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The Argument Against Negotiating Hard

By Marty Nemko

I know a fair number of negotiating techniques and have negotiated hard all my life, but looking back, I'm not sure it was a good use of my time. Often, I got little more than the original offer, rarely enough to, after taxes, improve my lifestyle. Even when negotiation yields a big payoff, there can be downsides. Extensive pre-employment negotiation can distract you from more important factors: will you enjoy the job, and how it will affect your lifestyle--a great salary may not compensate for a two-hour commute or 70-hour workweek. If an employer pays extra, it can leave a bad taste in his mouth, not a good way to begin a relationship. Also, an employer will expect more from a highly-paid worker. Ask yourself: Is the additional money worth the extra pressure and risk of failure?

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