyway, as I said, probably not worth fighting that battle since hopefully you will continue working there and for more money.

L-girl said...

generally in the US, an employment agreement does not have to be in writing to be enforceable

Interesting. I guess I knew that on some level, but on the other hand, the employment rights of support staff are violated so frequently and systematically that it hardly matters what the law says.