Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A new kind of PFO: Mid-Negotiating, Post-Offer

Update, 3/21: See this and this round-up of the news coverage and insightful commentaries.

Update, 3/14: See W's response here

Another reader of the blog writes in about the "fair amount of research on the backlash women can face when they negotiate, what causes the backlash effects, and how to keep them to a minimum. For a brief-and-breezy summary I recommend this article in the Washington Post." Our helpful reader also says, "If you would rather read a journal article with plenty of references to the literature, see [here]."

We're perhaps past negotiating season for those who secured job offers. But some people might still be negotiating, and some will definitely be negotiating in the future. This story is especially relevant to those people.

Spiros had a discussion on negotiating some time ago (Leiter also has a thread up about deferring a post-doc that is relevant here). He ended the post by asking:
But is there any reason why recruiting Universities should expect would-be new faculty to manifest that restraint themselves by simply not asking for the usual deal-sweeteners? Could it be right to give would-be new faculty the sense that merely asking for more stuff serves to (lightly) strain the new faculty's relationship with the administration?
W, a friend of the blog shared a story about 'negotiations' with a SLAC--Nazareth College--that shows how at least one SLAC thinks about potential employees asking for "the usual deal-sweeteners." Now, it's not clear how much or if this story generalizes at all, but it's worth pointing out that at least in the case of this SLAC, asking for some fairly standard "deal-sweeteners" was cause enough to retract the offer altogether without further discussion.

Why?

The SLAC's thinking was that by asking for certain things W had "[indicated] an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college...that is both teaching and student centered."

I don't see how that necessarily follows or can even be easily divined from W's attempts to negotiate (I've included the relevant e-mails forwarded to me below). At the very least--and of course, I've made this judgment on the basis of limited information--I think that if the requests did raise questions, the SLAC should have discussed with their reservations about her interest in teaching at a college.

If there were any doubts, questions wouldn't have been hard to ask, especially if they had entertained her candidacy through multiple rounds of interviewing seriously enough to offer her a job. Why did W want the things she requested? Because she cared more about her research than teaching? Were some of her requests to ensure she had the time to do what she needed to do to get tenure and teach well (while possibly getting other parts of her life started, hence the request for maternity leave)? Etc.

If W was unable to answer the questions in a way that demonstrated her commitment to providing the type of education a SLAC wants to give their students, then I could understand their position. But to send a PFO on the basis of a few requests--some of which appear prima facie reasonable (maternity leave, an increase in salary), but some of which W acknowledges as "easier to grant than others"-- seems a disproportionate response (even if it was well within the rights of the SLAC to do something like that).

Here are the e-mails.

W's:
As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier. 
1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years. 
2) An official semester of maternity leave. 
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock. 
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years. 
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc. 
I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.
Nazareth's:
Thank you for your email. The search committee discussed your provisions. They were also reviewed by the Dean and the VPAA. It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered. Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you. 
Thank you very much for your interest in Nazareth College. We wish you the best in finding a suitable position.
Yup. That's it. End of correspondence there. It's that last part, the refusal to negotiate before rescinding the offer of employment, that I found really flabbergasting.

-- Jaded, Ph.D.

289 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 289 of 289
Anonymous said...

I hate our profession yet again…

It saddens me that people are supporting Nazareth's actions.

…maybe I don't hate our profession per se, just lots of you in it.

(p.s. I got hired as #2, and I'm damned happy.)

Anonymous said...

IMHO: Nothing wrong with asking for what you want. In fact, you should. Still, I can see someone thinking that the tone of the initial email as a bit off-putting, though I can't say why. Still, not off-putting enough to warrant rescinding the offer without any discussion! My guess is that some of this is a problem with communication via email. Do we need a I-really-want-this-job emoticon now? Ugh. I wonder if there was maybe a candidate they preferred above W, but because of affirmative action policies, they could hire only if...blah, blah, blah. I mean this really seems bizarre.

Anonymous said...

"Jaded PhD is right. The almost pathological need to moralize and render judgment displayed on this thread are staggering."

Are you new to the field? This is what we are *trained* to do.

Anonymous said...

"Courage comes from naming yourself, not outing others. Let her stand up publicly and take credit for her actions. Otherwise, she's a coward." --Anonymous

bill said...

"Jaded PhD is right. The almost pathological need to moralize and render judgment displayed on this thread are staggering."

Very true and guess what...

This issue has gone viral!
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/03/17/candidate-negotiated-out-job-responds-critics

Melissa said...

I went to college at Naz. My best memories are from my undergrad years there, and that's why I'm shocked and disappointed at this story. Someone mentioned the culture--it's a small school on a nice campus and the philosophy dpt is rather small and close-knit. Professors and students develop great mentoring relationships, a benefit of the limited class sizes.

The campus is about 75% women--what is Naz telling them here? The academics at Naz are interested in both research and teaching; they are not mutually exclusive, and I would hope that Naz would want professors who are dedicated to their subject and interested in professional development.

This is not the Naz I know and love. It's very upsetting.

Anonymous said...

(This is primarily a reflection on the tweets from historianness linked to from the most recent post about this debacle, rather than anything said in this thread.)

Given what W has said about the maternity request merely being a formalization of an unofficial offer, I think charges of misogyny on grounds relating to maternity leave are clearly unjustified.

That is not to say that there isn't misogyny at play here. It may well be that tone was an influencing factor in Nazareth's decision, and that the same tone would not be regarded in the same way coming from a man.

(It is also worth noting, perhaps, that of Nazareth's full-time philospohy faculty, 50% are women - far higher than the average % of women in a philosophy department's faculty. Of course, the presence of women is no guarantee of non-misogyny. I just think it likely that the nature of the problem in this particular occurrence is not misogyny.)

Anonymous said...

I don't see anybody commenting on the "$65,000 is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting" assertion.

That's not just asking whether a higher salary is possible, that's indicating that if she ends up in the position at the original salary, she'll be viewing herself as underpaid--at best carrying a chip on her shoulder, at worst shopping around for another position.

Whispers said...

"You are making the strange mistake of (yet again) construing W as making a list of demands. Anyone who has ever negotiated should know that this is not what W was doing. "

It was a list.
The items on the list were demands, yes?

This story reads to me like the candidate wanted an offer considerably different than what the school was offering. In particular, she demanded a lighter teaching workload, a higher salary, a sabbatical, and a deferral of one year before starting.

Sorry, but that's a lot to ask for all at once. The school is looking to hire somebody to teach classes. If W had asked for one or two of the listed items, there might well have been a different response. But asking for all of them at once would likely leave the school flabbergasted. They probably had other applicants willing to start right away, teaching four courses at a time, who were of a similar ability level. Rather than haggle, they took the demands at face value and moved on.

Anonymous said...

W (posting 13 March at 7:52) followed up with background, including this:

"Earlier in the day before I sent the email posted, I sent another email that was meant as a warning that I was now switching to what one might call a “negotiating tone”. I obviously didn’t do a good enough job communicating that, though."

