DiscoverScreaming in the CloudThe Importance of Positivity in Negotiations with Josh Doody
The Importance of Positivity in Negotiations with Josh Doody

The Importance of Positivity in Negotiations with Josh Doody

Update: 2023-08-15


Josh Doody, Owner of Fearless Salary Negotiation, joins Corey on Screaming in the Cloud to discuss how important tonality and communication is, both in salary negotiations and everyday life. Josh describes how important it is to have a positive padding to your communications in order to make the person on the other end of the negotiation feel like a collaborator rather than a combatant. Corey and Josh also describe scenarios where tonality made a huge difference in the outcome, and Josh gives some examples of where and when to be mindful of how you’re coming across in modern communication methods. Josh also reveals how negotiating with companies multiple times allows him to understand their recruiters more than a person who is encountering their negotiation process for the first time.

About Josh

Josh is a salary negotiation coach who works with senior software engineers and engineering managers to negotiate job offers with big tech companies. He also wrote Fearless Salary Negotiation: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Paid What You're Worth, and recently launched Salary Negotiation Mastery to help folks who aren't able to work with Josh 1-on-1.

Links Referenced:


Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.

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Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I’m Corey Quinn. I’m joined by recurring guest and friend Josh Doody, who among oh, so many things, is the owner of, and basically does exactly what it says on the tin. Josh, great to talk to you again.

Josh: Hey, Corey. Thanks for having me back. I appreciate it and I’m glad to be here.

Corey: So, you are, for those who have not heard me evangelize what you do—which is fine. No one listens to all of the backlog of episodes and whatnot—you are a salary negotiation coach, and you emphasize working with high earners who are negotiating new job offers, which is basically awesome. How did you stumble into this?

Josh: Yeah, a good question. Really, it started as what I would say is a series of interesting career choices that I made, where I started as an engineer. I was pretty quickly bored in engineering and I switched to—I wanted to be customer-facing and do stuff that had impact on the business, so I did that and ended up working for a software company that made HR software that happened to do among other things, compensation planning. And so, I kind of started learning how it worked behind the scenes.

And then over time, I started wising up and negotiating my own job offers. And noticed that wow that kind of worked pretty well, and I decided to write a book about it, a hundred percent just because I like to write stuff. I’ve been writing for 20 years on the internet, and I decided, why not just write a book about this? You know, five or six people will buy it, my mom will love it, I’ll get it out there and it’ll feel really good.

And then people started reading the book and asking me if they could hire me to do the methodology in the book for them. And I said, “Sure.”

Corey: When people try to give you money, say yes.

Josh: Yeah. Okay, you know, whatever, you know? My first person that ever hired me asked me what my rate was, and I didn’t have a rate because I had never considered doing that before. But she was a freelance writer and I said, “Well, whatever your rate is, that’s my rate.” [laugh]. So, that was my first rate that I charged someone.

And yeah, from there just, it took off as more people started hiring me. A number of friends were chirping in my ear that hey, you know, this seems like a really valuable thing that you’re doing and people are coming out of the woodwork to ask you to do it for them. Maybe you should do that thing instead of the other things you’re doing and trying to sell copies of the book and stuff like that. Like, why don’t you just be a salary negotiation coach? That was, I don’t know, like, seven years ago now, and here I am.

Corey: I don’t know if I ever told you this, but back when we met in the fall of 2016, I was trying to figure out what windmill I was going to tilt at before I stumbled upon the idea of AWS billing as being one of them. I thought that writing a book and being a sort of a coach of sorts on how to do job interviews with an emphasis, of course, on salary negotiation, would be a great topic for me because I’ve done it an awful lot. This is a byproduct of getting fired all the time because of my mouth. And then I started talking to you and my reaction was, “Oh, Josh is way better at this than I am. No, I’m going to go find something else instead.”

And now the world is what it is, and honestly, at this point, all the cloud providers really wish you hadn’t been there at that point in time because then they wouldn’t have to deal with the nonsense that I present to them now. But I always had a high opinion of what you do, just because it is in such a sweet spot where if I were to shut this place down and get a quote-unquote, “Real job” somewhere, I would hire you. And it’s not that I intellectually don’t know how to negotiate. Half my consulting now is negotiating large AWS contracts on behalf of AWS customers with AWS. A lot of these things tend to apply and go very hand-in-glove.

But there’s something to be said for having someone who sees this all the time in a consistent ongoing basis, who is able to be dispassionate. Because when you’re coaching someone, it’s not you in the same boat. For you, it’s okay, you want to have a happy customer, obviously, but for your client, it’s suddenly, wow, this is the next stage of my career. This matters. The stakes are infinitely higher for them than they are for you.

And that means you have the luxury of taking a step back and recognizing a bad deal when you see one. There is such value to that I can’t imagine not engaging you or someone like you the next time that I would go about changing jobs. Although these days, it’s probably an acquisition or I finally succumb to a cease and desist. I don’t really know that I’m employable anymore.

Josh: [laugh]. Yeah, I mean, you said a lot of really interesting things there. I think a common theme—you know, to work with me, there’s a short application that people fill out, and very frequently in the application, there are a couple of open-ended questions about you know, how can I help you? What’s your number one concern? That kind of stuff.

And frequently, they’ll say, “Yeah, I’ve negotiated before and I actually did okay, but I want to work with a professional this time,” is the gist of it, for I think reasons that you mentioned. And one of them is, there’s just a difference between negotiating for yourself and feeling all of that pressure and having somebody who can just objectively look at it and say, “No, I think you should ask for this instead.” Or, “No, I don’t think that you should give that information to the recruiter.” And the person instead of feeling, you know, personal subjective pressure can just say, “Well, the objective person that I hired and paid money to help me with this says, ‘don’t do that,’ or ‘do this instead,’ and it’s easier for me to just trust what they’re doing as a professional and let me be a professional at the other things that I’m a professional at.”

And so yeah, I think that’s a lot of—you know, for some people, it’s, “I have no idea how to negotiate. I don’t want to screw this up. Please help me, Josh.” And for some people, it’s, “Yeah, I’ve done this before. I did, okay, but I want you here to help me do this.”

And that includes people who come back and work with me two or three times. They know the methodology. They’ve been through it literally with me, and I’m very open about what we’re doing and why I’m collaborative with my clients. We’re talking about

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The Importance of Positivity in Negotiations with Josh Doody

The Importance of Positivity in Negotiations with Josh Doody

Corey Quinn