Cementing the Deal for the Ideal Job
The phone rings. It’s the call you’ve been waiting for. "We want to
offer you a position," says the voice on the other end of the line.
You breathe a sigh of relief. The hard work of job searching is over.
You’ve finally gotten the job you wanted.
But the work isn’t really over, it’s just begun, says career counselor
Jim Borland, a senior vice president with the Five O’Clock Club, an
organization designed to help people negotiate the job search process.
Whether you are just out of college and applying for your very first
position, or are an executive with years of experience, now that you
have the offer, you have to navigate the process from the offer
through the salary and benefits negotiations to a written contract.
Borland will discuss "Cementing the Deal" at the next meeting of the
St. Paul’s Networking Group, Saturday, January 19, at 8:30 a.m. at St.
Paul’s Catholic Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton. For more
information about this free event, contact Steve McCarthy at
Borland has been with the Five O’Clock Club since 1994, and first
joined as a member during one of his own career transitions. He began
his career as a social worker and spent a number of years as director
of social work at the United States Public Health Service Hospital on
Staten Island. He then became national director of professional
services for the 37-unit Bureau of Medical Services until the closure
of the system in 1981.
"President Reagan fired me," he says, referring to the massive changes
and layoffs in the public health services at the time. He decided to
change directions to help people in the area of career counseling. "It
was learning by doing. I figured I’d spent a lot of time looking for
jobs myself," he says.
Borland holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, a master’s
from Penn and a Ph.D. from Rutgers. He is a certified social worker in
New York State, and a board certified diplomat in clinical social
He has been a senior vice president of Goodrich & Sherwood Associates
Inc., where he was responsible for client relationships and executive
outplacement, as well as a senior vice president for Drake Beam Morin.
At the Five O’Clock Club he manages the Manhattan central club and
counsels at the main club. He also maintains a private consulting
practice in Manhattan and Staten Island. He has consulted on
organizational change issues with the U.S. Department of Energy and
with International Paper, and is an adjunct associate professor in the
graduate management program of Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.
Negotiate the Job. The first step in closing the deal and in
negotiating the salary, says Borland, is to help your potential
employer to define the job and to convince him or her that you are the
best person for that position. While that might sound obvious, it can
be tricky, particularly if you have been highly paid in your previous
positions. He suggests that one way to increase a salary offer is to
make the job bigger.
As an example, he mentions a client he recently worked with whose
previous position had been as both vice president of purchasing and
facilities manager. "He was having trouble finding a position that
paid the same amount of money that he had been making before," says
Borland. While discussing a position in purchasing with a company, he
also learned that the facilities manager would be retiring within a
few months. He suggested that during the interim, he could train with
the current facilities manager. His final written offer included a
clause that within six months he would be made a senior vice president
and would take over the facilities management position also.
The deal was made because the man asked questions of the potential
employer and found out all that he could about the company, says
Overcome the Competition. "Never assume you are the only person the
potential employer is talking to," says Borland. It’s extremely rare
to be the only candidate for a position. Study the hiring requirements
that have been listed, then decide how your own unique skills can meet
those requirements better than anyone else’s.
Borland mentioned a labor negotiator who was applying for a position
at a large teaching hospital. The other candidates for the position
were all labor lawyers, and the person in charge of the department was
also a lawyer. "He came to the Five O’Clock Club and said, `I haven’t
got a chance. A lawyer is always going to hire another lawyer.’" The
club members suggested that he come up with several reasons why
someone who was not a lawyer should be chosen for the position.
He got the job.
"That’s one of the things that the Five O’Clock Club does. It’s a
chance to brainstorm and meet with other people from a variety of
backgrounds, says Borland.
The club is designed to train its members to manage their careers,
while always looking ahead to their next job search. Research shows
that an average worker spends only four years in a job, and will hold
12 jobs in as many as five career fields over his or her lifetime.
Get the Offer. A verbal offer does not count, it must be in writing,
and include all the details, cautions Borland. "You might get a phone
call from a potential employer saying, `We have a really exciting job
opportunity we want to offer you,’ but until it is in writing you
can’t count on it."
