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Asking, Bending and Shaping our Futures

Career negotiations are requests made by an individual to a counterpart that involves mutually beneficial problem solving, creative tradeoffs, or conflicts to be resolved. But this is just a bookish definition. Practically, it is more intense, complicated, and challenging. To give the fellows exposure to this topic, the second Negotiation session was highly looked forward to.

The session started with the Pulse Check where experiences of success, achieving small goals, working towards self-betterment and some painful stories of discrimination were shared. Deepanjali talked about valuing yourself every day just for 5 minutes can rejuvenate you and make your day better.

After catching up with everyone, Naaima talked about how “Failure is not always Fatal” through her love and passion for programming. She talked about her journey of evolving from a perfectionist to a work in progress and how less failure is directly proportional to less innovation because your mind is not challenged. Her presentation carried the beautiful and thought-provoking lesson that machines aren’t perfect so why are we aspiring to be so.

Uzma opened our eyes to the issue of garbage and large amounts of sheer waste found at the beaches. Hailing from Goa, beaches hold a special space in her heart, and seeing them dirty, motivated her to clean those beaches up. A group of three girls cleaning up the beach turned into an entire campaign that can turn into a solution for the marine waste problem. In the end, she said, “Team up to Clean Up” and we totally agreed with this.

Even though it was cloudy in most parts of India, Joan’s smile and enthusiasm made the day brighter with the early morning sun of America. House Minerva with their green attire and House Athena with their spark were looking forward to learning more about Career Negotiation and Shahana, the protagonist of the second caselet. Her story encapsulated the struggles and expectations women face in their careers. We got divided into breakout rooms to gain more perspective and to fill out part one of the Negotiation Case Analysis Worksheet.

Joan started the workshop by explaining that every Career Negotiation has three phases, the first phase includes the “Search” for the job where an individual constantly negotiates with the requirements of the job and one’s capabilities which creates room for self-doubt. The second phase is the “Offer” phase which talks about the conditions of an offer made to a candidate such as a salary, flexible timings, perks, etc. To our surprise, career negotiation doesn’t end with the Offer. Negotiation continues till the “Employment” phase i.e, negotiating actions and duties after getting the offer which includes being asked to perform duties not originally mentioned in the contract. The different categories one negotiates for in Career Negotiation include the Pay, the Role, and the Workload but regardless of the category, it is important to identify the ambiguities for a rewarding negotiation. These ambiguities belong to three areas. The first is the ambiguity of who the negotiators are and who are the right people to negotiate with, the second is the ambiguity of what is to be negotiated, and finally the ambiguity about how to negotiate. Joan mentioned that if there are a lot of ambiguities in a negotiation, women tend to get bad outcomes because of the fact that women should “think of others before themselves” and that ambiguities can breed biases. We were again put into breakout rooms to discuss the ambiguities Shanana faced and what she did or could have done to reduce the ambiguities.

After our prayer break, Joan explained that Career Negotiations are mainly of three types namely, asking, where individual requests for standard opportunities and rewards and explains why the request fits with the existing norms. The next is bending which is an attempt to create exceptional personal arrangements, where an individual explains why the deviation from the norm is justified in the particular case. Finally, we have shaping, which is a proposal to create novel organizational practices. She also taught us the importance of making our pitch for negotiation in such a manner that appeals as a “win-win” for the negotiation counterpart.

After such an enriching and knowledgeable session, the fellows are looking forward to their next negotiation. Joan received what she truly deserves, our love, in the form of hearts flooded on the screen with big and warm smiles.

Author: Zuha Khan is a Led By Fellow. She is a recent Computer Science graduate from Aligarh Muslim University.

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