Fat-Cat Salaries for Scaredy-Cats

Bob Goldman on

Welcome back. At our last therapy session, we agreed that, to make you superhappy with your job, all management would have to do is pay you a boatload of money.

Unfortunately, that boat has sunk. If you're not getting paid the salary you deserve right now, and you still haven't quit, it's very unlikely that management will short-circuit their Teslas, wipe the caviar off their chins and decide on their own that they really should pay you a lot more.

Which means it's time for you to get off your flattened wallet and get yourself a high-paying new job.

This is easier said than done.

It's the prospect of negotiating a fat-cat salary that turns many people into scaredy-cats. This is where Niya Dragova, a specialist in compensation issues for high-tech high-flyers, can help. Dragova has come down from the heights of the org chart with a post in Lenny's Newsletter, "The 10 Commandments of Salary Negotiation."

Let's discuss my top three.


(Warning: many of these commandments are designed for negotiating with "FAANG" companies. It's an acronym for Fred's Apple & Apricot Nectar Group, a frozen fruit juice conglomerate in Walla Walla, Washington. Not everyone can forge a career with a dynamic, fast-growing company like Fred's, but these tips should also work for boring dinosaur companies, like Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, Netflix and Google.)

Commandment No. 1 tackles the salary issue head-on.

Expect the recruiter to ask what you want to make. If you don't have a specific amount in mind, or if the most honest answer is "a ton," the critical piece of advice from Dragova is: "Do not -- I repeat -- do not give them the number."

Instead, your only answer should be another question -- what is "the range" that is budgeted for the job? If you're not at home on that range, bail out immediately. If a recruiter is persistent and will not give you their number until you give them your number, simply say, "One million dollars, half in bus tokens and the other half sent directly to my Cayman Islands bank account."


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