Monday, April 3, 2006


For those of you that don’t know what this is, I can explain it to you in the only format I know of it: Major League Baseball. Once a player has been in the Majors a certain amount of time (three years, I think) and his options are out (can’t be sent to the minors again), he can file for arbitration. It means that, for the three years until he can become a free agent, the team he’s on has control over him. He can, however, file for arbitration.

It’s going to court, basically. In front of three independent arbiters, the team makes its case and the player makes his. The player files for the amount he thinks he deserves (let’s say 3.2 million) and the team files its amount (let’s say 2.75 million). Unless they can find a middle ground on their own, the case goes to the arbiters. Teams don’t like to do it because you have to talk crap about your own player. You have to show the arbiters what sucks about the player that he deserves to make the lower salary and not the higher one. Same deal on the players side. You talk up the positives, make comparisons to players that are similar statistically who make that much money, and so on.

I’m super interested in it because it sounds like a great process. Convince these neutral parties and whoever wins gets the amount they filed for. Another negative thing about going through the process is that you can no longer settle for a middle ground. They pick one of the amounts. A lot of the time, teams and players split the difference at the last minute to avoid the nasty process of sitting there and degrading the player.

But sometimes they do it.

I think the process should exist in the workplace. More specifically, where I work. I think it’s a great, fair process. You go in, well prepared, ready to discuss what makes you more valuable and so on. Granted, you won’t like what they have to say (here I’m thinking of stuff like “takes personal calls on company time, spends too much time on email, takes company property home,” etc. etc.). They might not know these things about you now, but if they were going to arbitration you bet your ass they would dig that shit up. Money is on the line.

Why am I so much in favor of it right now? I know I could win my case easily. No doubt about it.

But that’s just me.

My case:

- I’m the only bilingual person working on the Spanish catalog.
- I have a masters degree in writing (for when I do copywriting).
- I’m, by their own repeated admissions, one of the fastest workers (for stuff like this it gets sketchy because they can counter with “We didn’t mean that, it was just to keep him motivated”—which is crap, I’m lightning).
- I’m severely underpaid as it is, and have been since I’ve been here.
- I could get a higher-paying job somewhere else in a matter of seconds (and yes, I know, here the answer is “Well why don’t you?” and maybe I will so just shut up and try to follow along on my arbitration fantasy).
- If I left tomorrow, they would be in DEEP shit. Stinky, stanky, runny shit.
- I’m awesome.

Didn’t I mention I can’t lose?


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