Test Your Employment-Negotiating IQ

Have you been reading our blog posts? Have you been watching our YouTube videos? Think you’ve made progress in becoming your own best negotiator? Let’s see:

Question 1:

You’ve broken one arm and several ribs in a nasty ice-skating fall. The healing is not going well. Your doctor recommends bed rest for at least three weeks. You should consider:

a. If your allotment of “sick days” are exhausted, asking to use your accrued vacation time. 

b. Consider taking an unpaid leave of absence using the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) law.

c. Filling out the forms for short-term disability.

d. Asking to work from home at a reduced workload. 

e. All of the above.

Your Answer (choose one): a b c d e

The Best Answer: Each of the measures A through D should be considered when you must be away from work for an extended period of time due to an illness or injury. This is an instance in which you may need to confer with your boss, your HR representative, your doctor, and even your attorney to figure out what step, or combination of steps, would be right for you. 

So, the Correct Answer to Question 1 is “E,” “All of the above.”

It never hurts to be prepared: Consider reviewing our Newsletter entitled “A Special Issue: The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) – The 50 Things You May Need to Know.” Simply, [click here].

If you are considering a leave of absence for health related concerns, we offer a Model Memo to help you request the FMLA forms necessary to do so. To obtain a copy, simply [click here].

Question 2:

On Friday, at 4:00 pm, you’re asked to meet your boss in a conference room, and she’s sitting there with your HR representative. In just a few short sentences, you learn you are being “downsized.” What should you do?

a. Share your feelings.

b. Demand to know who authorized your termination.

c. Ask to call your lawyer.

d. Listen carefully, accept any papers you are given, and ask any questions you may have.

e. Sign whatever documents you are asked to sign.

Your Answer (choose one): a b c d e

The Best Answer: At time of termination, it makes sense only to listen and ask questions. Never, ever sign any documents without your lawyer first reviewing it, although you have no right to have a lawyer present at such a meeting. Additionally, it can only harm you to either show emotions or share feelings, or demand to know anything. Asking questions about any related subjects is appropriate and can only be helpful.  

So, the Correct Answer to Question 2 is “D.”      

It never hurts to be prepared: Consider watching our 10-minute video on YouTube entitled “Just been Pink-slipped? The Three Things to Do.” Simply [click here].

Question 3:

You’ve been told that you can’t receive any of your bonus unless you sign a “non-compete” agreement that seems to say that, if you ever leave for any reason, you can’t work for a “competitor” for two years. You should:

a. Sign it, because courts never enforce these any more.

b. Simply refuse to sign it. 

c. Ask your HR representative to limit it to a few months, or perhaps to two or three certain “competitors,” or maybe agree to pay you if you’re out of work as a result.

d. Ask if you can have a lawyer look at it before you sign it.

e. Sign it, but write “Under Protest” next to your signature.

Your Answer (choose one): a b c d e

The Best Answer: A “non-compete” agreement is a device that restricts you from working for a competitor for a period of time after you leave your employer. These agreements are becoming more and more common, and pose a risk to your employability and, for that reason, your career. Usually they are distributed by HR with a memo that says, in effect, “You must sign and return this in order to remain employed” (or receive your bonus, or stock options, etc.) 

Courts in almost all states will enforce these agreements. Worse, they don’t need to be enforced in court in order to be effective. Future employers will likely ask you if you’ve signed one; if you have, they likely won’t hire you until your “non-compete” period has expired. 

It’s always important to have an attorney review what you have been asked to sign, and to try to limit the time, the geography, the competitors and the conditions in which “non-compete’s” may apply. Some people may have enough negotiating leverage to simply refuse to sign one, but that is not all that common. 

So, the Correct Answers to Question 3 are both “C” and “D.” 

It never hurts to be prepared: Consider reviewing our many Newsletters and Questions and Answers on Non-Competes in our Resource Center. You can do so by simply [click here].

Faced with a Non-Compete? You may want to consider obtaining our “Ultimate Non-Compete Package”, including our 185-Point Master Guide and Checklist to Non-Compete’s and Model Letter to assist you in Responding to a Request to Sign a Non-Compete. To obtain a copy [click here]. 

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And Some Additional Workplace Insight:

A recent report suggests that the publishers of Webster’s Dictionary were considering adding these three new workplace words to their lexicon of the English language: 

“Ohnosecond” – That measure of time during which you realize you just emailed to the entire company your intimate “Thank You” note to last night’s hot date. 

“Blamestorming” – The treatment afforded those who forgot to attend the meeting called to discuss a recently failed project. 

“Assmosis” – The process of advancing one’s career by continually smiling in extremely close proximity to the boss. 

We hope you passed our Employment Negotiating IQ Test!

New “self-tests” will be forthcoming each month!

P.S.: Don’t know what to say, or how to say it? To help you we offer Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Form Agreements for almost every workplace issue, concern and problem that requires your smart navigating and negotiating. Just [click here].

© 2012 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved