The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, December 30, 2003  

About Unemployment and, Hopefully, Employment

Two questions for which I haven’t the answers are preoccupying me at the moment. I’m hoping readers might be able to help me.

First, why do so many employers ask the applicant to specify his salary requirement in his first contact with the company?

Based on my past experience as a manager, I assume every employer has a budget line for each new hire, one outside of which it would prove difficult to move. If so, why not share that information with applicants, thereby saving everyone much time and effort?

Second, how does an applicant convince potential employers that he has “traded down” with respect to his next position?

For me this intention wasn’t so difficult last time around, even though I took a 66 percent reduction in compensation, largely because there was a physical move from New York to Philadelphia -- by which I do not mean to imply that the cost of living here is that much less than in New York, because it’s not -- and the assignment required only several hours a day to complete.

But now, with yet another reduction in my sights, this one of 40 to 50 percent from my latest job, it’s getting a little difficult to convince hiring officials I won’t run at the next opportunity. I would be embarrassed to share with you the names of companies that already have turned me down.

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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