Eleanor Roosevelt says that you should
Do one thing every day that scares you.
I don’t know how I’m doing on the one-a-day count, but I know that in this past academic year, I’ve addressed a lot of things that have terrified me.
- Going on the job market.
- Deciding to go after tenure-track positions, which required me to write a research statement. I didn’t think I could. I was afraid to try. But I did it.
- The interviews themselves have scared me on and off. Sometimes more confident, sometimes more shaky.
- Dealing with my home department and its problems. There are people in that department whose lack of anger management and general fairness creates a hostile and intimidating environment.
- Having to raise issues outside the department and within, to face these problems.
- Dealing with people who are acting in an obstructionist manner.
- Needing to go back to authorities within the university about even more blatant diversity and climate issues.
And I have gotten through most of that, though some is still pending. With a ton of discouragement, and not a lot of confidence. I have kept moving forward, nevertheless.
But tomorrow … tomorrow we open a job negotiation. I remind myself that we should be on the same side. But last spring’s fiasco has left me with anything but confidence on that point.
I am dealing with things that I am not sure are major enough to be called flashbacks, but they are like flashbacks. I am suddenly back in that emotional space where nothing I can do or say will change anything, I am not being supported by the person closest to me, and I am scared and paralyzed. I feel the obligation to say the right thing to make things go right, but I know that you cannot make unreasonable people reasonable. That is beyond my super-powers.
What if this happens again? I don’t want to stay where I am. I will not go somewhere that isn’t treating me right. What if we end up in the grey zone of uncertainty? Then how do I deal? What if I say the wrong thing or don’t deal with things perfectly?
And that’s ridiculous. I don’t have to be perfect. Neither does that dean have to be perfect. We both just have to be good enough. We both just have to want to make a deal that is good for the school and good for me, then work on what exactly that is.
Well, at least this time, I cannot lose a significant other over what happens. Right?
A principles/ideas of the negotiation:
We all want me to accept this job offer, and bring what I have to the school. This negotiation is about making that happen.
Tools that can be used:
- Figure out our common goals and priorities.
- Ask why the other person has whatever stance they have.
- Generate alternative ideas that might help with the problem. This can involve hiring me with a different title, for example.
- How can funds get best used to further everyone’s goals?
- Find out from others some details on start-up packages.
- I don’t have to respond to anything immediately. “I need some time to think about that.”
- If offered a salary that is obviously too low, the pregnant pause and, “That was lower than I was expecting/Is less than I am making now.”
- Find somewhere that we can have success together.
That’s the basics of what I can do. On the rest I have to trust.
A friend reminded,
Fear is a sign of profound opportunity.
And that goes along with a corollary,
Make the most of the opportunity in front of you.