Last week, I wrote a post about a job I was considering applying for. A couple of people suggested that I delete the posting because they were concerned it would negatively my bargaining position in the unlikely event I get an offer. The logic is that if the prospective employer knows I consider it a dream assignment, they’ll pay me less.
I’m not worried about this at all. First of all, a place that rewards indifference and punishes enthusiasm has questionable priorities and probably won’t be able to provide a stimulating, challenging environment. If I’m really hurting myself by saying that I think the job sounds interesting, it’s not the sort of place I want to work. Call me crazy, but I want to be where people are excited about what they do, where communication is open, and where people try to be fair to each other.
As good luck would have it, it is easy to identify good employers — they have the same qualities as good employees. They do the right thing when no one is looking over their shoulder. They go the extra mile. On the other hand, crummy employers act just like crummy employees. They only do what they should when you hold their feet to the fire. It’s usually obvious which ones are good and which ones are not.
I look at a job as a partnership. If employers and employees are open about their needs and perceptions, it’s easy to engage in productive conversations that benefit everyone. On the other hand, if one or both sides withhold information for purposes of taking advantage of the other, everyone winds up butting heads. Fooling your business partners is not a good idea. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out what happened and adjust their strategy for dealing with you.
Even if that weren’t the case, it’s going to take more than an ideal job description to convince me to leave my current situation. When I talked about this opportunity with my boss, he told me that he wants people to work at the State Library because it’s the best place to be. He felt that the only way for me to know if this is true is to apply and see what happens. No tricks, no bribes, no threats. He helps make the State Library my kind of place.
Also, as strange as it may sound, giving up my commute would be a major sacrifice. I’ve been riding my bike to work every day for years. It’s about 36 miles round trip, so I’m in good shape. I’ll need a really good reason to give up a huge chunk of my favorite hobby and a small part of my health.
I’m going to give this job opportunity my best shot. Regardless of what happens, I’ll be happy. If I am selected and it appears to be a better place to work than what I have now, great. If not (or I don’t survive the interview process — statistically the most likely outcome), that’s fine too because I’ll know that I’m still working at the best place possible.
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