Boy, I'd love to see that earlier e-mail. I assume that if its tone didn't tend to further justify Nazarene's response, it would have formed part of the e-mail string that you chose to paste and send to the whole universe as evidence of ill-treatment.

Nazarene arguably played this rudely and/or clumsily, but I see no whiff of sexism here. None. Just a fairly tone-deaf attempt to negotiate, that backfired predictably.

Caleb said...

Since some of the constructive discussion has been about what sort of salary demands are reasonable for a given institution, I thought I'd mention an important data source that some people may not be aware of: IPEDS (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/). It includes all private and public schools and reports salary information according to rank. It’s not as simple to use as the CHE website, but the data cover many schools not in the CHE survey. It also reports salaries “equated to 9 month contracts,” for ease of comparison. Looking at the salary data for a given school should give you a reasonable idea of what one could ask for. It does not have any department specific data, however, so it may be less useful for some institutions (e.g. where a large percentage of faculty are in professional schools).

Anonymous said...

I'm a lawyer who has handled a number of negotiations and also have some employment law experience.

a) Based on W's own words of asking for less than a 20% pay increase, she probably received an offer around 55k, which seems to be a fairly generous offer in her field for this type of Institution. When you do receive a pretty good offer, you should have educated yourself to not ask for more than 10% or even to let the salary slide and negotiate the other pieces. If her offer was 60k or so, then she should definitely have not even brought this issue up.

b) "It never hurts to ask" Who came up with this statement? Yes, you can offend the other side with demands. I've seen it happen all the time over deals large and small. In my own personal experience, I once got an offer on a house I was selling and I told the realtor, I wouldn't even dignify the lowball with a counteroffer. W basically set herself up as a person who would be difficult to negotiate with. If you think negotiations include putting in unreasonable terms so that the other side will toss those and give in on the other items, you are unsophisticated and condescending (to the other side).

c) Jekyll and Hyde. Why would you negotiate in this way for your own position? For all they know, Dr. Hyde could be the phony persona you took on during your interview and Mr. Jekyll is the real interviewee. Big mistake.

A job offer is merely that. An offer. In contract law, you need an acceptance. W did not accept the offer. Therefore, no contract. Basic contract law. Yeah, it could be construed as mean and unfair that Nazarene chose not to negotiate further, but there's no obligation to negotiate (especially if you think the deal will be too difficult to close).

Drew Pearce said...

For those who are urging her to sue, I think it would be a losing case; generally an offer can be rescinded anytime before acceptance. If the maternity leave was the reason of withdrawal, that would be another matter but that would be very difficult to prove, especially since that was the one request that seemed reasonable.

And just to add my unsolicited opinion, as someone whose pre-academic job involved reading, and litigating, contracts, I found W's attempt at negotiating a little tone deaf and likely to be ineffective. Unfortunately, like a lot of other things negotiating is a skill, and it's one that people who go from kindergarten to faculty never really learn.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I've never been here before, but I just want to comment that it's amusing to see so many philosophers, people who are trained to parse meaning very finely, insist that N's actions are 'indefensible', when every second comment is defending them. 5255524941

Anonymous said...

I don't fault W for negotiating, though I might have phrased things differently. I do think she could've done a little research to get a sense of how improbably many of her requests were. I'm not in philosophy, but am in academia at a teaching-focused school. If one of our candidates had asked questions like that pre-offer, I would've recommended dropping her. Post-offer, it's harder but not impossible to understand: she just revealed that she really wants to work at a different school (especially on the pay and sabbatical fronts). I don't think I'd withdraw the offer, but I'd be sorely tempted.

I am wondering--did she have another offer? I ask because, in my discipline, we wouldn't really have a leg to stand on in a negotiation without an outside offer. I wouldn't have asked for anything if I didn't have the ability to walk.

Anonymous said...

I'm a male working in the private sector, well accustomed to negotiating employment conditions. Emailing a list of demands is simply not how it's done. Perhaps there's a need for negotiating techniques for women. I don't know. I do know that saying, "I want this, this, this, this, and this," is how you antagonize people. Read a book on negotiating. This lady did it all wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in academia, but have participated in many hiring negotiations (both as an applicant and as the hiring party). Two things strike me about the exchange:

1. W's e-mail was so inept and self-centered that, as the recipient, I would certainly have questioned her abilities and communication skills. For job offer negotiations, you MUST (a) make reasonable requests and (b) offer something, and (c) be pleasant (you're going to be working with these people, after all).

W failed on all counts. This would have worried me deeply.

2. That said, it's shocking to me that W's contact at Naz didn't pick up the phone and diplomatically tell W this. By the time that an offer is extended, relationships should have developed to the extent that this would not only be possible but would be something of an obligation.

The fact that no one chose to assist W in this way indicates either a real lack of connection/enthusiasm, or a lack of simple decency on the part of the hiring contact.

Anonymous said...

As someone who's both applied for jobs and hired people in the business world, I would never had sent the e-mail that W did. You can get away with asking for one or two things, but a whole list of demands is going to make you look impossible to please. The points about maternity leave and a sabbatical could have been phrased as questions: "What's your policy on..." (They are certainly not giving you a benefit that no one else is getting.)

And pick up the phone and have a conversation with them. Have several. Go back and forth. An e-mail like that might as well have a subject line "I'm a real pain to work with".

Anonymous said...

What makes this case interesting is that there are arguments for many sides, and still the outcome is game theoretically appalling and coldly rational.

Anonymous said...

We're suffering from some pretty bad baserate fallacies here.

People are picking on her tone in the email: how many philosophers (and academics) have sent, roughly, the same email and *not* had the offer rescinded?

Moreover, is there a bias here against women writing this email compared to men? (Probably.)

For what it's worth, *that's* the sexism people are worried about…not that the offer was retracted because of the mat leave request.

Anonymous said...

Linda Babcock,

Reading your comment, I can't help but wonder if it wasn't some disciple of yours who advised this student on how to "negotiate".

Worked great, didn't it?



You are part of the problem, 6:46.

Anonymous said...

So man of you are missing a huge legal point about this entire situation: A counter-offer is legally considered a rejection of the original offer, and an entirely new offer.

Nazareth made an offer (of a contract). W made a counteroffer - several of the things on her list were not in the original offer.

Any court of law in the USA will consider her counter-offer as a rejection of the original offer. Nazareth then rejected the new offer, as well as rescinding the original offer (which they did not legally have to do, because it was already rejected by the applicant.)

Sorry, but nothing can be done in any court of law about this, short of making baseless accusations about certain provisions of the counter-offer.

It's quite amazing that so many people wrapped up in the cloak of academia do not understand the simple foundations of basic Contract Law.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and it's quite funny that so many people commenting here are under the impression that Nazareth actually rescinded the offer (by withdrawing it).

W rejected their offer at the moment when she made her counter-offer. Legally, W is the one who 'rescinded' the original offer by rejecting the original offer in the act of making the counter-offer.

