Don’t Lowball Me Jerk

By Paul Meadows

I was looking to make a move to a more lucrative position, either at my current employer or at another company. I went through the application process and had an interview lined up with an interested company this past Friday.

That same morning, the owners pulled me aside and offered me more money. I mentioned that I was expecting a competing offer, and that we should hold off until it came through. I wish I could convey the looks they gave me as they figuratively shit their pants (simultaneously). I had apparently made myself indispensable.

I went through the interview process with the other company, everything seemed great. I felt like I made a great impression, convinced them of my experience, and demonstrated my proficiency with the software.

I received their offer on Tuesday, and it was so much lower than expected. On their application, I indicated my desired salary, and because they asked, filled in my current salary. They didn’t even seem to be meeting me in the middle, and meeting in the middle between what I asked for and what they offered seemed like a bridge too far.

So I leveraged the offer with my current bosses, not discussing exact amounts, and ended up with a figure very close to what I was seeking. That deal confirmed, and with mutual assurances that they could count on me to stay put barring anything tragically unforeseen, I sent a reply declining the offer from “company B”.

Two hours later, I had just gotten off the phone with my wife. It was our anniversary, and coincidentally she was also offered a new position with her current company and a commensurate salary increase. It was shaping up to be a great day/evening.

Not 5 minutes after getting off the phone with her, I got a call from a local area code number. Thinking it might be one of my students (I also teach part-time), I answered. It was the operations manager at the other company. He was obviously flustered, and told me that he was shocked that I had declined.

We chatted for a few minutes, and I let him know that I appreciated the offer, but that countering didn’t seem worthwhile. I mentioned (cordially) that if they wanted to steal me away from my current employer, they should have come to the table with a competitive offer.

Moral of the story:  don’t lowball me, jerk.

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