It used to be called ‘optics’ but cleaver journalists have coined a new term—‘tone deaf’. It’s the descriptor used when, say, a company takes bailout money and buys a $50M jet. It’s the description of someone whose champagne tastes are out of step with our national beer budget.

Don't find yourself the ‘tone deaf’ candidate.

If you haven’t been in the job market for some time, you’ll be well advised to get current on the trends in compensation. Don’t find yourself negotiating off a dated playbook. For example, if you don’t already know the trend is to use restricted stock in combination with or in lieu of stock grants, find sources to get you up to speed. I always cringe when I hear, “I was talking to some friends and…” where the rest of the sentence is filled in with some nonsense about company ownership, trends on relocation or what have you.

Unless your friend is a compensation consultant, an HR professional in your industry, or an executive recruiter, chances are you are getting what you paid for that advice. You can get up to speed on compensation, benefits and perks through sources credible sources easily found on the web.

And when in doubt, do more listening than talking then validate what you are hearing. Ask if you are being reasonable.

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