Nazareth merely covered their legal bases by stating the obvious, that the offer had been rescinded. In dealing with a person as legally tone-deaf as the applicant, it appears they wanted to make it obvious that the offer was legally off the table.

Anonymous said...

I won't moralize, but I will simply say: I saw an offer rescinded at my R1 for many fewer requests. The issue was teaching: this person wanted course releases that suggested s/he wasn't interested in doing it. I sometimes wonder if the dean who rescinded it correctly guessed that this person's new colleagues would, from the get-go, resent him/her.

Anonymous said...

Why are you all so focused on whether it was LEGAL for Nazareth to withdraw the offer (and whether a counteroffer counts as a rejection)?!

Essentially NO ONE is actually focusing on that. The real discussion is whether it was moral/ethical to do so. It's legal to do all sorts of unethical shit. Stop focusing on that. Stop treating that as the only consideration.

Wow. Are you all professional philosophers?!

J.R. said...

The sheer amount of Stockholm Syndrome on display in this thread is astounding. If all this tough-guy market "realism" represents the future of this profession, then you guys can have it.

I will probably keep reading the thread just to see the Nth person with "real world negotiating" experience show up to explain to the poor, coddled, academics how it is "really done." The lack of any agreement among them is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"Why are you all so focused on whether it was LEGAL for Nazareth to withdraw the offer (and whether a counteroffer counts as a rejection)?!

Essentially NO ONE is actually focusing on that."

Have you missed all the posts encouraging W to take legal action? Because some people keep suggesting that W take them to court, others are coming in to point out that she has no case. That's why it keeps coming up.

Anonymous said...

"Why are you all so focused on whether it was LEGAL for Nazareth to withdraw the offer (and whether a counteroffer counts as a rejection)?!"

Because that will be what the court considers if W tries to take any action against Nazareth.

"Essentially NO ONE is actually focusing on that. The real discussion is whether it was moral/ethical to do so. It's legal to do all sorts of unethical shit. Stop focusing on that. Stop treating that as the only consideration."

Incorrect. Many people correctly focused on that very point. Who cares what is moral or ethical if it is also legal? The court will not take action against Nazareth if they were immoral but following the law. What you wrote may make sense in a philosophy classroom, but not any courtroom in America.

If it was immoral or unethical to reject, withdraw, or rescind the offer, then it was W who was immoral or unethical, not Nazareth. It is her fault, period. She rejected the offer. The offer no longer exists when she makes a counteroffer.

"Wow. Are you all professional philosophers?!"

No, you are. Only professional philosophers would argue about how many angels fit on the head of a pin by talking about something as meaningless about 'what is moral and ethical', without considering whether it is also legal!

The applicant, W, should have understood this situation - that the offer was rejected when she made her counteroffer. Period. If she did not understand this, it is her fault and nobody else's.

She has no basis, legal or otherwise, to claim that her offer was withdrawn due to sexism or because she is a woman when it was she, herself, who legally canceled the original offer, not Nazareth!

Anonymous said...

Serious question from a naive grad student:

Why does everyone advocate negotiating over the phone? Would W's requests not have qualified as a counteroffer if they had been made over the phone? Or is it simply a question of being more personal with Naz?

Anonymous said...

Jaded already linked to this in an update his post mortem, but in case you didn't see it:

http://exhaustfumes.commons.mla.org/2014/03/17/that-was-a-good-negosh/

Can we just call this the absolutely conclusive word on this (which it is) and stop discussing it?

About 70% of this thread is a total embarrassment, epistemically if nothing else. My only hope is that most commenters here are internet trolls and not actual or prospective members of the profession. All the relevant lessons and advice that can be extracted have already been posted for days, and will only continue to get further buried as the discussion drags on.

Anonymous said...

Now that Rebecca Shuman is writing on this I have pretty much concluded that it has run its course and hit rock bottom. All of these comments are just repeating themselves at this point. I think I learned something from this but it is now really just tabloid bloodsport. Could we maybe move back onto some kind of productive discourse?

Unknown said...

8.17

Even though people may disagree, the reason to have discussions over the phone is that it doesn't come across as a list of demands or a counteroffer. You ask (nicely) if there's room to move on the salary and what are their thoughts on your other wants. It's very tone dependent. If they seem amenable, then you can flesh out your requests. If not, you can decide whether or not to pursue your requests.

By putting it all on paper as a bullet point list, you come across as a very difficult candidate to negotiate with.

PS Actually, from the posts I've read, the non-academics are pretty much on the same page about the e-mail. That's directed at J.R.

Anonymous said...

As a non-academic, I am simply astounded at some of the comments being made. So many are condemning Nazareth without realizing that we are only hearing one side the story. We don't know what was discussed during the interview process. We don't know the details of the entire negotiation. We only know what W decided to tell us.

If Nazareth felt that W's requests/demands were items that had already been addressed, I can certainly understand that they would be surprised/concerned/annoyed/insulted, even to the point of withdrawing the offer.

I don't know the whole story here. I would expect that Lovers of Wisdom would want to know all the facts before they start talking of sexism and lawsuits and institutional immorality.

OandP101 said...

I think this email "negotiating" is actually are flection of what is wrong with society as a whole and how people have a certain level of entitlement. Asking for almost 20% more in salary is ridiculous. 10% is standard, and even that is lucky. If you decide to work in an academic setting, you are, accepting, without verbalizing maybe, the circumstances surrounding working in an academic setting. Is this about being a women or is this about being an entitled millennium? As someone who day in and day does salary negotiations, I would also rescind an offer, male or female. What this says about the candidate is they are entitled and out of touch with reality. A school's schedule already allows for many perks that the normal working population, making similar salaries or less, don’t get. Also, asking to start almost two years from now is a dumb move, will this need still be there in August 2015? As is life, the early bird gets the worm, asking someone to keep your dinner warm for almost 2 years is asking for spoils. In addition to thinking the candidate is not on this planet mentally, I would also rescind the offer out of fear. Fear of what come down the line, if they are this willing to make ridiculous demands up front, what other brainless and entitled things will they ask for as they become more comfortable in their role and are harder to get rid of?

Anonymous said...

"Yankee Tourist to Middle Eastern rug merchant: How much for the kilim?

Merchant: For you my American friend only $500.

Yankee Tourist: That is too much I will give you $200.

Merchant: I am sorry I must rescind my original offer. I can not sell the kilim to you at any price. Please leave my shop.

You see how bizarre such behavior is in the bazaar?"

But that's not what happened. It's more like "I'll give you $200, AND I need you to move the rug to my place, and clean it, and help me put it where it should go, and I don't want to buy it for a year so hold it, and if I ever don't like it take it back." The merchant, and, quite reasonably, the college saw a person making unrealistic conditions on the transaction, and passed. I would run, not walk from a candidate like this.

Her requests show selfishness, naivete, and a disregard for the school's needs. If I might ever decide to have a kid, I'll just need a paid semester off- k thanks bye. Everyone else but me will follow the college's stated HR policies, but not me. :) *Rolls eyes*

Anonymous said...

