Negotiating a better deal – How the donkey got more than it’s due

The blokes who use offer letters as an instrument for negotiating a better deal (and get it) are more sinned against than sinning.

Wait. Hold your horses. Do not curse me yet. I haven’t switched sides. I am still firmly with the fraternity of failed fools. For life.

You would have heaved a sigh of relief when you heard it first. That the colleague who was your competitor has put in her papers. As the days pass by and no further gossip trickles in, you prepare for the farewell. And your own little party at home to celebrate the occasion. Then the email-bomb hits you.

That the deserter has been made VP this or GM that. The grapevine further adds to your misery. That she also got a substantial hike and a cabin with a coffee-maker.

“Blackmailer”, you spit, resigned to your fate (because you cannot resign your job)

I used to be in that corner for a long time. Now I bow to the ingenuity of the cabin usurpers and cheer their achievements. Hoping one day I could emulate them.

And here is the story that changed my perspective.


After having her back-broken (Please
refer to 7 Ps of power – Enlightenment…, it’s a tad bit long, so read it at your own risk), the poor overworked donkey (POD) took a while to revert to her previous condition. The wise owl (WOW) took pity on it and advised her thus.

WOW: Don’t show your eagerness to multi-task. Don’t rush to finish your job ahead of schedule. Since you do not have a say on the quantum or quality of load that’s put on you, bear it; but take your time. Don’t be a slave to conscience.

POD: As you say, my friend. Will do all I can, to get out of this misery.

Months passed and the donkey did its daily chores, in a leisurely manner. And in the night time, where it earlier ploughed through the forage and thinking of the day ahead; it started taking lessons in prancing like a horse, standing with its forelegs in air like the dog and other such wise tricks. The WOW, having taken the ass under its wings, noted with satisfaction the progress of its protégé.

Meanwhile the master’s work-life balance was getting effected. He was reaching the lake late and getting home much after the sunset. Business was increasing as there was more dirty linen and laundry to be washed, but he was not able to make most of it. He realized this and did few quick calculations, for he was good in numbers if not in employee-employer relationships. He noted that the only way to deliver more door to door and also reach home on time is to get rid of this donkey and get 2 donkeys in its place.

He told the same to his wife, got the broad’s approval to sell this one and get two on board in the upcoming town fair. The day has come and pocketing good number of gold coins (for two healthy donkeys are likely to cost thrice as much as a lazy ass) the master set about to the town fair to offload the current quarry.

He met an ass broker there whose famed motto was “Right Ass on Right Seat” and left the donkey in his able hands and went about to pick up few trinkets for home before the auction of the asses began.

Knock. Knock.

The washer-man’s wife opened the door and let the travel-weary guy in. Taking the bag of goodies from his hand she enquired about the day’s proceedings.

Weary washer-man’s wife (WWW): What happened? Struck a good deal? You seem so smug, my dear!

Smug Washer-man(SW): You bet. The broker is one of the best ass-kicking salesman (AKS) I have ever seen. He paraded our ass and extolling its virtues started the auction with 1 gold coin. 2 immediately called out someone!

WWW: Not bad for an ass that has been slow and past it’s prime

SW: It was just the beginning. Our ass stood on its hind-legs and the auctioneers started whistling. 5 gold coins someone said; 10 another shouted.

WWW: Oh, don’t tell me you got 10 gold coins for that dumbass. My king, my hero!

SW: Wait there’s more! It then started strutting like a stud and the assembly went wild. 15, 20, 25…. Excited and agitated voices rented the place, with people falling over each other to make it their own.

WWW (Swooning): Hold on, I am about to faint. 25 gold coins…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


A familiar and happy sounding animal cry pierced the WWW’s ears.

WWW (bewildered and apprehensive): What’s that?

SW (doubly smugly): It’s our very own ass! I ran onto the stage and stopped the auction. Paid 35 gold coins to the AKS to buy back the same. You don’t believe to what high heavens everyone praised me and congratulated me on such a steal and being a proud owner of a prized ass….

Hey, you have fainted! I too did nearly, knowing what an ass I was to be, letting go of such a worthy being!


You may still be scratching your head wondering “what’s the point”? Here is the thing.

What matters is not what you do and how well you do it or how eager you are to do more. That’s not how your valuation is done. People have more faith in what price others put on you. Period.

So don’t grudge the blokes who show you the path.

Focus on form than on substance. Learn a few tricks that you are not expected to possess. Put yourself in some good consultant/image-maker/spin-doctor’s hands to work on your profile. Get around, get a few offers. Know what you are worth in the market.

And let your organization realize your true value.

Help them. To help yourself.


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Bharat Vohra says:

    Arun… This is an excellent message for all guys like us… so that we can become WOW 🙂


    Hey Arun,

    This is by far your best article I have come across…
    absolute truth…

    If you want to know how priceless you are to your organisation….Just throw in your papers:)

    Keep the good work going…It is such a pleasure to read your articles.