He mentioned a client who negotiated a job at a major university at
about the time his son was entering law school. Although the
university didn’t usually include free tuition for the law school in
its employee benefits, the man negotiated the tuition in the deal.
When the contract came in the mail, however, the tuition offer wasn’t
"He was furious. He was sure that he’d been led on," said Borland.
Instead, it turned out to be just an error. "The clerk who sent the
papers just sent that standard contract and didn’t pay attention to
the changes that had been made," he explains.
The moral: If you’ve been promised something verbally don’t "fly off
the handle" if the paperwork isn’t correct, says Borland. Instead,
just go back and make sure that everyone is on the same page. To make
it work, he adds, you must do the research. What is the average pay
for your years of experience? What is the differential for the same
job in different areas of the country?
Negotiate the Salary. Negotiating the money is the final step in
closing the deal, says Borland. Don’t negotiate the money until all
the other benefits or details of the contract have been worked out.
"Maybe you want them to supply you with a laptop or a Blackberry. Get
that in writing first. Then when you have everything to your
satisfaction, you slip in, `There’s just one other small thing that
concerns me. I know the standard pay for this job is higher than the
amount you are offering,’ In almost every case, the company is
prepared to come up with more money."
But what if they are not? That’s when you have to make a decision.
And, of course, it is always best to negotiate from a position of
strength, not one of desperation. Borland recommends that a person
should "always try to have six to 10 things in the works. That way if
one job doesn’t work out you know that you have other opportunities
It’s also important to know how much the average pay for your job is.
Do the research, he says, the most important part of closing the deal
is to know what you are worth.
-Karen Hodges Miller
Monday, January 21
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Home
`Caveat emptor" (Latin for "let the buyer beware") is an age-old
warning to consumers to be especially vigilant prior to purchasing
goods or services. But those contemplating nursing home care for a
loved one – whether considering not-for-profit or for-profit
facilities – would be best advised to be doubly heedful in taking its
"There are a lot of tragic errors that occur in nursing homes," says
David Cohen, an attorney with Stark & Stark who specializes in nursing
home negligence and abuse claims. "Of course there are many good
nursing homes out there, but the biggest problem we see in the bad
ones is that management puts profits over people by under-funding the
facilities and preventing the staff from delivering quality care to
Cohen will head a seminar on developments in nursing home and assisted
living litigation, on Monday, January 21, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at
the Double Tree Guest Suites Hotel, 515 Fellowship Road North, Mount
Laurel. Cost: $189. The seminar is primarily intended for lawyers who
handle issues involving nursing homes and assisted living facilities,
as well as facility administrators, and health care professionals. For
more information or to register, visit www.njicle.com.
According to Cohen, who serves as vice chair for the American
Association for Justice’s Nursing Home Litigation Group, putting
profits over people is the cardinal offense from which a variety of
potentially devastating problems emerge. "The job, from an ethical
point of view from anyone operating and owning a nursing home is to
provide quality care," says Cohen. "There is a very detailed set of
regulations, statewide and nationally, that tell nursing home
operators exactly how to do it. If they can’t figure out how to comply
with those regulations from a financial point of view then they
shouldn’t be in the business."
Most frontline nursing home workers – licensed practical nurses and
registered nurses – are trying their best to deliver good care,
according to Cohen. "We recently had a deposition involving an
assisted living facility where a nurse’s aid would come to work and
cry every single day because there wasn’t enough staff to provide good
care for her patients," he says. "She had repeatedly gone to
management and told them that they needed more help but she was told
that it is just not in the budget. That is a classic example of how a
corporate home office can ultimately do damage to a poor old person at
a facility maybe hundreds of miles away."
One of the most frequent injuries that occur to residents of bad
nursing homes is decubitus ulcers (or pressure sores). "In some
nursing homes today people are often left lying in one position for
long periods of time because there is not sufficient staffing in the
facilities for people to reposition them," says Cohen. "When most
people sleep at night they probably roll over 500 times without even
realizing it. But people who are immobile need someone to reposition
them and the standard is at least every two hours."