I posted early in this thread about the actual Naz policy on sabbaticals and leave. Here is all that needs to be taken from this situation.

Negotiate for things that you CAN get. Every university has sabbatical and leave policies. Most universities have polities about moving expenses.

So, learn what those are by using Google, or ask what they are before you ask for something that makes you LOOK (since you might not actually be) like an entitled pain in the ass.

If sabbaticals are competitive, then you will have to compete when you get on campus. Leave it off you list. Moving expenses are generally fixed. My university has a $3000 max policy for moving expenses.

If you get an offer, remember that you aren't the first person to ever get hired there. So be smart about it and ask for things you CAN get.

I think the real issues were about the start date, and all the leave time. A small department can't support itself, it's students, and give faculty all that time off. If you want the job, then give up that post-doc and become a faculty member.

I think asking for more money and reduced preps were just fine. It's the other stuff that make W come of as entitled. Just don't do it. Know who you are negotiating with. End of story.

Anonymous said...

As a professor in a different type of school (law school), I am stunned by the apologies for Nazareth. Everything on W's list is the kind of thing that law faculty hires (including myself) regularly negotiate about. It is simply assumed when hiring law professors that candidates will try to negotiate about these issues.

Perhaps the difference is that law professor hires, even in the current "down market," are presumed to have the ability to earn a decent living in private practice if necessary. But even if the market for philosophy professors is very different and this is an effective strategy for Nazareth to get the best candidate, arguing that W was out of line suggests one has Stockholm Syndrome more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

"Why does everyone advocate negotiating over the phone? Would W's requests not have qualified as a counteroffer if they had been made over the phone? Or is it simply a question of being more personal with Naz?"

It's not so much the 'over the phone' part. I once negotiated an additional $10K in salary via an email. The difference was that I wrote about 5 or 6 detailed paragraphs as to why I was worth what I had asked for, including examples and results, after acknowledging that I rejected their offer, and before making my counteroffer.

If you are better in person, negotiate in person. If you are better on the phone, negotiate on the phone. If you are a better writer, than negotiate in writing.

But for goodness' sake - do NOT ask for a list of demands without giving any salient examples of WHY you are worth so much and deserve that consideration!!!!

C'mon folks, it's only common sense.

Anonymous said...

"...arguing that W was out of line suggests one has Stockholm Syndrome more than anything else."

Bringing up 'Stockholm Syndrome' pertaining to this situation is as clueless as...Hmmm...I can't even think of any appropriate analogy.

There are no captors and no victims here. W was in control. She was large and in charge, and she had a job offer waiting. She screwed it up. She is not a victim, and Nazareth is not her, nor any of our, captor.

She screwed up. She canceled the offer by making a counteroffer, and her counteroffer was a list of demands with absolutely zero reasons as to why she was worth all that and a bag of chips. If anything, she is the kidnapper, the hijacker, the captor, rather than Nazareth.

Nazareth made a fair market offer for the candidate which they thought W was. Obviously, W thought she was a much better candidate, because she asked for more. However, she neglected to provide any examples or evidence as to why there was a discrepancy between the candidate that she perceived herself to be and the candidate that Nazareth perceived her to be.

W was not 'out of line'. W is simply a poor negotiator. Period. In fact, she seems to be confused as to the fact that she was still negotiating! Because, if she was still negotiating, then by definition there is no concrete offer from Nazareth (which is exactly what a court of law would find.) She had every right to ask for more, and Nazareth had every right to say 'no'. She also had every right to provide justification and evidence for more money and benefits, which apparently she did not understand.

The saying is "Live and learn". It's not "Live and blame others for sexism or misogyny when you learn a valuable lesson."

This has nothing to do with Stockholm Syndrome, and everything to do with Contract Law 101 and Negotiating 101. She made a very poor chess move and was check-mated soon thereafter. Now she wants to claim that her queen was discriminated against by Nazareth's knight. Too bad, so sad.

She should learn to be more elegant in her future negotiations, or she'll go through life blaming others for her own shortcomings, just as she has in this case.

Anonymous said...

To me,just based on the email and nothing else, it sounds like she had an offer from another school and was pushing the limits here to see what she could get out of Nazaerth. She did say in a later response after being asked about the situation that she did have another offer, so I think I'm right, but there's no way to know.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing W did not understand, as if there were anything non-trivial to know, even if she acted as if she did not, as her critics insist.

Anonymous said...

Peace be upon both their houses. W. indicates on the main Smoker page having a competing offer at another place, let's call it Uni Z, that easily and dramatically increased W's salary offer. So, Uni Z., we may infer, is probably pretty wealthy. Uni N., which isn't as wealthy, suspects based on the terms of the counter-offer that W. more or less has bags packed up ready to go to Uni. Z. Of course, W. wouldn't mind negotiating to top up an offer. But Uni N. knows that they cannot provide this match against Uni. Z's offer, that their fishing line will break under this weight, and now they need to cut bait and go fishing in another spot where the fish are smaller. This is rational acting on both of their parts. Good for W. for helping to push up the salaries of philosophers, good for Uni. Z., who can afford it, to 'pay along,' good for Uni. N., who can't afford it, to exercise wise stewardship of their resources. There are no grievances here, but we can admire the rational and philosophical efficacy of W., Uni. N., and Uni. Z. Congratulations to all.
--J

Anonymous said...

The moralizing attitudes are bizzare indeed, coming from a tradition of skepticism toward the epistemic status of moral judgment itself. Why is it morally justified to sneer at perceived lapses of reasoning when the foundations of moral judgement itself are the subject of a divided and extensive literature?

Anonymous said...

I have been on hiring committees where we have skipped over candidates who essentially made requests over what they knew our offer would be during interview.

We did this for comparable reasons to Nazareth in this case. And, on one occasion with the person who was the clear front runner.

This is clearly different from rescinding an offer but the reasoning is the same. Both sides here acted foolishly: W for putting things in an email rather than sounding it out verbally first and the college for not contacting her and not discussing it in greater detail.

My gut feeling is that this was seen as an easy out to sort out some internal politics and not thought out in detail

Anonymous said...

So many of these comments are focused on parsing out every possible mistake by W. The advice to job seekers gleaned from this can be boiled down to: grovel!

Let's think instead about guidelines for a hiring committee like Nazareth's (this is not pie in the sky for me: I work at a regional 4/4 college and have been on both sides of the hiring process.)

1) Be realistic about the candidates who will "fit". The candidates with Ivy league PhDs, zillions of publications and fancy postdocs? Ignore them. Look for candidates with lots of successful teaching experience, from institutions that are known for turning out great teaching faculty. You are a teaching college, so hire a teacher. This also ensures that the hire "gets" your campus culture and isn't always looking to move to an R1.

2) Give an honest and detailed picture of your campus. Many people on campus should have conversations about both the advantages and disadvantages of the college/region. Meetings with chair/dean etc should be used, in part, to explain benefits and things like research leave policy. If you really want a good "fit" you need to tell the candidate what she is "fitting" with and observe her reaction.