    You should compile all of this into a nice book, soon.

  3. Sumita says:

    Good negotiation strategy to get best deal.

    Understanding self worth and make other realized too.

    We have lots of activities in organization – appraisals, employee engagement, salary revision and other HR/Management stuffs.

    If an organization has all the above HR / management activities implemented, whether, still we require negotiating? Should organization encourage it?

    An organization by encouraging the negotiation is creating fear, in security and de motivations among other who are just giving their best in return to what they earn.

  4. Anupama says:

    Congrats Arun! Insightful post as usual. The resignation drama always works but I’ve noticed that after sometime the guys who’ve used it start job searching again. The trick cannot be used again and all the colleagues are busy back-biting so it is a miserable time for them. Give us more gyaan on how to sustain the act 🙂

  5. vivek miranda says:

    Congrats Arun

    on completing 365 days of wonderful insight. I always feel if you compile this stuff into a book it will be a national best seller.
    my understanding on negotiating a better deal

    only once u put in your papers the management realises your real worth and agrees to match the compensation offered.

    Good posting


  6. Sangeeta says:

    Hi! Arun, very interesting and intriguing read, but I was wondering from an entrepeneur’s perspective, it is he who is the donkey more often than not… how does he increase his worth in front og his employees?

  7. M P Shyni says:

    Arun, ‘m not a “POD” but agree dt i can relate maslf 2 WOW…… Just w8in 4 d rt time 2 have a Look in2 My Market Value…!!!!!!

    Nw if I try dn will bcm Jobless (as alrdy mentioned by Hareesh…!)

    As always an Enlightening Article… 🙂

  8. jayraj says:

    Been reading your posts since the last month pretty regularly.
    Its a wonderful way to putting day to day stuff that happens in organisations the world over in such a creative manner.
    Really appreciate your insight and the way it is conveyed every time.
    Simply Amazing.

  9. Vidushi Gupta says:

    Hey Arun,

    I was actually scratching my head till the end…thinking…what kind of versatile writer you are…was just should write some National Bestseller..:)

    Congratulations again…

    I really fail in this…and probably..its high time i should get in touch with some good consultant..i need to help myself..(don’t know if i’ll be able to help them)!!

    Thses days my condition is more like that of your POD…!!..(In Hindi..its said very often..’Ghar ki Murgi..Daal Barabar’)..this is what happening right now..!!

    Thank you for such an eye opening material again…to which at times…we know..but just don’t care..overlook this truth…

    Wil wait for your next blog now…

  10. Jyoti Navel says:

    Congrats Mr Arun for completing one successful year…..very true… should realize their own value as said by Shirin.

    We often forget our value in front of our needs and when we realize sometimes its too late……..this blog must have definately made some people think the other way round 🙂

    Eagerly waiting for your next such interesting blog….:)

    Keep going on……

    Best Regards


  11. Hareesh Bhargavan says:

    Congratulations Arun for completing one full trip around the Sun. I am master at standing on hind legs, but beauty is when someother Donkey does it.

    When I do pranks I am wasting time
    When others do it they’r being funny

    When I speak sense people disagree
    When others speak nonsense people agree

    When others resign they get a raise
    When I resign I become jobless

  12. RLS says:

    Hey Arun

    That was “Ass good ass it” gets. Congratulations on completing 365 days on blog sphere.

    Are there any OWLS around? And WHOO r they? 🙂


  13. Lavender says:


    True to life. The offer letter – resignation Blackmail will go on as long as we live in the world of needs…..Reality bites

    Nice way to narrate a very nasty phenomena


  14. Shirin Ara says:

    Hey Arun,

    Would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate you on the occassion of one year completion of this wonderful work called “Scatterbrained Scribblings”…

    The Pre Srcipt in your mail was so modestly n plainly written, that m sure most of the readers would have missed it..

    Good Work!!! N Keep going!!!

    Congrats once again 🙂 And i wish you Success…May you continue enlightening and awakening more souls for many more years 🙂

    Best Regards,

    Shirin Ara 🙂

  15. Meenal says:

    Interesting…..Now i understand why people who resign get a better deal and then choose to stay in the same company….

  16. Good one Arun; The company I worked in the early part of the career;(good 20 years back) this was the philosophy. We call it RRGP.

    REST RESIGNATION GAIN PROGRESS; So the concept goes back in time.
    A couple of my good friends did that made
    significant progress much to others chagrin.

    Yes, you should be smart enough to Resign at the first instant to gain progress; else crib and be a frog in the well.

    Keep flowing.

  17. Shirin Ara says:

    hmmm…A very nice article..infact very interesting..Knowing your value – a very important thing required to create your value.And the end beneficiary is “U” urself…

    Good Writing Arun!!! Keep it up!!


    Shirin Ara

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