Someone far more experienced in the art of negotiation once told me that if you go into a meeting asking for 10 concessions, be prepared to receive about half of them. I once employed a similar strategy with my parents - with less-than-stellar results.I proposed that if I kept my room clean and did my own laundry for six months, they would subsidize a trip to Los Angeles to visit my cousins. My father promptly made a counteroffer: If I kept helping out around the house, I could continue living there for free.

Smaller public companies apparently made out far better than I did - only in lieu of an all-expense-paid trip to the City of Angels, they received an easing of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

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