Is negotiating your salary a no-no these days?

The bridal mag finally called and offered me the job. I should be excited, right? Read on…

After the editor made the offer, I asked for a $3k increase in salary. I’ve always been told that it’s standard to negotiate (especially since this isn’t an entry-level position, more like assistant/associate), but it was very apparent that I would take the offer even if they wouldn’t negotiate. She said she would call me back after she spoke to her higher-ups.

She did call back, about four hours later and this is how the conversation went:

Editor: I spoke to my boss and unfortunately we can’t match your price.

Me: That’s fine. I would love to accept, regardless.

Editor: Well, the thing is, we also offered the position to another candidate at a lower rate than yours and she accepted, so the position is no longer available.

WTHF??!?? Is that even legal? How could she make someone else an offer without even asking me if I would accept, first? Even worse, she said she assumed since I had another job offer already, that I would be okay with not taking this job. Who is she to decide what’s best for me and what’s not? I also gathered from what she said that she most likely immediately called the other candidate after she spoke to me. She wasn’t willing to negotiate the package and she should have just said so during her conversation with me. Isn’t it standard to ask for a couple of days to think it over before accepting a job offer, anyway?

I am pissed beyond belief and all I want to do is just call and curse her out but I know that could possibly mean death for me in the industry. What ticks me off the most is that she took 7 weeks to make a decision and wanted an answer within 30 seconds.

On one hand, it’s probably best that I’m not working there, because they are definitely unprofessional. Who knows, maybe in a couple of months they would even terminate my position without warning. I’ve learned that the work environment is just as important, if not, more so, than the title or company name.

On the other hand, the position seemed perfect for me. I can’t help but think if I had just decided to accept on the spot and not negotiate, I would have the job.

I know it’s definitely not my personality. As angry as I seem in this blog, that’s how even-tempered I am at work. But, this experience made me want to pick and up and leave the industry all together. It is just too tough to cut it and living from paycheck to paycheck (or no paycheck!) for two years is more than I can handle.

But, at the end of the day, I know I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I should at least be glad I do have a job. I should probably be more appreciative even if it is a small start-up and my boss is neurotic. She made me go home and work on a ‘breaking news’ article until 11:30 at night and she called me every two minutes to check how I was doing! Other than those things, I get to write about what I want and I am actually in charge of my specific parts of the website and am free to editorialize, as I please. But I still can’t stop my yearning for a position at a big title.

So, what’s the lesson here? That the economy is a shithole and that you have no right to negotiate?

Somehow, I refuse to believe that.

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