Malnutrition and dehydration is another major problem commonly found
in bad nursing homes. ""When you have a folks who develop dementia and
are physically frail at the same time, you can’t just put food in
front of them and expect them to eat their whole meal," explains
Cohen. "They need a little help, patience, time and attention. And if
they don’t get it people very often in nursing homes starve to death
while their family members pay $6,000 a month for the privilege of
watching their grandmother die of starvation or dehydration. But it is
the same thing, if you have enough staff and you properly train them
that shouldn’t happen."
Hip injuries are another major problem. New Jersey recently passed a
patient safe handling act that is partly due to the fact that the
second most significant injury in nursing homes is fractured hips.
"I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics that say that when an older
person breaks their hip they generally don’t live too long, says
Cohen. "This often stems from the problem of understaffing because
when a worker is trying to transfer a patient – from the chair to
their room, or a wheelchair back to the bed – and the person is
somewhat larger, what is known as a `two-person assist,’ problems can
But while the rules may state that two people are needed to move a
patient, sometimes there is simply not enough staff to do this. "If
the nurse has no help because everyone else is busy, he or she
sometimes makes the tragic decision to go it alone. This is a very
common occurrence and what happens is they often drop the person, who
either suffers a lot or suffers and dies," says Cohen.
A common misconception many consumers share is that not-for-profit
nursing homes are thought to be better than those that run on a
for-profit basis. But Cohen says that even those calling themselves
not-for-profit basis often have a corporation lurking in the distance
that controls the purse strings. "There are a lot of very large
corporations that hide behind other shell corporations to avoid
liability and accountability for misconduct," he says. "A lot of these
nursing home facilities will funnel all the money out of the local
facility up to the corporate office. Then the corporate office will
take the legal position that they have nothing to do with the nursing
For attorneys representing victims of nursing home neglect and abuse,
finding out just who is controlling the purse strings is vital. "The
attorney prosecuting a case like this has to figure out who is really
responsible for what happened," says Cohen. "It is a huge mistake when
attorneys believe that only the local facility is responsible."
Cohen offers a case in point. "Recently one of our clients died in a
nursing home who shouldn’t have died," he says. "He died with a huge
hole in his body, a decubitus ulcer. I had a defense attorney telling
me that there was no money to settle the case. This was a publicly
traded company that runs the nursing home, worth a billion dollars or
so. What they are trying to do is distance themselves from what
happened at that facility and my job is to show that they really play
a role in what happens at the local level. When I hear them cry
poverty, the first thing I do is look for the home office."
Cohen was born and raised in Matawan, where his father worked as an
engineer and his mother was a homemaker. After spending one year at
the University of Delaware, he transferred to George Washington
University in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1986 with a degree in
economics. He then attended Rutgers Camden Law School, graduating in
1989. He is a certified civil trial attorney and has served as faculty
for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) on
nursing home malpractice in New Jersey. He and his wife have two
children and live in Montgomery Township.
Cohen says that he is often asked why state and federal authorities
aren’t able to do more to combat substandard nursing homes. Cohen says
they try. "There just aren’t enough of them. I know that from the
amount of work it takes for me to handle a single case. I can’t
imagine a state worker having the time to review in enough detail all
the allegations involved in a single complaint."
And even when complaints are investigated, it is a sad fact that these
investigations are often cursory. "When a family member files a
complaint with state authorities it has often been my experience that
the state primarily only asks the nursing home personnel what
happened," says Cohen. "It is very rare, if ever, that I see them
conduct a detailed interview. Family members are tremendously
frustrated over that. Once they really start their investigation they
only get one side of the story. They will very often find that there
is a problem but it is usually only when the nursing home hasn’t done
a good enough job covering up its tracks. Its really kind of like
someone walking into the hen house and asking the fox what is going on
here and not asking the chickens."
