Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Four years ago I took a job about three pay grades below what I am
worth, what I had made in the past, and what I was looking for. I did
it to get into an organization that I thought would be good for my
career, with the hope that once I was an internal candidate I would
have a leg up on future openings. You know what’s happened in the
world of work. Though my salary is 10% higher, none of the other
goals have been met. Now there’s an opening two pay grades higher
at the rival organization. I applied within 48 hours after it had been
posted. They called the next day and I have an interview set in two
weeks. Do I tell my boss now and try to negotiate something better?
Or do I see if I get the other job and negotiate then? Other than pay
and prestige, I prefer where I am, and the rival org is 45 minutes
further each way.

Dear Pigeonholed:
Two very important points. Any time you are employed and send out a
resume, you must include in your cover letter the sentence: This is a
confidential work search. Please do not contact current employer
without notifying me. There’s never any guarantee that the request
will be honored, but if they’re the kind of folks who wouldn’t tell you
then you are probably better off not working for them. Second, their
responsiveness may speak to your qualifications. But in this case you
are an outsider, and there may be a perfect internal candidate in the
rival organization; you may be just the shill they need to meet legal

Send an email to the hiring contact with suggestion number one
above. The go to the interview. If you feel that you’re being used as a
straw candidate, talk to your boss and ask if there’s any give in your
current salary. Try to play the loyalty card at the same time (a nice
piece of acting) in a way that doesn’t get you tossed out the door. Say
you wanted to see what you were worth in the market. If you feel that
you have a chance at the rival job, wait until they call you back, and                            decide after the second interview. Then ask if your current employer
would match the salary and terms of the other job. Win win is much
better than lose lose. But the truth is most organizations pay what
they can get away with, not always what the employee is worth.