Why are millennials so “obsessed” with “filtering their water” for “engineered nano-parasites”?

A day or so after I last hit “poast”, along comes Slate asking the hard questions. Why, indeed, are millennials so obsessed with securing a baseline standard of living? An admission against the article’s thesis is quickly lampshaded:

It’s true this generation has been shaped by a somber set of circumstances—more college debt, greater instability, lower pay on average.

But then, of course, Slate moves on to turn conventional wisdom on its head by pointing out that there’s really only one demographic that’s obsessed with work:

Yet certain segments of the population—rich college-educated men, in particular—have somehow bucked this long-term trend. This group has been working somewhat longer hours, and enjoying somewhat less free time, than people further down the socioeconomic ladder.

“Rich” is thrown out lazily. We’re supposed to believe that Thurston Howell IV has replaced monocle-polishing with round-the-clock dealmaking in order to compete with other formerly idle rich. Conveniently, Slate studiously avoids defining “rich”. To be fairer than they deserve, they are lazily copying The Atlantic’s similarly obscure use. I clicked The Atlantic‘s links so that you don’t have to, and I couldn’t find a useful definition everywhere, so it’s probably choosing some idiotically low income level, defining that as “rich”, and then interpreting the behavior of stressed-out providers churning code or deals at all hours as greed.

In any case, the facts don’t really support this thesis. Everyone works harder now and there’s hardly a difference between how hard the middle and top quintiles work. At my jorb, the office plankton doods seem to work pretty damn hard. I work harder, but that’s me.

Having thus eviscerated Slate with facts and logic, I thought I’d take a victory lap through the rest of the piece:

Thompson also mentions a Gallup report from 2016, which claimed that, “like all employees, millennials care about their income. But for this generation, a job is about more than a paycheck, it’s about a purpose.” Yeah, well, the same report also notes that 48 percent of millennials say overall compensation is an “extremely important” factor in the job hunt, and that 1 in 2 millennials would consider switching jobs if it meant getting a modest raise. Paychecks still have pull.

Here, the communists at Slate may be onto something. As I said in my previous poast, I change jobs a lot, and this is driven by money and the need to forcememe my way into having skills that I’d never be permitted to organically develop in a continuous career. For instance, if I were to stay at my current job, it wouldn’t matter that my team has created a product that produces about $10m in annual steady-state GP — I’d make VP when someone older retired or died, even if they’d been functionally dead for years. Meanwhile, I’d be exposed to skill atrophy or irrelevance risk, like a guy who built a nifty FORTRAN system in 1981 and wound up maintaining it into the eras of object-oriented IDEs, early web programming, and contemporary languages. At that point, you just hope your product doesn’t die before you do, and if it does, I guess Rob Rogers has some career advice for you.

Slate concludes that it’s all in our heads:

Journalists tend to be well-educated but not so highly paid, and strive in a field that’s both competitive and in decline—and that, too, has been the case for at least a couple decades. Which is to say, we’re more susceptible than most to “toil glamour” and the gospel of career fulfillment. If anyone’s obsessed with work, it’s us.

Thing is, that’s not just journalists. Career uncertainty, real estate inflation and guild card inflation have impoverished a generation, and the one before is doing exactly what Rob Rogers tried to do: holding onto their jobs because they’re too much trouble to fire. Put it all together, and if you want to thrive — you have to strive.


Life After Uselessness

Apologies to my readers — both of you — for my long silence. I’ve been busy with a typical millennial career cycle: I built a successful business with a defined life-cycle within a corporation, in the course of which I accrued skills and responsibilities that burnished my resume and prepared me for my next move. I’m now planning that move while still at my present job. Baby boomers, of course, don’t get this at all. Everything about this is scandalizing. I asked for and got “above-market” pay; I based my decisions on best practices and research, not worthless “experience” and groupthink; I based my work cycle on the project and product, not on facetime and shutting down at 5 pm (well, 4 pm — it takes a while to get going, then there’s a coffee break, and did you hear about Barb in Accounts Payable?)

Part of me would love to just chill and coast for 30 years of mediocrity. It’s not like, at 3 am, smoking Juul to stay awake and working on some deal that should have closed six months ago, I whisper to myself that I love the capital markets. But that choice isn’t on the table. I’ve just kind of accepted that changing jobs at least every 4 years, more like 2.5 at this point, is how things are going to be. That said, I also made a lot more money than I would have expected a decade ago, which is damned lucky because I’ve needed a lot more than I would have expected as well.