While the challenge of finding adequate nursing home care can be eye
opening, Cohen assures people that there are many good nursing homes
and assisted living facilities available. He offers the following
Use the Internet for research. Because of the very detailed level of
the regulatory scheme of the state and federal level, the Internet is
a good source of information for someone who is trying to find a
nursing home for a loved one. Cohen cautions that it is not perfect.
"When you go online to check New Jersey’s website or Medicare’s
website looking for health rates for nursing homes, you may get 15 or
20 pages worth of information about a facility," he says. "But when I
do a public records request on a facility, I generally get 250 or 300
pages or more. So what you get on the Internet is a bit of a snapshot
and it is not always a representative example of what has truly been
going on in a facility." Cohen himself provides information for a blog
Check staffing licenses. If a nursing home doesn’t have a
well-trained, or adequately sized staff, residents are extremely
vulnerable. While frontline workers have a tough job, the law states
that they must be licensed. Cohen recommends that consumers check this
out. "Many nursing homes that I have cases against call their workers
certified nurse’s aids but we later find that they weren’t certified
before working there," he says. "There are some awful homes in the
Trenton area that recently got cited by the state because a huge
percentage of their nurses aids were not certified."
See past glitzy marketing. People are generally given the advice to
visit nursing homes that they are considering and talk to staff
members. But Cohen warns that this is not enough. "Some of the worst
facilities these days are some of the cleanest facilities," he says.
"And the reason for that is good marketing. They have beautiful
lobbies and friendly and attentive personnel working at the front
desk. Some of the very worst facilities in New Jersey have wonderful
websites. I think the key is to cull information from every source
that you can. Visit a facility and talk to family members."
Act quickly. If you run into problems and are seeking legal solutions,
act quickly. ""People should know that these cases are time
sensitive," says Cohen. "If it’s a county or city owned facility there
are very stringent time restraints when you have to file a claim.
People should know that they can’t sit on these issues too long or
they might lose their rights without realizing it."
Cohen does point to some good news on the nursing home front.
"Recently Medicare revamped their interpretation of the regulations
under which medical directors have to operate," he says. "The general
perception in the legal and medical community is that the new
interpretation has heightened the responsibilities of medical
directors to play a greater role in overseeing the quality of care in
nursing homes. I think, on a general level across the country, there
is real satisfaction with this change. Up to now many of these
facilities are running without enough direction from a medical point
of view. The more attention that these quality physicians can pay
toward the nursing homes the better the residents of the nursing home
– Jack Florek
Going Back to School Program for Adults
Going back to school might be easy for the kids, but for adults, the
prospect can be intimidating. Especially if it’s been a while.
The Encore Learning Institute at Middlesex County Community College
offers numerous workshops that serve as a refresher for those who are
interested in coming to college following a gap in their education.
A free seminar giving details about the program and an overview of the
college will be held at Middlesex on Monday, January 28, at 6:30 p.m.
Register in advance by calling 732-906-2556.
Lynn Lederer, director of professional and community programs, says
Encore workshops are designed to help adults brush up on skills they
haven’t used in years, and to give students the chance to meet and
form informal support and study groups.
The workshops include:
Cool Tools for Adult Learners, which includes tips for smart-reading,
writing papers and research in the library and Internet. It will be
Tuesday, February 5, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.
Pre-Algebra/ Arithmetic/Computation, which covers whole numbers,
integers, fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions, decimals,
ratio and proportion, comparisons, simple algebra and basic geometry.
It will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 12-28, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Elementary Algebra, which covers perimeters and areas, rational
numbers and their operations, reducing fractions, scientific notation,
formulas, linear equations, linear equations with two variables,
exponents, polynomials, special products, factoring, rational
expressions, radicals, and quadratic equations. It will be Tuesdays
and Thursdays, March 4-20, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $75.
Intermediate Algebra, which covers algebraic operations, solutions of
equations and inequalities, coordinate geometry, applications, other
algebra topics and functions and trigonometry. It will be Tuesdays and
Thursdays, April 1-17, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $75.
