Sally Krawcheck says “At work, get it in writing.”

Published on December 17th, 2014 by Alan L. Sklover

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Happy Hanukkah

Published on December 16th, 2014 by Alan L. Sklover

On This First Night of Hanukkah – A Message for all our Friends, Regardless of Faith:

Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of “the light,” the miracle that it exists, and the miracle that it endures. Each of us can be a “light unto the world” in our own lives. Celebrate that light within you – and keep it alive. You will have something to celebrate each and every day, and so will all others. Be a light unto the world.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on December 15th, 2014 by Alan L. Sklover

Featured Coffee Cup

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

– Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

At work, listen carefully to what others say, and what they don’t say. Watch their behaviors, both what they do and what they don’t do. Observe dynamics between people and among groups. Make a mental note of interests, and consider motivations. And – here’s the hardest part – make it a habit to apply that same scrutiny to yourself. When you know the person, you can better understand – and at times even predict – the person’s actions. Negotiation is not as much a singular act of prevailing, as it is a lifelong process of prediction.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at].

Al’s Perspective

Published on December 12th, 2014 by Alan L. Sklover

“A Tale of Two Employees: One an Accomplice, One a Whistleblower.”

Almost every business and organization these days feels intense pressure to do more with less, and to reach lofty goals with meager resources. Sooner or later, that impossible burden usually falls upon the shoulders of employees.

Whether that means bending rules, cutting corners or breaking laws, it quite often leads to telling fibs, pushing stories, or practicing deception. Sometimes, it even leads to outright dishonesty.

For employees, the pressure to “just get it done” often portends an approaching “fork in the road”: one way to participate, the other way to resist, in either direction, at you own personal peril.

That choice is a proverbial choice: You can “go along to get along,” that is, be an accomplice. Or you can be a “stick in the mud,” that is, standing up for what you know is “right.” It is not an easy decision to make, not at all. But even not making a decision is a decision, in and of itself.

On Monday, December 8, 2014 67-year-old Daniel Bonventre was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being the Director of Operations for swindler Bernard Madoff. He was also ordered by the judge to repay $155 billion. (That is not a typo.) That prison sentence may well become a life sentence.

On the other hand, 56-year-old Bill Lloyd, a former agent for MassMutual Financial Group, was recently awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (“S.E.C.”) for exposing his employer, MassMutual’s, fraud upon its policyholders. Mr. Lloyd did not immediately run to the S.E.C. to file a complaint, but first did all he could to correct the issue internally. While he says that he felt the “discomfort” of his colleagues treating him “like a leper,” Mr. Lloyd is now entirely “comfortable” with the final outcome.

Some believe our society now has more problems than ever with dishonesty and lack of integrity. However, facts suggest that the many new laws, regulations – and most importantly, attitudes – show less tolerance for large companies, in particular, taking advantage of the public.

One thing is for sure: there are more “whistleblower” laws and protections than ever before. The S.E.C. has established a Whistleblower Office, and has so far given out $16 million in whistleblower awards. That is a substantial inducement to “do the right thing!”

Whistleblowing is not without its own risks. But if done carefully and smartly, it is increasingly a rewarding experience.

At least that is how Bill Lloyd sees it, and Daniel Bonventre wishes he did, too.

© 2014 Alan L. Sklover All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Prohibited.

“Job Offer On the Way? – Consider Asking for a Sign-On Bonus”

Published on December 9th, 2014 by Alan L. Sklover

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

- Seth Godin

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES: Carrie was not at all pleased with her job. Though it sure seemed glamorous to be in charge of all wholesale sales in South America and Latin America for her employer, a luxury clothing company, she soon tired of the constant travel. And, too, her boss and Carrie no longer saw things eye-to-eye, as they once had. In fact, she had grown to dislike him immensely. She thought, why not seek something new? Though the job market was anything but robust, Carrie contacted some of her friends in the fashion industry, and put out the word that she was “available” for the right job.

Through a recruiter she had met some time earlier, she learned of a position training and overseeing junior clothing salespersons. Though Carrie did not think of herself as the “teacher-type,” she did agree to an interview, and over her interviews, grew more and more interested in leaving pure sales and moving into the “human capital” field. It surely piqued her interest. After learning that she was among the top two candidates, Carrie was eager to accept nearly any decent offer presented. She was, however, concerned about the cost of relocating her residence for the job.

When Carrie consulted us, we suggested she consider asking for something she had never considered: a sign-on bonus to help her address relocation costs. After a little bit of coaching, and a whole bunch of nervousness, Carrie did ask for a sign-on bonus, and was elated when her request was agreed to.

LESSON TO LEARN: Acquiring and retaining the right “human capital” is seen today as a truly critical component of organizational success. When the right candidate is found, and when that candidate gives a good reason for a sign-on bonus, an employer will at least give serious thought to the request. These days, such requests – under the right circumstances and posed in the right way – are being granted with increasing frequency.

Here is a sample of a typical sign-on bonus agreement or provision:

“If you become an employee of the company, you will be paid a sign-on bonus of $30,000, less legally required deductions and withholdings. It will be paid to you 1/3 within thirty (30) days of your first day of work, 1/3 within sixty (60) days of your first day of work, and 1/3 within ninety (90) days of your first day of work. If you voluntarily resign before one full year of your first day of work, you will have to repay one half of your sign on bonus. If you are discharged from employment without having committed “cause” for firing, you will not be liable for any repayment of the sign-on bonus.”

Requests for sign-on bonuses are most appropriate when (a) the employee is being heavily recruited or is surely the number one candidate, (b) the employee is leaving an apparently stable position or location, (c) the employee will be forfeiting earned bonus or commission, or coming compensation, and (d) the new position will entail additional time, expense or investment of some kind by the employee, such as relocation costs, education costs, legal costs or clothing allowance.


Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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