Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: I am a 34-year-old man work­ing in risk man­age­ment, seek­ing a mid- to se­nior-level po­si­tion in my pro­fes­sion. Re­cently, I had a won­der­ful panel in­ter­view with a bil­lion-dol­lar health care

com­pany. It could not have gone bet­ter. I was thrilled to re­ceive a voice­mail a day af­ter the in­ter­view re­quest­ing a call back.

When I called back and spoke to the re­cruit­ing man­ager, I was less than ex­cited at the pro­posed pay. It was not com­men­su­rate with the po­si­tion. I told the man­ager I would think about it, and pre­pared the ar­gu­ment for my coun­terof­fer. I spoke to a job coach and did my re­search (again), pre­par­ing to ask for pay in line with the mar­ket stan­dards for my pro­fes­sion.

When I called the re­cruit­ing man­ager back, be­ing both firm and gen­tle, I be­gan to ex­plain that it was a bit on the low side for me.

Be­fore I could con­tinue the dis­cus­sion, the re­cruit­ing man­ager cut me off. He balked at the idea of ne­go­ti­at­ing and then went on to lec­ture me.

Amy, he treated me as though I was the first ap­pli­cant in his­tory to ne­go­ti­ate a job of­fer. Am I out of touch with the cur­rent job mar­ket? Since when did em­ploy­ers be­come so re­sis­tant to coun­terof­fers and salary ne­go­ti­a­tions? — Jaded

Dear Jaded: I shared your ques­tion with Dr. Brenda Wells, pro­fes­sor of risk and in­sur­ance at East Carolina Univer­sity. She re­sponded: “I coach stu­dents who are grad­u­at­ing from col­lege, and em­ploy­ers al­most al­ways ex­pect these 23- and 24-yearold stu­dents to come back with a coun­terof­fer. If an em­ployer re­fuses to ne­go­ti­ate, you have a very im­por­tant piece of in­for­ma­tion about that em­ployer. This means they prize their po­si­tion over their em­ploy­ees.

“Risk man­agers are in the busi­ness of pro­tect­ing profit and peo­ple. They could al­ways tell an ap­pli­cant they don’t have the money to of­fer, but no rea­son­able em­ployer should be of­fended at a re­spect­ful at­tempt to ne­go­ti­ate.

Wells and I agree that you are not out of step with the cur­rent job mar­ket, and per­haps you should feel you dodged a bul­let with this par­tic­u­lar em­ployer. Dear Amy: I have three brothers. I have been es­tranged from the old­est, “Lars” (in his 70s), for more than 10 years.

My two other brothers are close to both Lars and me. Dur­ing a re­cent colonoscopy, Lars was di­ag­nosed with colon can­cer. He had surgery and now his prog­no­sis is ex­cel­lent.

Lars ad­mon­ished our two brothers than I was not to be told of his sta­tus. One brother later told me they were made to swear on a stack of books. Lars is mar­ried, child­less and very wealthy.

Both brothers kept the news from me and promptly sched­uled colono­scopies for them­selves.

As sib­lings we all share the same ge­net­ics and have the right to make in­formed de­ci­sions and pro­tect our­selves and our chil­dren.

I feel my two brothers had a moral and eth­i­cal duty to alert me. They don’t un­der­stand why I’m so upset. Am I wrong to feel be­trayed? — Dis­tressed Sis­ter

Dear Dis­tressed: I agree with you that “Lars” has the right to choose whom to tell about his med­i­cal sta­tus (in­clud­ing the right not to tell any­one). I fur­ther agree that your brothers had an eth­i­cal duty to share this im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion with you, once they learned of it.

They should not have agreed to keep this se­cret, even when faced with a “stack of books.” How­ever, you did find out, and per­haps this is be­cause one or both brothers spilled the beans. So, ei­ther Lars chose the wrong stack of books, or your brothers might have ac­ci­dently-on-pur­pose found a way to alert you. Is this a pos­si­bil­ity?

Dear Amy: “Wor­ried” de­scribed a se­nior cit­i­zen fam­ily mem­ber who lived in her house and who used mar­i­juana ev­ery day.

It doesn’t seem to have oc­curred to you that this mar­i­juana might be medic­i­nal. Your judg­men­tal at­ti­tude to­ward pot use is dis­turb­ing. — Dis­ap­pointed

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: As “Wor­ried” de­scribed it, this per­son was spend­ing her days ex­tremely im­paired through daily mar­i­juana use. If this is medic­i­nal, then she should ad­just her dose.

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