No matter how annoying they are, you have to feel a certain distant pity for the boomer generation. The ones who were predatory and constantly ready to rock got to make piles of money without much of what we today would consider hard skills or work ethic. Some such people died as they lived, while others in the expanded boomer generation of 1935-1965 got to enjoy their thoroughly undeserved fortunes to ripe old ages. That leaves the rest of them almost as big suckers as us millennials. They’re now starting to realize that they’re broke, poor and old, and there isn’t much between them and a grimly healthy old age of SROs and cat food for dinner. There’s no such thing as “deserve”, but hard as my heart may be from years of contemplating the cold equations of the business world, I can’t help but feel bad for them.

That said, if you too are finding yourself suffering a moment of weakness, this fellow’s miserable plight should lighten your spirits and get you feeling good and hateful again.


Reminder about boomer tuition for those college days:

Boomer Tuition.jpg

As usual, here at theratfacedman, we’re intellectually rigorous enough to use an online inflation calculator that we googled in 5 seconds. That’s $719.72 in 2018 dollars. Estimated cost of attendance at the University of Houston is now $21,238-42,043 per year. True, we have iPhones now, and avocado toast, so I guess it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but one can’t help but feel an important fact about this guy’s life in comparison to ours has been glossed over.

Setting that aside, which is  impossible for student debt following the BACPA of 2005, we take a brief canter through jobs that are, of course, beneath a college man like our boomer author:


As we know, only millennials — young people with debt, no savings, no pensions, and the need to establish careers — should work as baristas. Likewise, it’s a scandal that a college graduate born in 1959 should earn minimum wage. Jobs that pay 138% of minimum wage are for the little people in Xenophobia, USA (some of whom, admittedly, might be boomers of the kind who vote wrong) — not caricaturists!

Fortunately, our stalwart Solon has found the real villain:


I guess that trip to Xenophobia, USA has influenced Rob Rogers more than he realizes. Call me a xenophobe, but it’s never occurred to me to blame Vladimir Putin for my job history.

The awful truth about waking up in 2019 and finding that no one wants to purchase your makeshift electronics, or clumsy caricatures, or Estrada glasses, or whatever else you might be selling, is that society’s ability to pay for useless things is constrained. Lots of people way more creative and innovative than Rob Rogers failed at business. Meanwhile, he enjoyed 34 years of continuous employment at a major institution, which is about 11 times longer than I’ve spent at any job I’ve ever had. But, as he’s finding out the hard way today, no one actually had to continue employing him. It was nothing more than inertia. He had a job because he did it adequately and it wasn’t worth the bother of firing him. Unique value creation? Better cartoonists than he, by far, live as freelancers, excluded by birth and circumstance from the security that he took for granted for all those 34 years.

If you really are doing valuable work, you’ll carve a niche for yourself. That doesn’t mean you won’t be abused or suffer injustice or watch fools prosper. But you’ll have covered your downside risk in the institution you depend on. The worst advice you could give anyone is to allow exposure to overconcentration risk in your career.

Which brings me, in my solipsistic way, back to where I started this post. If you’re reading this — either of you — you’re not likely ever to be able to depend on an institution. Those days are gone. Promotion? What’s that? Career stability? Who he? Don’t make a cartoonist’s mistake; you can’t rely upon lazy social commentary to pay your bills forever. You have to rely on your bank account, your ability to fill it, your reputation among individual people who think you’re worth hiring and are in a position to do something about it. It’s cold out there in the juggalo-haunted hellscape and you’re only as good as your next gig.

Dismal Science (s3c0nd g1st p1st)

I had just been contemplating this on the tree of woe when a message hit my inbox from a survivor of the STEM hunger games. I am presenting it almost entirely unedited. Thank you, Derek Action, for your careful examination of the vital question: “Now that I do math good, how do I get money?”

You’ll note that Derek delves more deeply into logistical questions than an advice book is likely to do. This is valuable attention to a frequently neglected point. You’ll also note that Derek has obvious familiarity with all stages of the process, and I’m sure that he’d be up for answering specific questions about them. Congrats, Derek, for getting out with a win.


If you studied a quantitative subject but didn’t go into finance because you didn’t want to “sell out”, but you’ve since discovered the Rat Faced Man, then this is for you. It is a guide I prepared with all the information I used myself to get from academia to a real job, and from a real job to a finance job with a top 2% starting salary. It mostly deals with the business of interviewing while you have a job.

