Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Makes Mistake Negotiating Salary

DEAR HARRIETTE: I realized I lowballed myself when a company I was interviewing for asked for my desired salary. I did not want to seem greedy and wanted a follow-up interview, so I made an offer on the lower side. This appeared to work, and I am waiting for their final decision after my second interview. If accepted, do I have any wiggle room with my salary, or must I stick to my original ask? -- Worth More, Boston

DEAR WORTH MORE: You have worked yourself into a tough space, but there may be a glimmer of hope. If you are offered the job, listen to the salary that is on the table. If it is exactly what you asked, you can thank the employer for meeting your request and also say that you have done some research and discovered that typically this position garners a higher wage. Ask when you would be eligible for a salary increase based upon this revelation. Some companies consider small increases at the end of a 90-day probationary period. Others wait until seeing your overall performance over a year’s time. Occasionally, you may even get a bump simply for asking. Keep a positive outlook. You may have to wait and earn the increase that you should have asked for in the beginning.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have back issues and cannot sit for long periods of time. I usually get up to walk every hour to go to the restroom or just to see the weather outside, and then I go back to my seat. I'm afraid constantly getting up is rude when I am at a restaurant or in a movie theater. Should I be explaining why I am standing up, or is “excuse me” enough to be polite? -- Strolling, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR STROLLING: Guess what? Everybody should get up and walk around at least a little bit every hour. The electronic watches and exercise counters that are so popular right now buzz to remind wearers to get up, stretch and move. It is also true that if you find yourself at a computer for hours on end, you should make sure your seat is configured properly for your body and that you get up and stretch and stop typing every 20 minutes.

You do not need to explain to anyone why you are standing unless you feel the urge to invite the person to stand with you. You are making smart choices for your body. Continue to do so.

To make your standing and moving easier on the people surrounding you, do your best to position yourself at the end of the row in a movie theater. At a restaurant, don’t allow yourself to be boxed in. Choose a corner or outside seat so that you don’t disturb others when you get up.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)