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Victoria Pynchon

As the co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training, I offer my services as a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant....

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She Negotiates

She Negotiates

The 33 cent wage and income gap is unacceptable and unnecessary. So is the cliché glass ceiling. Bottom line, our...

It's Not About the Money; It's About Justice

I'd stop flogging this dead horse if I didn't have to weekly convince litigants of their own enduring human tendency to prefer relative well-being over absolute material possessions.

This week, that "news" is brought to you by the New York Times to explain why a surprising number of us have not been made terribly unhappy as our financial fortunes decline.  As Op-Ed contributor Sonja Lyubomirsky (of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want) observes today:

the economists David Hemenway and Sara Solnick demonstrated in a study at Harvard, many people would prefer to receive an annual salary of $50,000 when others are making $25,000 than to earn $100,000 a year when others are making $200,000.

Why? Because we "care more about social comparison, status and rank than about the absolute value of our bank accounts or reputations."  In other words, we're more concerned with justice (fairness) than we are about the money.  Which is why our clients have sought out our help with their personal, financial and commercial problems -- because we're in the justice business.  When we understand this, the negotiation of financial settlements becomes a whole lot easier because there are many more ways to deliver justice than by throwing money at it.  

Read the full (short) article Why We’re Still Happy here.

 

 

Comments (2)

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michael webster - December 28, 2008 10:29 AM

Isn't this experiment also consistent with the hypothesis that we are envious creatures, who care little for justice?

Vickie - December 28, 2008 10:45 PM

Yes it is, Michael. We live on the razor's edge between our need for community and our struggle for individual survival. I don't mean to paint a Pollyanna'ish version of the world. We are dual natured. We kill one another over trifles and we demonstrate the most courageous selflessness. Nor do I believe that these tendencies -- to strive, to achieve, to compete or to nurture and build community are splits among us, i.e., the "good" and the "bad." I am capable of the most extraordinarily selfishness and mean-spiritedness and of a great deal of generosity. I try to lean toward the light; to heed the call of my higher nature whenever possible. I strive toward consciousness even as I bury my head in the sand. The glass is half full AND half empty. We're all a little bit crazy, but fortunately, not usually all on the same day.

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