I will include references to help with the technical interview preparation, which in finance is the equivalent of asking you to do a Rubik’s cube: you can easily impress the interviewer if you learned the solution beforehand, but otherwise, you will look like an idiot. The questions aren’t designed to test how smart you are, but rather to make you, and above all, the interviewer, feel smart. How else will you justify the big salary you will receive once you’re hired?

While interview skill certainly matters, interviewing for finance jobs is like a lottery, Consider that all the candidates who make it to the phone round will have strong CVs. The candidates who make it to the face-to-face interviews will be the strongest of the applicants. In the final rounds, it often comes down to luck: they will ask a set of brainteasers, and you may or may not know how to solve them. Candidates who luck out and encounter more questions they have prepared for (or previously encountered) will come out looking stronger than they actually are. Likewise, the smartest candidate in the pool could nonetheless have a bad day and flunk an interview. Interviewing (on both sides of the table) is a difficult skill to master, but as with most things, practice makes perfect.

This might mean you may not be able to get a finance job immediately after completing your degree, and you may not have the luxury to spend months interviewing. If this is the case, it makes sense to take a non-finance job with the aim to get back into finance after a year or so. It may even be easier to get into finance then: it’s easiest to find a job when you have a job. Try to spend at least a year at an employer, as spending less time at any one employer may look bad (this rule has exceptions, because multiple good positions in a short time might also indicate that a candidate is in high demand). Whether your first job is in finance or not, the ability to interview while working — a stealth job-search — is a valuable skill to develop. I will provide some guidelines here, mostly to do with the logistics of interviewing.

The most important thing is interview preparation. Think of it as being exam-ready. One is seldom as ready to take a calculus exam than the day before the exam. This is the position you have to be in when interviewing. If you are not exam-ready, you will definitely lose out to the multitude of other rat-faced candidates who are. Finding time to prepare is the hardest part of a stealth job-search. Think about it as having a second job. Put time aside in the morning or evening. If you have a lengthy commute, find a way to do preparation on the journey. The texts referenced in this guide are a great place to start. Don’t just read, you have to do the exercises. Find a sketch book to use or work on your laptop or tablet, but make sure you make preparation part of your daily routine for as long as you are interviewing. As with the calculus exam, you will not perform if you are not exam-ready, no matter how well you know the material. Unlike with the calculus exam, how well you do here will directly influence future income.

When you are exam ready, and if you have a strong CV, you will start getting invites to phone interviews. Very few finance houses will invite you for a face-to-face interview without doing a phone screen, therefore you need to be prepared for this preliminary stage. This can be difficult to do if you are in full-time employment. You need to find a place where you can take a call, where you will be undisturbed for 40-60 minutes, and where you will be able to do mathematical brainteasers with pen and paper. The best place to do phone interviews is in an office with a table with the door closed, while using a landline. This is also the hardest place to find when you are in full-time employment, unless your employer won’t get suspicious when you book meeting rooms around lunch everyday for long, private phone calls. Sitting in a coffee shop is another option, but it might be hard to find a quiet one where the risk of being disturbed is zero. You will have to scout for locations that are walking distance from your place of work, but not too close to risk discovery by your colleagues. Try and arrange the phone calls after work as far as possible. If it is not possible to do them after work, you will need to use your lunch period. Consider that an interview might take 40-60 minutes (allowing for the interview to start later than agreed), which might be your entire lunch. You also need 5-10 minutes to walk to your location, and 5-10 minutes to walk back. Moreover, you will need a clipboard or writing book with a hard cover to do the brainteasers and will need to carry it out of the office without arousing suspicion.

Some interviewing guides state that you should never use a mobile phone for phone interviews, as a landline will always have better quality. This is true, but in the case of a stealth job-search landlines are a luxury. Expect to use your mobile phone, but find a good headset with a good microphone. It may even be worthwhile to invest in a separate microphone, as the microphones that come with most headsets are sub standard. If you are often sitting outside, research a product known as a “dead cat” wind muff. My personal preference, while stealth interviewing in London, was to go and sit on a bench near the river, in a semi-secluded area. Oddly, rainy days were the best; there would be few other people present, meaning I could sit under my umbrella and do the interview relatively undisturbed, cold fingers aside. I flirted with the idea of using a phone booth, but I didn’t know whether anyone still used those and thought being inside one for 60 minutes might arouse suspicion.

