Career Report
August, 2010 — Issue 126


Negotiating with a Frugal Employer

If you’re like many professionals, you’ve been waiting a long time for a raise. In fact, you may have even taken a paycut during the recession. But while the economy looks to be turning around, experts say you may have to wait a bit longer for a real salary increase because companies remain cautiously frugal, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Don’t be discouraged, though. Since firms are also becoming concerned about retaining their best employees, now might be a good time to negotiate for other things that could make your job easier or sweeten the deal for you.

Before you ask for anything, think about what would make your job or life easier—and consider if those things will be easy for the company to say yes to, the article pointed out. Key benefits and perks that were suspended during the recession, for example, might be easy to get back. Or you could ask for low-cost or free new ones.

If there are conferences in your industry that have been off-limits for budget reasons, ask about attending this year. And if you’ve been working particularly long hours or doing the job of several people, consider asking your boss if more paid vacation time or comp time is a possibility. With the exception of very regimented companies, extra days are usually among the easiest perks for managers to give.

In some companies, it might be the right time to ask for a promotion, said Edward E. Lawler III, professor of management at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. After all, he added, you may already be doing the work of a higher-level employee.

“When you have your performance review, go over your job description and compare it to what you’re already actually doing,” he told the newspaper. “There might be quite a discrepancy there, which might merit a promotion.”

You also can ask your manager for a mid-year review to make your case. While many companies froze salaries over the last two years, a number of them added exceptions for promotions, the article pointed out. And if you work for a publicly traded company, you might consider asking for stock options.

But beware: stock options can be a risky asset. “Companies are free to terminate [you] before the options vest, leaving [you] somewhat empty-handed,” cautioned Jeannette Nyden, a Seattle attorney who deals with executive contracts.

If it’s your life that could use some renegotiation, ask to customize your work schedule with a flexible start time or a few days a month of telecommuting, the article noted. But don’t focus exclusively on your needs when you ask. Explain how coming in two hours earlier or having a day without a lengthy commute in a quiet home office will help increase your productivity or improve your work.

Finally, losing the small things at the office can have a disproportionately heavy impact on workplace morale, experts said. Commuting subsidies, free parking, lunchroom snacks, or free milk for coffee are reasonably inexpensive ways to make office life more pleasant. Ask for those as consolation if your more valued proposals are turned down, experts advised.

And don’t give up if your first request isn’t accepted, Nyden told the newspaper. “Find out what about your offers don’t work, and use [that] to create something that will.”

FREE Interactive Job-Seeker Webinar: Staying Motivated and Organizing Your Day During an Extended Job Search

Our next Free Job-Seeker webinar will take place on Wednesday August 25th “Staying Motivated and Organizing Your Day During an Extended Job Search”. Register for this webinar now by visiting The following is a sampling of what others have said about this webinar:


  • I’d definitely vote to include these webinars as “motivational”. I always pick-up at least two or three points that I can either apply directly or use in considering how I might improve my search process. What better definition for “motivational” could there be – if it results in taking action!
  • Good advice, not unheard before but presented in a refreshing manner. Had expected ending to be promotion of some kind. Pleasantly surprised that this was a legitimate ‘service’ presentation. Speaker sounded genuine and sincere. I would feel comfortable dealing with or recommending your firm.
  • Good straight forward presentation. I liked the plain honest approach without any ‘used car-salesmen” puffery or “Mom” nagging!
  • I wish I could view this webinar when needed. It was clearly motivating and reassuring to hear that I am not alone in my job search. Everything covered was not new to me but I feel inspired to start with new energy.
  • The presentation was very informative — it was helpful to learn how to confront the demotivators and avoidance behavior that negatively impacts the job search process.
  • This webinar was just what I needed. It is back to school time – the beginning of the year – and after a summer search that really stagnated in August, I needed the fresh start.
  • This webinar was spot-on. A great overview of what the job seeker needs to do, sort of tough love. Making those phone calls is tough psychologically! Marking progress to slow the erosion of self-confidence is very important. Good stuff to remember during a tough process.
  • Great reinforcement of key job search skills and the importance of daily routines. Keying in on avoidance behavior was probably a good eye opener to many – no more excuses – just do it!
  • Very full and satisfying one-half hour! Excellently prepared!!! Hands-on advice.
  • Very informative and thought provoking webinar. You definitely brought my vision of networking and staying positive more into focus. Keep up the good work!
  • Webinar was very good as a motivational tool in reminding us of what needs to be done to move our job search forward even in this very slow and de-motivating market.
  • Once again thanks to you and your staff for your time and efforts. Tremendously appreciated. Thanks and regards.


We are both pleased and proud to announce that over 25,000 participants took advantage of this free program during 2009.


News from BLK

As President of Berman Larson Kane it is with great pride that we have received firm accreditation (NAF) from the National Association of Personnel Services ( . This is our third consecutive year of passing the standards that assure our clients and candidates that we will continue to abide by the rigid standards set by NAPS to be assured of the best staffing services. Thank you all who have guided us on this successful path.

Berman Larson Kane continues to host the Tuesday night meetings for the MIS Networking Group If you are in transition, contact John Sampson for details and registration.

Bob Larson, CPC is continues our BLK FREE webinar series on various job-seeking topics. You can register for these events at our website You can also read testimonials about our last session at Our wish continues that all participants become webinar dropouts as a result of having landed a great new job.

As for our BLK analysis of the job market, we continue to witness improvements year over year; however hiring remains selective and most clients continue to move towards contract/temporary hiring as a path to staff skill demands until full confidence returns to the market place. Thank you to all our clients who continue to place their trust in our ability to “Offer the Best Staffing Options”.