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How Ridiculous Is the Eric Bledsoe Stalemate?

Bright Side of the Sun contributors Jim Coughenour and Mike Lisboa take sides on the Eric Bledsoe contract negotiation saga. Whose side are you on?

Am I out of my damn mind?
Am I out of my damn mind?
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

As contract negotiations between Eric Bledsoe's camp and the Phoenix Suns continue to drag out, patience is wearing thin among Phoenix Suns fans and observers. After all, regardless of what number they settle on, Eric Bledsoe will be earning upwards of $10,000,000 per year to play the game of basketball.  What else is there to negotiate?

Jim Coughenour and I found ourselves on different sides of the Bledsoe Stalemate, especially with regards to how regular people conduct their job negotiations.  Below are our positions.  Whose side are you on?

Jim's Take:

I told my employer this morning that I'm not going to be congenial with the contractors we work with... regardless of whether he pays me more than my market value. I'm still not getting anything near what I'm really worth anyway.

He still wanted to keep me on the payroll, and offered me a bloated raise (more than I could get anywhere else) because I pretty much kick ass at the nuts and bolts of my job, but he implored me to at least pretend to be nice to my business contacts.

I refused.

I don't need to be nice... that's not one of my negotiating tactics.

Actually, an employee review and him asking anything of me is ridiculous. I should be able to be a complete recluse in a job that dictates I communicate with people constantly. Since I do really well in one aspect of my job it completely excuses me from attempting to improve at another very real part of my job description.

Next thing you know he'll be bringing up how I missed nearly half of last season something else that shouldn't have any bearing on the situation.

I still feel like I have the upper ground here. I ask for concessions, not make them. The fact that I want to get paid like the face of the company doesn't mean I need to act like the face of the company.

I don't need to be nice.

I'm a max employee.

Mike's Take:

As a freelancer, what Jim just described is essentially a more strident version of every gig negotiation I have, which takes place every 2 to 6 months of the year.

6-day weeks? Gonna cost ya.

Remote location? Gonna cost ya.

Difficult personalities? Gonna cost ya.

And I get that leverage because I am so kick-ass at my job and have the credits and referrals to back me up. I have that despite not working for 6 months this year due to what we'll ambiguously call "injuries" that caused me to bail on a huge shoot right before filming began.

I don't get paid based on how well I interact with vendors, I get paid based on how well I interact with my department. My team if you will.

And that's without the benefit of a union or collective bargaining agreement. And yeah, sometimes my "demands" are too high and I don't get work. But I also have that leverage because of the finite nature of my career. No one in my industry does what we do for much more than 47 weeks a year. The higher salaries are a form of risk compensation. Why? Because we don't know when the well is going to dry up. Having a month off a year sounds awesome until you realize you don't get to pick the month, or how it's distributed over the year. Or if it's only a month.

I'm generally pretty clear about exactly how attached I am to any given project, which is to say, enough that my job gets done very well, but not so much that you'll ever see me touting the premier of "Shannen Says" or "Cavemen" on social media.

And yet the market pays me a decent living because my talents are in demand.  I'm not famous. I'm not spoiled. And I have nowhere near as many zeros at the end of my salary as these guys. The pay range for the work I do can vary by as much as $800 per week depending on the budget of the project.  I could probably live comfortably on the low-end gigs if I just accepted the first offer I got every time. But I don't, because I know I can get more. So I hold out. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't.  In fairness, my negotiations tend to take place over the course of hours or a couple of days at most, instead of over the course of months.  And a lot of the factors I weigh aren't necessarily tacitly discussed in the negotiation (like if I know there's a difficult personality on the prospective gig).

Reader's Take:

What do you think, Bright Siders?  Is Eric Bledsoe living in such rarified air that he's forgotten what it means to be an employee, regardless of this salary?  Am I a similarly entitled diva who places to high a value on his skillset?  Or are we rightfully exploiting a seller's market for our services to earn as much as possible?

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