Due to many recent events, which I’m sure I’ll disclose later, I’ve been in an interesting situation of a good bit of leverage. While leverage can of course be taken advantage of and misused, it also plays a very fair role in business. When hiring a new college graduate in most cases you take the offer you are given, some are able to negotiate for a higher salary, but most are quite unsuccessful. This is because they don’t have any leverage. If you ended up walking away from the job offer they would simply hire another college graduate. While yes you may have a lot of potential, it’s only that potential and not proven.
Additionally within a corporation, the company will often do just enough to keep an employee there. If a company does a great job, an employee gets a pat on the back. If an employee is indispensable (though no company will ever admit to this), they may get a noticeable reward, but it still doesn’t usually cover the value the individual is actually providing.
This responsibility to get what you are truly worth usually lies with the employee. The hard part of this, is knowing when and how to use your leverage. First you must actually have leverage, this commonly in potential revenue you would bring in, or internal knowledge that you may have. Though I’m sure others have varying experiences, mine have been to make your dissatisfaction with a situation known, but in a light manner. Meanwhile make it visible that you’re open to other opportunities as they may come along, this can be via twitter, blog post, or water cooler talk. The final thing, and hopefully this is an easier one, is make it clear that you have the leverage, the sale should be a big one, or the internal knowledge should be costly should they lose it.
The most unfortunate part of all of this is that, in my experiences the leverage is typically needed to get a fair deal. And the single point of requiring leverage no longer makes it fair, but at least knowing this ensures you’re not left out in the cold.