You didn’t get the promotion and are totally bummed. But were you worthy of a promotion in the first place? Over at US News and World Report today, I share the seven reasons you didn’t get the corner office (yet). Read it here.
I have had a lot of side jobs, from blogging to consulting to working for my boyfriend’s company where my boss was on the Board. In every case, I cleared what I was doing on the side with the company that paid me a full-time salary. So, I know how nerve-wracking and potentially awkward the conversation can be. Over at US News and World Report today, I give five tips to help convince your boss that moonlighting is actually good for everyone involved. Read it here.
People are afraid of asking for a raise now more than ever. In fact, the recession is providing a good excuse for employees to not ask for more money, and for companies not to give any. But high performers can and should be compensated.
To get a raise, you first need to be aware of the three contingencies raises are based on:
Past Performance (and the learning curve)
All jobs have learning curves. What took you eight hours a day at the start of your position will slowly taper off until you start to get bored six months in. Good employees realize this and try to shorten the learning curve as quickly as possible by completing stellar and quality work right away. How quickly you’re able to shorten the curve often determines how quickly your first review and raise will be.
Future Opportunity (and taking on more responsibility)
Once you master your initial set of responsibilities, it’s time to start looking for more. You should first look for the low-hanging fruit; tasks that have been overlooked in which you can easily shine in. This might be tracking and measurement, or the suggestion of a weekly meeting. Whatever it is, you should make sure your superiors know you are looking to do and be more.
Second, you should also be strategically thinking about your next step and title in the company. If you want to expand your design role to include rendering in addition to drafting, you should try to take on as many rendering projects as you can before your review. New titles (and the accompanying compensation) aren’t awarded to people who haven’t already been doing the work. In other words, don’t wait for the title to impress.
Many companies won’t have such opportunities for advancement, however – either they aren’t willing or aren’t able – and that’s when you should start looking for a new job.
Market Value (and how adaptable are you)
There are a ton of social media jobs out there right now. There are also a lot of people who can’t execute on social media. Which leaves the people who can in a great negotiating position.
For those positions that don’t carry such great demand – say, journalists – you’ll need to figure out how to keep yourself and your position relevant. This doesn’t mean saving the entire journalistic profession, but being creative in the responsibilities you take on. It’s good to think of yourself in both positions at once, however, since the market varies and changes from year to year.
Once you understand the three contingencies, it’s time to put together an action plan:
1. Be proactive. Bad companies will put off your review on purpose. Good companies will too. There’s no reason for employers to pay you more if you’re not asking for it. Be proactive in checking in with your boss throughout each month, and scheduling reviews often. It’s often helpful to schedule your next review at your current one (“I’d like to meet again in three months to talk about the possibility of a new title and an additional raise.”) When you set up a meeting with the expectation that you’ll be discussing a raise, the conversation becomes easier.
2. Research and prepare. Even if you don’t show your boss, prepare a document of your past accomplishments and proposed future responsibilities. This gives you a list of relevant talking points during your meeting. In that document, include a salary number and back it up with research on what other people in similar positions are making. I recommend listing the number a bit larger than you expect so that you have some negotiating room and can meet your employer in the middle.
3. Practice. Just because you have everything written down doesn’t mean you won’t stumble in the meeting. Practice phrasing some of your key accomplishments and especially practice stating how much salary you’d like. Just say it aloud a few times to make it less scary.
4. Negotiate. Negotiating for a raise is incredibly hard, made even more so by the fact that your boss has probably just finished a glowing review, and it seems like an especially inopportune time to ask for more. (Or is that just me?) But not only is it the right time, it’s the only time. Go for it! Some employers will tell you right away whether the amount you’re asking for is something they can do, others will want to check and get back to you. Be prepared for either possibility.
5. Negotiate again. It’s very rare for a company not to be able to give a high performer a raise, even in the recession. When more money really is impossible – say, when you work at a University and they’ve declared that not only will there be no raises, but there will be pay cuts – you should still ask for more. You don’t have to ask for more money, but make sure you’re asking for more of something.
For instance, a smart woman I know negotiated additional paid time-off in lieu of more zeros on her paycheck. Just be careful that you’re not setting a precedent that the ability to work from home, gain additional stock options, or attend a conference is how you want to be compensated in the future. Unless, of course, it is.
What do you think? Is it difficult to get a raise in recession? If you’ve been successful, what were your strategies?
I get around three to four pitches a day from PR firms and they all suck. Some of them suck so badly I want to re-post them on my blog and make fun of them, but that’s not what I do here. Yet.
