Absent Proxy

You've found a good thing and the good thing knows it. Say it's a job you really fit well. The employer knows you want this good job and will use it to bargain you down: "Well Bill, you fit this job like a glove. You'll be really happy here and you'll build excellent skills. And of course you can telecommute most of the time and our premises are on the beach. And you'll get to work with these great guys you really like ... so since we're giving you all that, you understand we can't offer you top dollar on the salary ..."

Often the negotiation is framed so that if you declined you'd appear unprofessional, insincere, or disrespectful. You just want the job and you just want to be paid what you're worth,


It's not you they have to satisfy. It's your mentor/parent/spouse. Very unreasonable this AbsentProxy is, all they want is money, and they absolutely can't be reached for a direct negotiation. Of course you recognize the job is all the employer says it is, and you really love the employer, and you're really sincere in what you're saying, but that ol' AbsentProxy just won't be satisfied unless you're well paid too.

If they still won't budge on the dough try to AlterTheOffer.

Wow. That's so simple. Sure, it's a little crafty ... but the ironic part is that most of us do have others that are involved. Others that truthfully fit the role of AbsentProxy. My AbsentProxy is affected by these decisions and they do have opinions about them. This approach makes it less about you and more about your family (or whatever). Of course, it isn't lost on me that they aren't greedy for low-balling us, but we're greedy and unreasonable for trying to bargain up. -- EricHerman

EvelynWaugh? gives a great example of this in one of his books. I'll have to dig the ISBN out. But AbsentProxy is a technique with almost unlimited variations and unlike the case that Waugh portrays (where the elderly partner being cited as the ruthless vetoer of all proposed deals is in fact an old softie who wouldn't dream of getting involved), it's possible to stay within the limits of truth and yet have a lot of fun with this one. -- RichardDrake

In my case, my AbsentProxy is not a person, but my huge StudentDebt?. -- RobHarwood

Certainly an AbsentProxy need not be a person, an external can be very useful, especially if the person making the offer also feels it. In the UK House prices in the London/south of the country are two-to-three times those of homes in the north and this makes a great AbsentProxy. -- MartinSpamer

While you may use an AbsentProxy (your wife, your financial situations, etc.), so might the other party. Auto dealers have finance managers, companies have HR departments, all whom must approve deals. And in many cases, the AbsentProxy at a business is real and has real veto power.

If someone uses an AbsentProxy against you ("I'll have to run this by HR" or "Let me run this past the finance manager", followed by "the boss says no"), several tactics you can use:

This is also a special case of what I call the TheMoreConfidentWins pattern: The party that is more confident in a negotiation wins. It is independent whether this confidence comes from boldness, determination, lies, an AbsentProxy better (safer) position, force or else. In the end if I believe that the other will not let down I will cede.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership has specific AbsentProxy countermeasures built into their junket contract. If you're married, you must bring your spouse along and they must be present during sales negotiations.
[Part of the NegotiatingPatternLanguage]

See FalseConspiracy, RoyalWe.


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