3.Oh, yeah: observe. You have a first-round interview and an on-campus; a dossier including teaching statement and evaluations, letters, etc; a cozy professional network in which to make inquiries. That's plenty. Candidates who are too focused on research for my institution? Give me 30 minutes on Skype and I'll figure out who they are. Promise. If you've done your homework, when the negotiation phase starts, you're confident that you've got the right candidate. If you didn't do your homework, the correct answer is to suck it up and stand by the (informed) decision you made.

I should add that by following these guidelines we've been able to hire a number of excellent teacher/scholars who are fully committed to the institution.

The real problem here is that, in this dreadful job market, less desirable departments (those with high teaching loads, low salaries, unpopular locations, etc) feel like they can make a superstar hire. They think they should be able to hire someone with a great pedigree and research programme--much better, of course, than any of their own--and that, magically, that candidate will put her head down and fit right in. But the superstar will probably continue doing what's made her a superstar--focusing on her research. She'll bring R1 aspirations with her, which can actually produce a beneficial change in culture (if only the existing faculty can be a bit flexible--maybe they should expect more of themselves and for themselves.) The folks at Nazareth, thinking that they could hire someone whose pedigree and research almost certainly blows their out of the water, and expecting her to accept the same humble deal they get? For the rest of her working life? Now that's what I call entitlement.

zombie said...

"Nazareth made a fair market offer for the candidate which they thought W was."

I haven't seen any information at all about what kind of offer Nazareth made. Maybe it was "fair market" and maybe it was seriously lowballed. And maybe they subjectively believed their lowball offer was, in the current market, "fair."

Anonymous said...

why is this so hard to understand? employer makes offer, applicant 1 makes counter-offer. employer rejects counter-offer and makes offer to candidate 2 who accepts. employer and candidate 2 are happy, but candidate 1 is now upset because they cannot have a second chance at the original offer or hold on to the offer while they wait for something better? Have you ever sold or purchased a house in a buyers/sellers market- nobody owes you anything.

Anonymous said...

"She'll bring R1 aspirations with her, which can actually produce a beneficial change in culture (if only the existing faculty can be a bit flexible--maybe they should expect more of themselves and for themselves.)"

This basically describes me. I teach at a "teaching college," with a 4/4 load, heavy service requirements for tenure, and a laughably low bar for research. (We tenured one of my colleagues based on the one article he co-wrote for a journal outside her AOS. That remains his only publication.)

I am recently tenured, and am now working on my 3rd book (all 3 for high-ranking university presses), and have published in some of the top journals for my AOS/AOC.

I have R1 aspirations (and hope to publish my way into such a position), and my colleagues know that. Some of them resent me for it, and although I have been highly evaluated (by students, peers, and the institution) for my teaching, some of my colleagues assume I am drawing attention away from my teaching by having such an active research agenda. (The trick, for me, is to be teaching courses that connect to my research; also, I have stopped making changes to my Intro course, which runs on autopilot at this point.)

This may just be my institution, but I have found that some of my colleagues are hostile to me because of my research agenda. One even told me, during my 3-year review, that I was setting a dangerous standard for the department, and that I was making others look bad. However, nobody has ever suggested that the really good teachers should dial it back, because the poor teachers felt bad.

Anonymous said...

"The real problem here is that, in this dreadful job market, less desirable departments (those with high teaching loads, low salaries, unpopular locations, etc) feel like they can make a superstar hire. They think they should be able to hire someone with a great pedigree and research programme--much better, of course, than any of their own--and that, magically, that candidate will put her head down and fit right in. But the superstar will probably continue doing what's made her a superstar--focusing on her research. She'll bring R1 aspirations with her, which can actually produce a beneficial change in culture (if only the existing faculty can be a bit flexible--maybe they should expect more of themselves and for themselves.) The folks at Nazareth, thinking that they could hire someone whose pedigree and research almost certainly blows their out of the water, and expecting her to accept the same humble deal they get? For the rest of her working life? Now that's what I call entitlement."

I totally agree. How dare Nazareth be so entitled and arrogant to expect that the candidate would be aware that she was applying to a teaching school with teaching needs. What the heck were they thinking? Superstars are going to be superstars after all. And even if superstars consciously choose to submit an application to a teaching school with teaching needs it would be crazy to think they would have to take into consideration the needs of the school....being a superstar and all. Those smoes should just be grateful that someone might have come into their 'culture' and changed a thing or two, maybe even show those obvious dimwits what philosophical thinking is all about! If, of course, she is willing to make such sacrifices!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Jaded PhD is right. The almost pathological need to moralize and render judgment displayed on this thread are staggering."

This is true, as long as we remember that only the side that is not mine can be guilty of moralizing and judgmentalism. So, if you side with Nazareth, be sure to abhor the moralizing judgments against the faculty there. And if you side with W, be sure to abhor the moralizing judgments of W.

I'm surprised how few have considered the possibility that the less judgment and less moralistic position is to, in one sense, side against both. Or, more accurately, to side with both against the other, to see both as victims of a deeply dysfunctional and immoral profession and educational system doing what victims often do: paying forward their victimization.

Anonymous said...

"I haven't seen any information at all about what kind of offer Nazareth made."

That's because W chose not to share it with us.

She's welcome to do so. She had no problem naming the university. Why not provide the details of the offer?

Anonymous said...

"The real problem here is that, in this dreadful job market, less desirable departments (those with high teaching loads, low salaries, unpopular locations, etc) feel like they can make a superstar hire."

I'm confused. Are you suggesting that less desirable departments should actively seek to hire inferior applicants? This seems to go against the prevailing sentiment on this thread that departments should always hire "the best." (How many times have people complained about losing a job to an inferior applicant? Because I know I have never once read a post or comment where someone notes that the inferior applicant got hired, and this was a good thing because of the inferiority of the department.)

Would we be any less outraged if Nazareth pulled their offer because, upon further review, they realized they were not good enough for her?

Though I do applaud you for championing mediocrity. Considering that there are more schools like Nazareth than there are R1s or elite SLACs, I appreciate your desire to ensure that undesirable schools don't hire superstars.

zombie said...

11:44 - No one is required to show us the money. My point was only that nothing can be inferred about the offer, or whether it was a "fair market" offer. "Fair market" assumes that the offer is in line with what is being offered in comparable situations in the existing market. To use a real estate analogy, the fair market price of a house is not determined solely by what the buyer or seller wants the price to be. It is determined by the prices of comparable houses in comparable neighborhoods.

I don't really care what Nazareth offered W. Neither W nor Naz is under any obligation to reveal that information here or elsewhere. But absent that information, it can't be assumed that the offer was "fair market." Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, maybe it was better than.

Anonymous said...

"No one is required to show us the money."

None of this is required.

"My point was only that nothing can be inferred about the offer, or whether it was a "fair market" offer."

If we have the offer, then there's no need to infer anything. But with the details of the offer, then we can also stop speculating about it.