If you pass the phone rounds you will get invited for face-to-face interviews. This can either take the form of a single interview, or a day of interviews (known as on-sites or superdays). For superdays, the best is to schedule them on Fridays or Mondays. That way you can take a day’s worth of leave under the guise of a long weekend, and avoid suspicion. One-hour interviews are more annoying, as you have to take a half-day or full day’s worth of leave, which is an expensive way to do things. Few financial houses would be willing to accommodate you by having these interviews after hours, but it is worthwhile to ask. While I recommend only using your annual leave days for interviews, some individuals engage in more risky behaviour like scheduling interviews on the same days as doctors’ visits, or by lying outright and taking a sick day. This can have very serious repercussions, and you will have to evaluate the risks for yourself. Your risk will depend on how replaceable you are.

With all of the above, there is the risk that your current employer might find out you are interviewing. This may or may not be a bad thing, depending on how you act, and how they act. In the worst case scenario they will, unbeknownst to you, become aware that you are job hunting and take actions to replace you. It is more likely that they will be too busy to notice, or that they will confront you if they do. If confronted the best strategy is to be upfront.

When asked whether you are interviewing, casually answer in the affirmative and point out that you are always interviewing. Interviewing keeps one on one’s toes, it is a great way to ensure one is up to date with the latest techniques in your field, and it helps one to estimate one’s value in the market. Say you have a personal policy to go for at least two interviews a year, regardless of your intention to take another job. There is a difference between job hunting and interviewing; you are merely engaging in the latter. It is a confidence trick, if you don’t act like someone who got “caught out”, you won’t be someone who got caught out.

Crack, T. F. (2008). Heard on the Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews. Self Published.
Joshi, M., N. Denson, and A. Downes (2008). Quant Job Interview: Questions and Answers. CreateSpace.
Wilmott, P. (2009). Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance. Wiley.

Scam in your Inbox

The tuition and fees listed below go into effect on July 1, 2017 for all degree programs at our Hyde Park, NY campus.

First Semester Freshman  
Tuition* $14,690
Application $50
Supplies $755†/$620††
Board**  $1,775
General Fee+ $740
Total $18,010/$17,875

I’m not what you’d call a “mathematologist”, but according to my iPhone, $17,875 * 8 = $143,000 to learn to cook. Don’t worry, though–you can borrow the money at a mere 7.9%, meaning that at $1,500/month, you can pay it off in 30 years. This will cost you a further $82,000 in interest.

$1,500/month is $18,000/year. It’s hard to put a price on education, but on the other hand, you can put a mean annual wage on a cook, and that wage is $24,410. Let’s be reasonable, though. A graduate of a CULINARY INSTITUTE surely won’t be stirring vats of prole chow in the basement of a Sodexho factory! They’ll be 90th percentile and earn the princely sum of $35,090. (Of course, that’s 42nd percentile overall.)

So let’s recap. If you go to cooking school, you borrow full freight, and you get a prestigious cooking job when you’re done, you get to keep $17,090 after your student loan nut. For a single, childless person filing in Illinois claiming the standard deduction and the maximum educational tax credit, there’s tax liability of about $5,000/year, so make that $12,090. You’ll be living on $1,000 a month for 30 years. Of course, that’s $10,680/year more than you’d make if you were a median cook earning $24,410. In that case you’d owe $4,338 in tax, leaving you with $2,072 to live on for an entire year. (This is about the GDP per capita of Uganda).

How’d this happen in the richest country in the world? No, not Qatar, the USA! Some would have you believe that this happens because kids don’t do enough chores. These people are imbeciles. What they’re doing is like trying to bail out a ship that’s been hit by a torpedo. The truth is that the USA has a highly productive population, but very few “producers” are allowed to keep much of what they’ve produced. We thus have the strange spectacle of a rich nation full of hardworking people who are poor.

I’m singling out schools for this treatment because the social function of schools is education, not profit. Obviously the faculty and staff need to get paid, but there’s a sort of social consensus that schools are places to get help. This consensus is reflected in law — Harvard isn’t taxed as though it were a huge investment company, though maybe it should be. But there’s an inchoate sense in which hospitals, doctors, universities, schools, etc. are places where people used to be able to go for help, but no longer can. They’re no longer havens in a heartless world, only another venue for incessant, hostile competition.

