Throughout our lives, we negotiate with ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, about our jobs and careers. We make decisions about whether to move or stay put, to go for a promotion or even to change direction completely. The need for a pit-stop, and a chance to re-assess and even change direction, often crops up in mid-life, when we are well and truly established in our work or far enough along to get a glimpse of what life after work might look like. Gender is a critical issue when we talk about negotiating a major change, and particularly when we look at the negotiations we have with ourselves as preparation for negotiating with others. More often than not I hear women who are almost too concerned with what others might think about a possible change. This is not because they are poor negotiators. It is to do with our expectations within society of how ‘selfish’ women are allowed to be. Is it ok to put yourself first, before any needs that your family might have? This question, and the tendency for women to tick all boxes before looking for a new job or way to work, will have a significant impact on how and if you choose to make a serious change in your work life.
If and when you decide to look more deeply and think about your working life and what, if anything, needs to change, I hope these pages will inspire you. I suggest you ask yourself three questions: Firstly, Who is the real me…right now? – to reflect on who you are with all that you know and can do. Secondly, What motivates me? – to check all batteries and understand what drives you forward. And finally, What will I do about it? – to find out which practical tools to use on your way forward.
Everyone negotiates on a daily basis. We all make innumerable deals, small and large, at work but also at home with the people with whom we share our daily lives. This means that we all have a great deal of practical experience and that in fact most people are seasoned negotiators. The realisation that we all do it and do it well can help pave the way for using negotiation tools more strategically so that both we and the people we interact with at work and at home get more out of both the process and the agreements we reach. It is also vital to be aware of some of the classic obstacles we all face when negotiating, and in particular those connected to negative gender stereo-typing. Real life examples and a step-by-step guide through the negotiation process and its’ phases will give you an overview of what, how and when to use the many research-based techniques and concrete tools in the book.
The book consists of three parts: looking at negotiation as a general phenomenon; what works when you negotiate; and how to work at home with the recommendations and the range of exercises referred to throughout the book. What is it all about? – When do we actually negotiate and what terms and mechanisms does the process encompass? What works? – How do you structure using negotiation both at work and at home in order to get what you want? How do I practice? – How can I structure my thoughts about negotiation and the planning of negotiations?