Sentence Skills, which includes sentence construction, structure and
word choice. It will be Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost:
The Essay, which includes focus, organization, development and
support, sentence structure and effectiveness, mechanical conventions,
outlining, thesis statement, introduction, body and conclusion. It
will be Thursday, April 24, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.
Reading Comprehension, which includes tips on reading and
understanding passages and increasing reading speed. It will be
Tuesday, April 29, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $15.
State Increases Financing Levels
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has increased maximum
financing levels available under its Preferred Lender Program.
The new limits are $1.25 million for loan participations and $1.5
million for loan guarantees on fixed asset loans for buildings and
equipment. The EDA has also set $750,000 as the new limit for loan
participations and $1.5 million as the limit for loan guarantees on
working capital loans to cover operating expenses.
The authority reviews applications and renders a decision within three
business days, and provides a written term sheet within two business
days of approval. Closing may occur within three business days. The
authority provides a portion of a participating bank’s financing or
guarantees part of the bank loan.
Eight financial institutions participate in the program: The Bank,
Bank of America, Commerce Bank, New Jersey Community Capital, North
Fork Bank, PNC Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Sun National Bank. The
program is also expanding to include more community banks.
"Community banks generally focus on small and mid-size businesses,
which make up a significant segment of the EDA’s core market," said
Kathleen Stucy, EDA’s senior vice president of operations. "By
partnering with community banks, we should be able to help more
smaller companies obtain affordable financing to support their
Under the Preferred Lender Program, EDA participation and guarantee
amounts can be up to 50 percent of the bank’s financing. Maximum total
EDA participation and guarantee assistance is $2.75 million for fixed
asset loans and $2.25 million for working capital loans. EDA
participation and guarantee terms may be up to 10 years for fixed
asset loans and up to five years for working capital loans.
Borrowers of low-interest EDA funding under the Preferred Lender
Program have the option of choosing a fixed rate indexed to the
five-year Treasury rate or a variable rate indexed to the Prime Rate.
Businesses must be New Jersey-based, in operation for at least two
years, and commit to creating at least one new job per $50,000 in EDA
exposure. Manufacturers need only to maintain one job per $50,000 of
To learn more about the Preferred Lender program or other products and
services of the EDA, contact EDA Customer Care at
CustomerCare@njeda.com or 609-777-4898.
Middlesex County-based carpoolers could still be eligible for gas card
rewards from the county Transportation Management Association.
The county, through the nonprofit Keep Middlesex Moving, Inc, sponsors
Carpooling Makes $ense, an incentive program that awards $100 gas
cards to commuters who form and maintain carpools. Since the program
was introduced in May, 2006, more than 100 carpools have qualified for
the program. To qualify for the gas card, carpoolers must carpool at
least 24 times over a two-month period. They must also register with
Keep Middlesex Moving and record their commute mode weekly.
Funding is provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the New
Jersey Department of Transportation.
Registration and weekly recording can be done online at www.kmm.org.
Gas cards will be awarded to qualified carpools at the end of the
two-month period. For more information, contact Cristina C. Fowler at
Top Of PageStudy Finds Empathy Key to Leadership
A six-year study completed by consulting firm BlessingWhite has found
that effective business leadership takes more than just a head for
The study of 1,405 leaders in 47 organizations, released in late
December, finds that while senior executives are generally rated
highest in business aptitude, responsibility, clarity, and self
confidence, it was high scores in empathy and trustworthiness that
best predicted leadership effectiveness. And while these last two
qualities ranked first and second as predictors of good leadership,
they ranked fifth and sixth in a field of eight as qualities at which
Self confidence ranked last as a predictor of effective leadership.
The six-year study analyzed feedback from nearly 8,000 colleagues.
Respondents were asked to rate the individuals in 54 areas, which were
combined into eight categories spanning both business and personal
"It’s revealing that although leaders advance within the organization
by mastering the core business skills," says BlessingWhite CEO
Christopher Rice, "once they’re on top they don’t necessarily
demonstrate the personal characteristics that are needed to connect
with colleagues and employees or build loyal relationships."
