That headline is not a typo.
There are lots of books out there intended to help women negotiate with men, by being like men or at least understanding them.
But some nonzero number of men out there could use advice on negotiating with women. I can help.
As I wrote in Bullish Life: Towards A Monstrous Regiment of Women, women now control a few industries, and plenty of (mostly small and medium) companies, and countless departments and small pockets of larger companies. If you wanted to for some reason, you could make an entire career out of dealing only with women.
Women probably don’t dominate the board of directors at your company, but most people don’t report to the board of directors. Most people report to a middle manager.
Whether it’s a man with a female boss, or a man who doesn’t understand why his female peers or subordinates don’t seem to like him (just because we didn’t publicly call you out or punch you doesn’t mean we didn’t want to!), I think men bumping into gender issues is probably now a thing.
Even if you’re a man and all the women in your company are in subordinate positions, I still think that if half the office secretly hates you, you’re a bad leader.
Feel free to send a link to this article to dudes. Here goes.
A brief anecdote about exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about
When I was running an internet marketing firm around 2002, I met with a duo of male entrepreneurs for the purpose of founding a joint project – a portal for the boating industry, henceforth to be called WebBoats.
The idea was that my company would make the website, and these guys – being pretty big in the boating industry – would sell advertising on the site. It kind of seemed like I’d be doing most of the work.
They began the meeting: “We’d like you to make the website and do this list of six other things. We think you should own 25% of the company.”
I said, “Well, that’s not going to work for me. But there are a lot of ways we could play this. Right now, you’re asking me to do 75% of the work, so, in that case, I would want 75% of the company. Or, if you only want me to do 25% of the work, then I’ll own 25% of the company. I’m flexible. There are variety of fair arrangements we could make.”
They said, somewhat sheepishly: “Well, we had to try!”
As in, “Our testicles would have shrunk if we didn’t try to cheat you into being our virtual slave! Now let’s be friends!”
We did not continue to be friends. The project fizzled. I’m not some boy you can beat up on the playground and then continue to be emotionally-repressed friends with, kind of like in Bachelor Party II (I didn’t see the movie; I’m just assuming). I don’t work that way. If you try to cheat me, you have irreparably damaged our relationship.
That was ten years ago. In more recent years, I was working for a large company, billing $x an hour. The guy who managed the budget emailed me – I had just billed 46 hours in a single week. How many more hours would I be billing? Could I cut that down? That’s really kind of a lot of hours.