Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Negotiation, Schmegotiation

The title of this post could also be, "You're better off taking care of yourself." I saw these words framed by my sister's bed recently, and learned that she had discovered them stuck between the pages of a book she inherited from our Aunt Eunice, who passed away recently. With the inherent tendency for humans to look out for themselves, to shelter their bodies, material assets, loved ones, and egos from life's harsh assaults, why is it sometimes so difficult to do what is best for oneself (and to admit to doing it)?

Starting today, I find myself embroiled in the thorny process of contract negotiations. I am not a confrontational person, though I am an introspective one, and the combination of these two attributes has brought me to formulate excellent points and rational conclusions in my mind. Yet somehow, this is as far as they get. Intuition and reason tell me it is time to make a change in my career and lifestyle, but somewhere between my head and my voice, a muddling occurs that throws all my legitimacy to the wind. I am left now with 14 days to put a pen to paper or not, a decision which appears simple but is decidely complex.

In pre-negotiation talks, I was articulate - diplomatic almost to a fault. The discussion was rich with understanding nods, supportive words, encouraging gestures, and mutual respect. For personal, professional, and physical reasons, I explained, it is time for me to make a transition. However, as negotiations turn serious, all sympathy has been withdrawn along with arms that now fold tightly across chests. The distance widens between myself and those seated across a chasm of a conference room table. The ball is in the corporation's court, I am told, and any boat-rocking I intend to do is ill-advised.

Yet is escaping the disappointment of others enough to justify abandoning yourself?