""Fair market" assumes that the offer is in line with what is being offered in comparable situations in the existing market. To use a real estate analogy, the fair market price of a house is not determined solely by what the buyer or seller wants the price to be. It is determined by the prices of comparable houses in comparable neighborhoods."

Right. And is there a reason why this information shouldn't be made public, or be part of the discussion? I get that some people want to just vent about entitled applicants or immoral institutions, but if we really want a discussion about market realities, it might be helpful to know what departments are offering. Otherwise, all we have is speculation.

"I don't really care what Nazareth offered W."

I do. And I bet others do, too.

"Neither W nor Naz is under any obligation to reveal that information here or elsewhere."

Nor was W obligated to name the institution. I don't see what this has to do with obligation. My point is that W chose to share with the world a *very* incomplete picture, and people are making wild accusations against her and against the institution based on that very thin slice of the whole pie.

"But absent that information, it can't be assumed that the offer was "fair market." Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, maybe it was better than."

Exactly my point. Without details - details that W can easily provide - we're working with assumptions. If you dislike the speculating, then ask W to provide the details. Unless you don't care, which is fine too, and we will go on speculating.

Anonymous said...

Wrong zombie. She stated that she asked for less than 20% of her current offer. Therefore her offer was probably at 55k (11k being 20% and therefore 66k).

At 55k, her offer is actually the average being made for her institution over all experience levels at assistant professor. So, it was an above market offer for someone with zero years of teaching experience.

BTW, a fair market offer is not "groveling" as some twit would assert. Asking for 18-19% above a fair market offer is poor negotiating.

I'm not sure why people can attack criticisms of W's negotiating skills as endorsement of "groveling" to the employers.

Finally, W herself has stated that she learned to negotiate in this fashion and this is the proper way to do it. That statement alone is enough to allow people to render judgement on her ability to learn from real life lessons.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see anything wrong with shaming an institution when they deserve it."

First off, it's not clear that they do deserve it. They were under no legal obligation to negotiate their offer.


And W was under no legal obligation to keep Nazareth's reply confidential. (It's not clear to me why this is supposed to matter, but you seem very interested in legal obligations.)

I don't see what the problem is supposed to be with revealing the contents of Nazareth's reply. Is the college or department ashamed of what they did? If not, what is their objection to the release of the information?

Anonymous said...

BTW, a fair market offer is not "groveling" as some twit would assert. Asking for 18-19% above a fair market offer is poor negotiating.

It was in this case, but generally it’s not a problem at all. Most often, the chair will just explain that there’s no way they’ll give you that much, and go on from there.


Finally, W herself has stated that she learned to negotiate in this fashion and this is the proper way to do it. That statement alone is enough to allow people to render judgement on her ability to learn from real life lessons.

Not sure what your point is. It seems to me things worked out quite well for W. She avoided getting stuck in a petty department, and can conduct next year’s job search from her post doc position. Time will tell whether she’s a good negotiator; we certainly can’t draw conclusions from this particular incident.

Anonymous said...

Another strawman argument. Where is it documented that Nazareth objected to the disclosure? Nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I work in the "real" world and have hired and fired many over the years as a normal part of shifting the team makeup to best suite business conditions. I 100% back the college in this case and would have pulled the offer as well.

The offer itself is not a contract, not a promise but a consideration and each party can walk away. In this case the candidate showed an alarming lack of tact, wisdom and foresight which would likely not mesh well with the tone of the existing staff.

The lesson here is that your are always being judged in an interview process, every communication is fair game, any random interaction can fodder for scuttling a job offer.

I work in the software sales business and have never understood how the tenure system motivates anyone to push themselves. I have a quota placed on my work which rewards me well if I produce and punishes me for poor performance.I am comfortable that my employer could terminate me at any time, for almost any reason; I earn what I bring home.

I get the sense the applicant in this case has no idea what it means to earn, just entitlement. How sad for her. I hope she struggles to find a job and finds her passion.

Anonymous said...

The law is clear: when someone makes a counteroffer, that is the same as rejecting the offer and making another offer.

Here's Investopedia, "When a person makes a counteroffer, he or she is rejecting the previous offer and rendering it void. Because the original offer is now void, the person who made that offer is no longer legally responsible for honoring it."

As commenters have already pointed out: once it looked like W was likely to shirk teaching for research, W's peers at Nazareth probably didn't want W on the team. They justifiably thought, "oh no, she will want time off and a light teaching load."

The law - which is completely cut and dried - gave them a perfect out.

I'm sorry that so many people are outraged. But please: investigate more. The more you understand the law and the perspectives of the institution, the more it seems like another day at the office, instead of a conspiracy against women, employees, etc.

Anonymous said...

This is really late, but I'm wondering about a few dates. Some questions for W (since Nazareth won't comment):

1) Did you receive a formal offer letter? By this I mean a piece of paper with at the very least a salary, a start date and a broad description of duties. If so, on what date was it sent and on what date did you receive it?
2) If the answer to (1) is no, how and when did you receive your informal offer?
3) In the case of either (1) or (2), was a deadline specified for your response?
4) On what date did you send the email outlining your initial negotiating position?

As I doubt that W will respond to this, as she's only posted one response so far, let me just be explicit about my point:

I believe that W did nothing wrong in presenting her negotiating preferences.

It is clear that Nazareth changed their minds about W between the time of their offer and the withdrawal of their offer. I'm of two minds whether they did the "right" thing to eliminate the possibility that W might accept the original terms. On the one hand, Nazareth made a commitment. On the other hand, it might be a lesser evil to rectify what they clearly came to view as a mistake. To the many of you who have used the metaphor "W dodged a bullet": please keep in mind that Nazareth took the action, not W, so a more appropriate metaphor might be "Nazareth aimed away from W".

At any rate, my own assessment of Nazareth's actions would be influenced by the amount of time elapsed between when the offer was made and when it was withdrawn, particularly if the withdrawal was after any previously specified deadline. I would find Nazareth's actions far easier to defend if the withdrawal came two weeks after the offer than if it came two hours after.

Does nobody else think this point might be relevant?

Anonymous said...

I work in the "real" world and I think all the people who say "I work in the 'real' world" that side with the university work in a different "real world" than I do.

I think it's true that if you come into an interview process for a job that pays $100k and you say "I currently make $150k" they won't keep looing at you. But after an offer is made, it's pretty standard practice to ask for more money and not unrealistic at all to ask for 20% more as a starting point (negotiation can then end up at 20%, 10%, 0% more, etc).

It's also totally normal to ask for more vacation, for perks etc. A lot of companies have set policies and will say "no, offer is as is" but it doesn't normally mean they'll take back the offer. At least it's not something I've ever heard of, even in this dismal job market.

As for W's requests. I don't really understand why she seems so "entitled" to people. A friend of mine from grad school asked for pretty much all these things and got 50% of them. Maybe the school was more research oriented but it certainly wasn't Leiterific.

Anonymous said...