Rice says empathy in leaders is likely to become most important in
times of turmoil. "An effective leader has to be able to understand
others’ feelings and needs, and to generate trust," he says. He
suggests ways executives can enhance their empathetic sides.
Earn the right to be heard and build trust. Leaders tend to be good at
highlighting their credentials and rationale. But trust is built by
showing the human side, not just accomplishments. Leaders also need to
show gratitude, share their personal motivation, and acknowledge their
employees’ situations. They need to share their personal worries – not
through spin or transparent communications tricks, but through
Take action first. Leaders need to go first. When they commit to
making a change that is challenging for them, they show that they have
skin in the game, that they are not asking employees to do something
that they themselves would not do. Taking action first goes a long way
to building trust and demonstrating empathy.
Focus on invested listening and invested responses. A lot of leaders
hold town hall meetings saying they want to hear what employees’
issues are. Too often they barely wait until a question is done before
they’re defending their point of view. This type of situation shuts
down candor and damages trust.
When listening, leaders need to pay attention to not only what people
are saying but how they say it. They need to listen extra hard for the
speaker’s intent and commonality with them, their feelings, their
unstated concern, as well as where they’re coming from.
When responding, leaders need to make sure they then acknowledge
common goals and the speaker’s intent, acknowledge feelings and
concerns, and demonstrate an understanding that different points of
view may arise from different context.
The Credit Union of New Jersey has started accepting donations at its
five branches on behalf of the Ewing Public Education Fund.
Citing the importance of financial education in schools, Credit Union
CEO Andrew Jaeger said raising money for the EPEF (www.epef.org) can
improve the understanding of finances among the township’s students.
Wayne Staub, president of the EPEF, said the partnership with the
Credit Union is "an excellent example of how two different
organizations can work together" for the common good.
No specific programs have yet been announced in the school district.
The Lewis School of Princeton donated nearly 200 coats to the 12th
annual Jersey Cares Coat Drive, sponsored by NJCares Network, in
December. The school’s part in the drive was initiated by two
students, John Kelly of Princeton and Peter Alaimo of Hillsborough.
The school began collecting coats in November. The coats eventually
were delivered to the Community Foodbank of NJ in Hillside.
In its ongoing support of educational enhancement for students who may
be at risk, Yardville National Bank has donated $10,000 to fund the
supplemental education program of the Boys & Girls Club of Trenton and
Mercer County. The club’s afterschool program helps potentially
at-risk students achieve their full potential by providing enrichment
activities, including technology skills, mentoring, and the Club’s
"Smart Moves" intervention program.
In recognition of its ongoing efforts to combat homelessness in
central New Jersey, Tyco International has been selected by the
Community Foundation of New Jersey as a "2005 corporate patron of
social welfare." As part of the honor, Tyco also received $5,000 in
grants from the Community Foundation for the benefit of the nonprofit
group of Tyco’s choice.
Staff from all levels at the Mercadien Groupcontributed time, energy
and financial resources to help make less fortunate children’s
Christmas celebration a little brighter. by continuing the tradition
of being an official Toys for Tots drop off site.
This is the seventh year that the Mercadien Group employees
participated in and assisted in this campaign.
To assist women in the early detection of breast cancer, Princeton
Consultants and St. Peters Hospital in New Brunswick have joined
forces to benefit the Amy Feiman Behar Foundation for Early Detection
Princeton Consultants formed the foundation in 2007 after the death of
Behar, who served as office manager for more than 11 years. Its
purpose is to provide free mammograms to women with no insurance and
spread the word about the importance of self-examination and early
The partnership with St. Peters allows the hospital to provide much of
the funds needed to cover mammograms. The foundation itself buys
blocks of mammograms from the hospital for women without insurance.
Monroe Chiropractic Care’s "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" coat drive netted
3,165 coats for families around the state. The total more than triples
the office’s 2006 campaign, which collected 1,100 coats on behalf of