From the October 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Playing Fair

When it comes to negotiating compensation for yourself, you should propose a fair compensation package. In using that phrase, I'm not talking about those "fair wage" programs that we saw when I was in school back in the '90s, where some "impartial" analysts would determine that being a hairdresser was equivalent to, say, an airline pilot, and recommend the same six-figure salary for both. But I am suggesting that facing off with your prospective employer like he was a used car salesman trying to unload the last Hummer on the lot might be counterproductive. Remember, hopefully, you'll have to work with this guy for many years: ill will created at the negotiating table can carry over into your working relationship. (Sports and entertainment stars use agents to remove themselves from the actual negotiations, but often even that doesn't keep the perception of overly aggressive bargaining tactics from damaging relations with the coach or director.) Almost always, the best deal is a win/win for both sides.
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