This case seems strange and as the only evidence are the two emails, impossible to 'call' if that is indeed what this discussion is about. As none of us are referring to all the other aspects of this case - the job advertisement, the published terms and conditions (if they existed) and the interview process, rushing to judgement is foolish.

I am not in the US but in Europe, where if you apply for an academic job you enquire or are informed of all the terms and conditions. You then know what you are applying for. It seems most strange that W made no reference to the contract, or the terms and conditions offered to her. If they were dramatically different to what she was asking for then she is at best naive. Did she raise none of this in the interview? If not, then she is a bit of a time-waster.

If the college is a teaching one, then they want someone to teach. Maybe they focussed on her research at the interview and that communicated something different from what they should have focussed on - i.e. teaching.

Did Nazareth suggest at the interview that there might be some possibility of her extending her post-doc and having a sabbatical pre-tenure?

I'd love to see the original advertisement and t & c. Only then can we go some way towards assessing how both parties have behaved.

W's email seems terribly stark and while her asks are not 'demands' the demanding tone is off-putting.

Naz's reply is similarly stark and while certainly not unethical as such, it seems to be a gut response to W's email rather than a reply to what might have been better communicated as an opening gambit.

Neither party seems to come out of this well, but without the further context, it is impossible to judge any further than that.

Anonymous said...

I've created a friendly petition to the APA. Please share with others - it's a useful mechanism for gauging reactions to W's story and why we should all take it various seriously, including professional associations and powerful members of our profession. https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/american-philosophical-association-publicly-condemn-the-actions-of-nazareth-college-and-amend-the-apa-handbook-on-placement-practices

Anonymous said...

It's only realistic to ask 20% or more if you have significant leverage. I recently took a senior management job that was specifically made for me. I asked for 20% and got rejected but I struggled with whether it was appropriate to ask for that significant a bump on a good salary. I'm a guy btw.

In this context where W had a fair offer (people say around 55k) and was asking for close to an associate professor salary in a field with lots of candidates, I can see where people in the "real world" find the negotiating poorly done.

Anonymous said...

Insanity. What exactly is she bringing to the table that warrants such genuflection by the University?

I know people who are quite literally trying to cure cancer or provide food and shelter for battered and homeless children who make far less.
What would W be researching that is of such value that she should be subsidized so heavily?
Be thankful that you are able to make a comfortable living doing something that is of very marginal social value.

p.s. I have a philosophy degree.

Anonymous said...

Who's trying to cure cancer that is making "far less" than $65,000?

Anonymous said...

I'm a tenured faculty member at a SLAC (higher ranked than Naz) in a different discipline. When we conducted two searches in the fall and saw the startup request from the female candidate we made an offer to, we placed a quick and call to her that said "double your request for research funds, it is too low, and ask for more stuff generally" before she spoke to the dean. No one wanted to see a new colleague undersupported, and many of us (including me) felt that urging her to take part in strong, principled negotiations was a feminist issue.

When the male candidate with the offer came in with startup requests similar to the ones from W (delayed start to extend his postdoc, limited preps, a salary request that was out of line with the market, a tone that seemed entitled and - perhaps most importantly, and not part of the discourse surrounding W's case - little justification for any of the requests) we rolled our eyes, inferred he didn't want to be at our school, and denied the requests. Maybe he had good reasons for some of the requests. But by just listing them - in an email - we didn't know them, and he came off as entitled and not understanding of our school.

We weren't so unprofessional as to rescind the offer, and Nazareth handled that terribly. For one thing, when we search we are fully cognizant that anything we say or do can and will wind up on the Internet. But his approach, which was similar to W's, was so off-putting that we lost enthusiasm for him, and were less willing to give him what we wanted. We had a reasonable second choice. We weren't quite "take it or leave it" ... but we were close. Had he come, I would have had to do some serious work to welcome him as a new colleague. I was relieved when he declined our offer.

I feel then, that I can come at this with some empathy for W, who, if I had been her friend or mentor, I would have urged to negotiate. But I also can see Naz's side and think I can set aside her gender in interpreting the situation.

Her approach was unfortunate, and her persistence in saying that she thinks that this is how negotiations should unfold show a real lack of understanding of how negotiations work. At their most effective, they aren't a list of demands, but a set of conversations in which each party tries to meet the others' needs within their constraints.

In this case, W's and Naz's goal were (I think) the same - for her to accept an offer there. Everyone involved, and everyone reading this thread, should read "Negotiation Genius" and/ or "Getting to Yes" to see just how poorly everyone involved in this situation handled things.



Anonymous said...

I feel very bad for W, since she clearly wasn't expecting this. But some of the comments reflect an even more risky kind of cluelessness, blaming bad advising or suggesting that there's no possible way W could have known about the culture of the college.

If you're a Ph.D., you're a professional researcher, someone who is supposed to know how to find out information, right? A B.A. grad in journalism could have figured out all the things that some commenters suggest were "unknowable." If I were on the SC, I wouldn't accept an excuse that the candidate simply knew nothing about academic culture (not what W is claiming -- this is in response to commenters). You're SUPPOSED to know. People with much less education manage to do this when they look for jobs.

And if you're interviewing with older faculty who had to suss out this kind of information in the pre-internet age, imagine how sympathetic they'd be to claims that "there was no way to know what the culture was."

[Again, this is not directed at W, but to some of the commenters.]

Anonymous said...

All you inconsiderate job seekers need to leave Fritz Allhoff alone. It's very stressful having to sort through all those job applications, so quit sending him pointless emails.

LetsBeFriends! said...

HELLO SMOKERS!

Could you please help me with something? I would appreciate it. I am currently WRITING MY DISSERTATION and intend to go on the job market THIS YEAR, in PHILOSOPHY! This I have never done before.

Could you please provide a brief timeline for when things happen--when I should be asking for REFs, when the jobs go up, and so on.

Also, since I am planning on graduating next spring (i.e. the semester before I take the job), how much of my dissertation should I have done by this autumn? How can I mitigate not actually having my degree in hand while applying for jobs?

THANK YOU MY FRIENDS!

Anonymous said...

"Could you please provide a brief timeline for when things happen--when I should be asking for REFs"

Let them know now. Give them time to prepare.

"Also, since I am planning on graduating next spring (i.e. the semester before I take the job), how much of my dissertation should I have done by this autumn?"

Most of it. Ideally, all of it. The market will take up quite a bit of your time.

"How can I mitigate not actually having my degree in hand while applying for jobs?"

By having a firm date for the defense that your letter writers note in their letters.

Anonymous said...

As I read her request, I see someone who's just not interested in working. Given her chosen field of study, one would think this implication to be rather clear.

Chuck Long said...

Nazareth College rescinded their offer because they were aware enough to spot a chronic problem child early. That list of of requests is ridiculous. Had her list started with higher salary and ended with maternity leave, she would likely still have a job offer, but the other three clearly show a person more concerned with maximizing her time away from the classroom than actually performing the job she was applying for.

If a male had submitted a similar list of requests, the college's reaction would have been exactly the same. The only difference being that none of us would have heard about it.