This has been a long time coming. Financial institutions are also growing increasingly scammy. Perhaps it’s no wonder that one of the most famous movies ever is on just this topic– or that it’s a fantasy.

“I’m Too Smart to Be Poor!”

These days, the old “go to college” life script is failing. But what about the “become a professor” life script? Even during the long, palmy Boomer afternoon, people knew that professors were poor, didn’t they?

Come to that, what valuable skills do academics have, exactly? It’s true that many academics have deep insight into interdisciplinary cultural analysis, but it’s not clear who’s going to pay for that or why. Essentially, in becoming an academic, you are betting that something will turn up, because society is morally obligated to pay for academics.

I don’t want to make too much fun of this–this is a type of decision-making that made some kind of sense in a simpler world. In the brief interval of, say, 1950-1975, ratfacing somewhat receded and people could rely on their intuitions of “decency” and “propriety” as genuinely effective heuristics for making life decisions. There’s a sense in which it’s tragic that this came to an end; there’s a certain nobility to an urbanizing population working out its small-town, stiff-necked Protestant values and creating vast quantities of positive externalities for all to share and enjoy.

That said, however, I absolutely do want to make fun of various rats manqués who expected social justice sinecures and are instead finding out that universities are run by people who “Think Different“, in the sense that they care very much about posturing as humanitarians and giving their customers curated experiences while ruthlessly exploiting workers, business partners and even their own families.

Therefore, let’s all laugh heartily at the miserable lives of failure facing the people whose job market looks like this:

University of Illinois-Chicago.
Visiting Lecturer-German Basic Language Program Director for AY 2017-2018.

The Director will coordinate 14 sections in the blended basic German language sequence (first through fourth semester), supervise and train about 10 teaching assistants, teach three advanced language and culture courses, and participate in departmental events, such as the High School Day.

Qualifications: Candidates must be ABD (PhD preferred), have a strong teaching record, and have a background in Second Language Acquisition or a related field. Native or near-native competency in German is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in language program direction, materials development, and computer-mediated learning.

Currently this is a 67% position for $28.000 and benefits are prorated.

Reminder: this is around 35% of what a McDonalds manager makes in Chicago. At least it’s slightly more than welfare–although after student loans, it’s probably a wash. No wonder revolution is so much on the academic mind. #FightForFifteen!

Further Evidence of Vidya-Induced Poverty

We’ve been complaining for some time at The Rat-faced Man that vidya derails your life. More accurately, it enables persistent patterns of treading water by providing a pleasurable alternative to getting out there and striving in the juggalo-haunted hellscape.   Well, for once, the upper-class twits over at The Economist have made themselves useful by providing a write-up of a study on the subject (together with a handy link to a 4,000-word thumbsucker on the subject by a The Economist journalist.)

Of course, as a magazine focused on IYIs, The Economist has to TURN CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ON ITS HEAD and show off its sophisticated tolerance:

[T]he share of jobless or underemployed young people choosing to game rather than focus on career will probably grow. That is not necessarily something to lament. Games are often rewarding and social, and time spent gaming sometimes displaces less healthy or rewarding pastimes.

Well done, boyo, jolly well done indeed, innit? That’s how you know you’ve got a magazine for ~le sophisticated reader~ indeed.

If the pull of work is not strong enough to overcome the desire to game, the first response should be to ask whether more can be done to prepare young people for good jobs—and to make sure that there are some around when those young people enter the workforce.

Or maybe we could just gamify work!

Like a lot of IYI things, this article in The Economist manages to convey information that is simultaneously correct and toxic. I mean, yeah, gaming probably isn’t going anywhere. And it would be a good idea to “make sure that there are some [good jobs] around” for young people. (The elided subject is telling. Who exactly is to be making sure of this?) On the other hand, the bland reassurance that the article wants to induce has the same narcotizing effect, in the end, as the vidya. It wants to soothe people who don’t need soothing.

I’m not here to provide a general solution for society. We used to live in a world of cows, but we now live in a world where prosperity is for rats. I don’t know how to turn rats into cows or how to get rats to give milk, but this much I can tell you: Netcraft confirms that vidya addicts are dying. And dying is for suckers.

fr0st g1st p1st

You know you’ve hit the big time when people offer to do free work for you. Is there anything more rat-faced than getting other people to prepare content for which you can take all the credit? (If there is, please let me know, and please show me, for free, how to do it.) It is therefore in this spirit that I offer up my first guest post, by “a Microwave Engineer.” My comments are in square brackets/italics here and there.

