Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Negotiating in a mine field

Many years ago I worked with an anchor who truly overestimated his value to the station. It was time for the annual review and he had just asked the ND for a huge raise, one that would nearly double his salary. Even though it was the cash cow 1980's, the ND said no and offered a reasonable pay hike. The anchor then told everyone in the newsroom he was going over the ND's head to the GM. We all warned him not to do so, but he did it anyway.

The conversation reportedly went like this.

Anchor: "I have to make this amount of money next year."
GM: "Then get a second job."


These days even established on-air people have to realize the economics of the business. Making demands and holding out can leave you without a job. There is always someone younger and cheaper circling like a vulture, waiting to swoop in and take your place.

So, you ask, "Well then, oh wise Grape, what's a person to do?"

The answer is to think out of the box. There are other things besides money that can make your life more comfortable.

If you station and company are having tough times economically, and most are, get creative. You can ask for more vacation time. You can suggest that you get a bonus based on ratings. Or maybe ask for those perks you aren't currently getting, like cell phones, country club memberships, health club memberships, or just about anything else you can think of that the station makes available to some employees. Stations can work out trade deals with just about any business. Maybe they can work one out for you.

But now is not the time to play high stakes poker and go "all in." You might find the station calling your bluff and find yourself on the unemployment line.

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