Steve Symanovich said...

She seems to be a high-maintenance person. Were I doing the hiring, I would have said to myself, "Oops, I screwed up, no way should this person be teaching at our college. This person will be trouble down the road."

Anonymous said...

"the other three clearly show a person more concerned with maximizing her time away from the classroom than actually performing the job she was applying for."

A lot of people are saying things like this, so it's worth taking seriously.
But I'm having a hard time taking it seriously, nonetheless. It's just incredible to me that taking a one-year fellowship, for example, is supposed to be evidence that someone wants is unfit for a job at a liberal arts college. I mean, no sane person could believe that. So I wonder what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve Symanovich, thanks for giving a FANTASTIC example of implicit bias in action. You and many others on this thread have really highlighted the special problem that women and minorities face in philosophy.

HIGH MAINTENANCE! LOL.

Anonymous said...

Withdrawing the offer in response to a request about possible sweeteners? That's wrong, stupid, and wrong. However, I don't agree with those who are suggesting that acting (partly) on considerations of fit is always a mistake. At least, the faculty in some very small departments I've taught in have a constant, reasonable fear that, should someone leave, the result will not be just another search to conduct, but rather the permanent loss of that TT line and--sooner or later--the elimination of the philosophy major or even the whole department. In such circumstances hiring someone who you think might not mind staying in the position permanently is part of the fight to keep the study of an essential humanities discipline alive your institution.

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km2Hd_xgo9Q

i think all the philosophers need to take a chill pill. What W said would be considered fine in professional circles - it seems like the bad job market for phds seems to have made all of you act like slaves lucky to get an offer...she asked for what she wanted - signaled willingness to negotiate all of the points - they just walked away? Their loss...

Anonymous said...

In negotiation job offers, there are two important principles. First, you should do your research. In general, job offers are very standardized these days because virtually all medium to large employers have HR departments that impose order. So, if you get an offer and it isn't close to what you thought you would get, you are probably interviewing for the wrong job. Second, you should keep things friendly. Assuming your accept the offer, you are going to have to work with these people. Those would be my thoughts. I've done a fair amount of hiring.

Anonymous said...

W might or might not have a "case." But she keeps herself hidden behind the shield of anonymity while "outing" the school, the small department, and the precise contents of communications that I am sure they must have thought confidential. This is stunningly unwise, immature and unethical behavior.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me and it can happen to any woman who doesn't know her place. The point is men negotiate by email all the time! At least that's what I'm told. That's why I followed the advice of my male mentors but it only works for men. Why don't we hear from some men who have sent emails like this? Forget the maternity leave, forget the number of preps, this is about a woman asking for more in an email. Why don't all the men who have emailed job negotiations--without having the offer rescinded--post them online so we all the doubters can SEE the gender bias for themselves.

Anonymous said...

both parts were right to ask terms. If you don´t defend your needs, nobody will.

Now, my two cents as a PhD student:
1) GOLDEN RULE: if you are to negotiate, ALWAYS CALL THROUGH THE PHONE AND ASK TO MEET THE RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE IN PERSON. It is a los easier to negotiate in person than per mail (non-verbal cues, voice tone, kinesia are missed in impersonal methos such as e-mail)
2) REMEMBER: entering Academia is hard, if you got an offer, there are probably 50 people behind you in the line. Hence, you have to be careful when you counteroffer.
3) Know your value: don´t underrate yourself, and don´t overvalue yourself either. ask yourself if you are above the average to ask for better conditions.
4) Tenure is NOT marriage: you can always get "divorced". If you get a position, you can go through it, gain expertise and look for better conditions in the short/middle term, either in that College or other one.
5) If you ask for better conditions, you can either get them, or get a slap in the face. Key is: learn from your experience, so you don´t mess it up again.
6) this is CAPITALISM: you get what you want if no one else can deliver at a lower salary than you do.

See ya!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Nazareth would have thought their FO letter would be confidential. That was stunningly unwise of them.
W's choice was very useful to others, and I applaud her for it.

Fanis said...

I was referred here by:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/the-scholarly-web-27-march-2014/2012199.article

I am not an experienced blogger and I have not followed the discussion here. However, my immediate reaction was not covered in the Times Higher Education report, so I post a comment here with apologies if it was raised already (as I hope and guess).

I would not have second thoughts about negotiating. The College's lack of ability to engage means that it was most probably not a good affiliation for you.

Anonymous said...

Just one additional point, from someone who has been on and chaired many hiring committees across several disciplines for the past 20 years - for many positions in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, the institutions at which I have worked (from R1s to tiny colleges) have had anywhere from 150-1000 applicants for entry-level positions. It has been exceedingly hard to pick from amongst what are often several dozen outstanding candidates.

Anonymous said...

I would argue listing a bunch of stuff you want right up front is not negotiation. That's just a Christmas list.

Let's say they originally offered her (which we are UNAWARE of her initial offer) $50k a year with benefits. She comes back with a list of 5 different things she wants, including an increase of salary to be in-line with what she was getting at a research facility. She also wants an "unofficial policy" in writing, which means usually they do grant an extension on mat leave, but it's off the books and you're getting paid. In my opinion her tactic of negotiation was what caused her to fail. The number of items she wanted, and how far she pushed all at once broke every possible good idea of salary negotiation that I have learned in my 7 years working contracts. NOT that she is a female.

Take my field. Starting salaries in administration entry-level are usually $32k-$36k no benefits. I have over 5 years of experience, and am now working at an executive admin level, that boosts me into the $42k-$65k region. Does it make sense if offered a position at $48k to then go and ask for $50k? Yes, because that's a 2k difference a year. I might even jump from there to $52k or even $50k a year plus benefits (which usually cost $4-$8k a year) because I want to test the waters with how far they are willing to start me.

Does it make sense to ask for $65k on an initial offer of $46-$48k? Not given the small amount of experience I have in the field, no. I can ask for it, but I will likely also receive a withdrawn offer like this authour. They can easily find another person wanting to work for less with the same amount of experience.

Also, asking for mat leave items to be discussed right away usually is a red flag. Companies are always wary of hiring a woman and having her automatically take 9 months of mat within the first year.

Now does this mean as a woman you should not negotiate? Certainly not.

You should research your field. If you are an engineer, many times you start around $65k a year. Being a woman and going in asking for $45 or $50k a year in that field will grant you an automatic yes, because they will SAVE money accepting your ask. You need to know what is common for people in the field, the company you are going into, as well as how much experience and how many years someone has been employed in said company/field before they usually get additional bonuses. Maybe if she had been there a year or two and did a stand-up job they would re-negotiate mat leave with her... before the hire though, without union backing her, she's a radical unknown bet they are hedging.

Jenni said...

I am appalled by the number of posters who side with the school. It is the very nature of job offers to negotiate. If she were a man you can bet she wouldn't have had the offer rescinded. Disgraceful on the part of Nazareth to just dismiss her out of hand. All they had to do was say no. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

They deserved it.

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