How to Interview for a Job
by a Microwave Engineer

If you’ve actually gotten a job interview in today’s economy, congratulations!  Many people are having trouble even getting to this stage. Now it’s time to sell yourself to your prospective employer.  The sales job is not an act of telling how awesome you are.  Instead, it’s a conversation between two parties (you and your prospective employer) about what the job requires, who you will be working with and for and whether your skills are a good fit for the job.  Be sure to show up ahead of schedule, treat the front desk people with politeness and respect, and wear a wedding/funeral suit that fits.  Bring a notebook to write down each interviewer’s name and what was discussed. [This is absolutely key, because you will be joining a business team, and this shows awareness of this fact. -rfm] The higher the position you are interviewing for, the longer the interview will take. Do as much research on your interviewers and their work as possible before you are in front of them.  If someone has written an interesting paper or article or was in the news, be prepared to discuss it with them.  If you don’t know who will be interviewing you, ask.  If the job is technical, be prepared to answer technical questions correctly.  This can involve a couple of weeks of guessing at the questions you may be asked and preparing answers.  Make flash cards, etc. [All of this bolded advice in particular is solid gold and will greatly increase your interviewers’ affirmative commitments to hiring you. -rfm] None of this prep is wasted if you don’t get the job.  After prepping for the current interview, you may choose later to interview with this employer’s competitors or you may discover how your current experience is related to another job that is a better fit or pays better.

The Job
During the interview, step one is to ask a lot of questions about the job and take notes.  At this stage, prove you are a good listener by letting the interviewer speak and, when he is done, repeating an accurate summary of the job back to him and then asking, “Do I understand this correctly?”  It’s axiomatic that employers like good listeners.  You are also trying to determine if you can do the job.  You don’t want to take a job you can’t do.  While it’s great to take a job that’s a stretch for your current skills, it’s a terrible idea to take a job where you’ll be fired in six months for selling yourself into a job you can’t do.
Your Experience
After you understand the job, the next step is to explain how your experience relates to the job.  This involves explanation.  Don’t over-think this: be confident and sell yourself.  It’s great to practice this part with a wife or friend who is a known solid performer in some field.  Becoming successful in any field follows a similar process, so your successful friend/wife/husband is the right person to practice-interview you.  Solid performers hate have trash-cans on their teams and know how to weed them out.  Remember: relate your experience and interests to the job description above.  SPEAK TO THE PROMPT.  Don’t yammer on about how awesome you are generally, because you’re not.  Managers have a huge fear of hiring someone who doesn’t work out who they can’t get rid of.  Set their minds at ease.  Always remember that you are being hired to bring more money into the company than you cost in wages, benefits and taxes.  Make them believe you will do this.  This is especially true for jobs that pay a lot of money.  If you’re getting high pay, you’d better deliver on it.
The Team
Interviews are conducted by your direct manager and your potential team.  While you’re interviewing, ask yourself, “Can I work for/with these people? Do I like them? Will they like me?  Where will I be working?”  You’re well advised to be curious and ask probing-but-respectful questions that can help you avoid years of heartache in the future.  Just as managers are afraid of hiring the wrong person, you should be afraid of taking a job with the wrong people.  Almost any job can be good if the team is fun, hardworking, and creative.
Wrap Up
Thank every interviewer for their time.  Figure out how to get them a thank you note before you conclude with each of them. Write thank you notes and deliver them.  [This advice is, IMO, situational. In some jobs it is not expected and might look funny—for example, in on-campus recruitment for legal or banking jobs. -rfm] Follow up with the hiring manager.  Be sure to get his contact information.  Put yourself in the shoes of your hiring manager: interviewing really sucks and it’s hard to find good talent.  If you act like a professional, it’s easy to set yourself apart from your competitors for the job.
Closing thoughts
If you don’t get the job, it doesn’t mean you are a loser.  Rather, the job wasn’t a good fit for you or someone else was better-qualified.  Every interview is an opportunity to get better at interviewing.  I often interview for jobs I am only modestly interested in just to hone my skills.  I find it fun because I know I’m going to win.  Once they think they have to have you, negotiating salary should be pretty easy.
Ask questions in the comments.