Ok so this is lighting up blogs on academic/woman focused sites.  Would love to hear others opinions on what you think.

donm's picture
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I don't see how this is a problem specifically due to a woman's sex.  This is a case of a junior coming in asking for things that a senior would be asking for, and asking for it in a terribly direct and confrontational way, regardless of the "some might be easier to grant" disclaimer. If I had a prospective new hire who asked for a laundry list such as that, and in such an official communication, I'd probably rescind the offer, too. I don't need problems. I need problem solvers. When I get a list of demands (call them "requests" all you like), then I see red flags. Now, had the same list happened over a telephone call or face-to-face interview, then maybe things would be different.

To say this is due to gender or because she's negotiating salary is ludicrous. I hire folks weekly, more or less, and I'm always willing to discuss salary, work conditions, and perks. But if someone sends me a demand letter such as hers, I'm seeing future problems and not a team player. I put the letter on the same level as someone starting an interview with, "So, how much vacation will I get?"

pucciot's picture
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 I was going to make a long post - but discovered that many of my points were made in the comments below the article found at :

Yeah - I'm in academia - and most of these comments ring true.

It wasn't because she was a woman - it was what she was asking for,  the fact that she asked, and the way that she asked.

Sure - asking isn't demanding - but the very behavior of asking is a signal of desire.

If a candidate asked "Hey, if I finish all of my work for the day, can I go home early and still get the full 8 hrs day's pay ?"

And the hiring manager says "No".

The candidate can say -- "OK, I was just asking - not demanding"  all he wants to.  

The very question send red flags. 

"Beginnings are delicate times"  - be careful.


mike_bruns_99's picture
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The fact that the candidate's first action was to post to a blog, and not call the college to say  "I'm sorry for the tone of my email, I'd be thrilled to take the job if it's still available"  confirms that the college was right.  A poster on one of the blogs summed it up perfectly when they said:

"Only negotiate when you have leverage.  A job offer is not leverage".

JonathanGiglio's picture
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I hope someone is there to capture Mark's head exploding when he reads this.

jdbrown1998's picture

Thanks for expressing your thoughts everyone.  My thoughts were the same as many of yours.  I also am in academia and was thinking it was pretty amazing that someone was essentially saying I want 2 of my first 6 years with your company off.  One of them with pay.  I definitely would have thought twice about withdrawing the offer.

techmgr's picture
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This slate article does I think show that some of the criticisms are outsized to her actual mistakes:

Academics do negotiate. I watched a colleague, now a tenured classicist, successfully negotiate a extra year of sabbatical within the first 4 years of her employment, and a shortened pre-tenure period (so that she was up for tenure 2 years earlier than they had offered). This negotiation was by email, not phone. She was already an established name with publications, and likely had much more leverage that this woman. From my time in academia, I know that course load is often a topic of discussion. Those who went on to teaching positions from my graduate program returned to help us prepare for interviews, and I distinctly remember that one woman did successfully negotiate a lesser course load (this was in the mid-90s). 

And if you look here, you'll see that not everything she asked for was out of the blue, for example, the maternity leave had been discussed already, and it seems she was just trying to get clarification:

I'm biased though, I got out of academia because I realized I didn't want to spend the rest of my life being overworked, under-appreciated and underpaid.