Friday, January 25, 2008

Salary Gossip

Do you ever hear salary gossip? I just heard a little story about a certain publishing person who was interviewing for a job but didn't get it because their salary requirement was $200,000. The person doing the interview, who is rather high up in the company, told the job seeker straight out "I can't pay you $200,000. Even I don't make $200,000!"
I suppose I reacted to this story on a couple of levels: first of all, I found the frankness about salary amusing. But I also found it rather depressing that a person at that level in a company that size still doesn't make $200,000! I also thought, ooh, maybe I should try to get a job at the previous employer of the job-seeking person, since they obviously must pay well even if it's rumored to be a horrible place to work. It's kind of disheartening to know that you work in an industry where no one ever gets rich, and the people that come closer to it seem to be miserable!

15 comments:

T'Pol said...

I once was interviewed by a Board Member who told me to go talk to the General Managers of the two companies he was running and choose the one I wanted to work with. I talked to both GMs. I disliked the first one and the other's opening statement was "We cannot pay you that much" so, I called the BM to thank and decline his offer. I ended up being hired with the salary I wanted. Needless to say, it was a crazy place with a lot of office politics going on and I only worked there for a year.

Mrs. Micah said...

I know this is New York, but to me making $200,000 seems kind of high unless you're applying for a position just below the CEO. Also, it doesn't answer, say, whether the person in question was making $100k or $175k or even $185k.

marissa said...

I've turned down two jobs in the past two years for not meeting my salary requirements and just being generally weird companies. In hindsight, I'm really glad I didn't go to work for either of them.

Most memorable interview quote EVER, by the VP of company 1: "We're... working on morale."

While interviewing for company 2, my interviewers complained to me about the technical incompetence of other candidates for the position. Yikes!

Personal Finance Princess said...

Was this company in New York? I live in Texas and the CEO of my company only makes about $250k (this is a billion dollar company). I agree with Mrs. Micah that $200,000 seems pretty high for a base salary. Unless you are in investment banking or something....

Anonymous said...

To echo the previous comments, I don’t know of and can’t imagine anyone asking for or making $200K other than the highest level(s) in the company. And I work in publishing.

Ryan said...

I was turned down for asking for $40k base salary! People today are hiring but don't expect them to hand out decent salaries. The market/economy is in a weird state right now and the first place these companies are pinching pennies is new hires.

PT said...

While I've never heard or participated in salary talk. At my old job, I stumbled upon salary info for my department. The other managers were making 10k-20k more. That stank. It motivated me to look for other work so I could GET PAID too.

It pays to look around.

Kansas Simplicity said...

I overhear things like I need $X to live with my family and lifestyle. I am always amused and entertained by the higher the lifestyle requirements the higher the money required. While I am exposed to many $500K annual earners on a regular basis, I find the more money people earn, the less verbal they are about the amounts unless it is disclosed in the SEC documents which is always fun to look up. On a personal note, I am very cautious of sharing my earning information with....

English Major said...

Does anyone expect to make $200K and up in publishing? Really?

My (approximately same-level) coworkers and I talk pretty freely about salary, and one of the things we were chatting about the other day was this: when do you hit the big bump in publishing? Like, we know that we make $30,000-$36,000 (depending on how long we've been working), and we know that the full-blown editors we work with make in the neighborhood of $100,000, but we don't know where you hit a big bump. I got a title change this year, but it didn't come with anything more than a normal raise.

Melanie said...

My problem is more along the lines of new people being paid higher salaries. New employees in my company are being hired at about 2% more than what I am at right now -- and that is after my raise about 6 months ago, and having worked here for almost 2 years. The administration keeps saying they will bump those of us under the new hiring salary (there are about 4 of us) up to a bit above, but nothing has happened yet -- and we don't really think anything will.

To make things even sadder, I could quite my job and interview for the open one in my department, and get the higher salary while still doing the same thing -- except admin is "highly discouraging" this.

happydally said...

I'm a teacher so everyone on the planet knows my salary sucks. :)

Ginger said...

Here in DC I don't think its out of place to have someone make 200k given the plethora of government contractors. I know quite a few people here earning at 200k and above.

Question is, how long with that last...

frugal zeitgeist said...

Not directly related, but this story reminded me of something that happened a couple of years ago. I interviewed a young job applicant who wanted just slightly less than I (his potential boss) made. We were willing to meet his requirement if he was truly outstanding, but he wasn't. He had the potential to grow into what we were looking for, though, so I made him an offer based on what I thought he was worth. This figure happened to be below his stated minimum. When our recruiter called him with the offer, he flipped out, screamed at her, and accused us all of wasting his precious time by playing games with him.

I rescinded the offer immediately. I then spent the next month being bombarded with emails and phone calls (along with my senior management and our recruiter) from this guy demanding to know why we pulled the offer. The tone vacillated between fretful to hostile and vaguely threatening; clearly this junior applicant was stunned to be denied what he perceived was a shot at stardom when he was ready to - and these are his words - "take the team to the next level". I requested increased building security and had to get our general counsel to issue a cease and desist letter.

Quite a lesson learned on my part.

SandyVoice said...

Melanie, you know your bosses best, but you might want to go in and remind them about the raise. You can do it in a nice way; smile, but be firm. The most important thing is to speak as if it's already decided and agreed, and it's just a matter of getting it done. Suggest that this is the time to take care of it, and that if it needs to wait for the next quarter the raise should be retroactive. If your jobs and those of the new hires are the same, you should be getting more for seniority's sake. Show your bosses that you value yourself.

Chitown said...

Just to show once again that making more money can end end up costing you in other areas of your life.