Early career psychology
For early career
to negotiate is a key skill.
By Rebecca A. Clay
David A. Washburn, PhD, earned his psychology doctorate at Georgia State University in 1991, stayed on for a postdoc and then secured a full-time research
position there. But what he really wanted was to teach. When a
faculty position opened up in 2000, he was extremely eager to
get the job.
“When I negotiated with the chair, it was almost like, ‘How
much do I need to pay you?’ because I really wanted to be
there,” laughs Washburn. “I was so pleased when they offered
me a job and so glad to have a faculty position, that the chair
could have said, ‘Your job will be painting the department,’ and
I would have said, ‘OK, what color do you want?’”
Of course, that kind of attitude doesn’t result in effective
negotiation. In fact, Washburn was so enthusiastic about just
getting the job that he didn’t think about asking for enough
start-up funds for his research and a year later had to ask his
chair for what he needed. “You’re in a much less favorable
position to ask for start-up resources after you’ve agreed to
come,” he says.
Since then, Washburn has become a full professor and
chaired the department himself from 2006 to 2010. After
negotiating with nearly two dozen potential faculty members