You don’t want to make their mistakes. Maybe you want your old boss to give you advice on your current job situation, or need a restaurant recommendation, or you want a blogger to write about reality TV star suicides. Whatever it is, here are four rules that apply:
1. Be personal.
Mass emails are interruptive advertising. They are the commercials I skip, the billboards I glaze over and the fliers that line the trash. If you have someone’s email, you should have their name. Use it.
But a name isn’t personal enough anymore. You know what’s personal? Showing that you respect me enough to know something about me. Anything. Talk about your mutual friend, your fellow obsession with brussels sprouts, or how you respect their blog/company/daughter and why.
Extreme targeting through the cultivation of conversations and relationships is the future of advertising. Big companies will do this by creating spaces where consumers will come to them and receive personalized value in return. You can do this by making it fun, easy and enjoyable to enter into a conversation with you and by showing the value you provide. You’re human. Act like it.
2. Be persistent.
There is no such thing as a perfect pitch. One, because it has to be customized for each person, and two because you can’t possibly know what each person will respond to unless you’ve worked with them before. Even then, people are fickle.
Everyone makes the first call. Everyone leaves one message. And everyone is also counting on you to give up. Maybe not the first time, but certainly the second or third. Don’t be a wuss. If your request is important, keep trying. People are busy, or maybe you didn’t pitch well enough the first time, or maybe they just want to see if you have the gumption to keep playing.
During college I was the top fundraiser for my university foundation. Here’s why. We had to make five asks in a phone call. Ninety percent of my co-workers would stop after one ask or get uncomfortable after the second. I made all five. Don’t give up.
3. Be specific.
People can’t read minds. Trust me, I’ve tested every boyfriend I’ve had. Nothing.
Most people don’t have specific requests. They send information or they send praise, but no call to action. Tell me what you want. It’s great that you’re writing an e-book on careers or it sucks that you’re having problems at work. And I’m glad that you love my blog, but is there something I can do for you? Then tell me. Follow through. Close the deal. It’s easy to do this by ending a conversation with a specific request:
“Can I count on you to give $100?”
“Does a 1:00 pm call on Thursday work?”
“Will you attend my restaurant opening?”
4. Say thank you. For the love of God.
My last job was all about keeping young professionals in the city. So when a candidate said she had been rejected by a local organization for a job, I asked her who the contact was. When it turned out to be someone I knew well, I offered to call my contact and ask that person to take a second look at the candidate. My contact agreed, the candidate was interviewed and was subsequently hired for a position.
And I never heard a thank you. Ever. That sort of thing happened all the time and what irks me even more is that it still does. Constantly. You have to show appreciation.
People don’t help you out of the goodness of their hearts. People help for two reasons: 1) they want to feel good when their advice or assistance pays off, and 2) they think by helping you, they can help themselves.
When I got my current position, I called the friend who got me in the door immediately to thank her. And then I sent her flowers. Oftentimes, when you ask for something, there’s not much you’re able to give back in return. A simple thank you goes a long way.
What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Share your practical and creative tips below.
Big Brother and I talked a couple weeks ago perched atop Bascom Hill, the steepest hill in Madison, and I wore my steepest heels. The sun was bright with the resigned smile it holds between summer and fall, and I held on to the edge of my wrap dress, dangerously flirting with the wind. Big Brother stood simply, calmly.
“I make you nervous, don’t I?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said. My weight shifted from one heel to the other. “I feel like you don’t trust me yet.”
“No. I trust you. I have no reason not to trust you,” he said.
I nodded and he nodded and we looked at each other, smiling. When Big Brother smiles, you smile too, like a game of telephone, passing the message on. It’s charisma and it’s indefinable.
Big Brother and I are still figuring each other out. We’re figuring out the trust thing, and the loyalty thing. We’re building it. Because you can’t just say “trust me,” and believe everything will work out. That’s a movie ending, not a business decision. Trust has to be earned. Loyalty has to be created.
Big Brother knows this. He doesn’t use his success to shepherd me into trusting him. He expects that I’ll earn his trust and he’ll earn mine.
Trust and loyalty are big deals when you’re in a position of leadership, because everyone wants to be your friend for specific reasons. And everyone else doesn’t like you, for much of the same reasons.
“Don’t take it personally,” Big Brother told me as we sat across from each other after work. A glass of water sat in rings of sweat in front of me.
“Okay,” I said, running my fingertips along the table and through the water. I was thinking about the meeting I had in an hour, because after work is never really after work anymore.
“No. Look at me in the eyes,” he said. I looked up, amused. He was not amused. “Do you understand, truly? Don’t take it personally.”
“Okay,” I said. I nodded, looking directly at him, holding his gaze until he was nodding back, satisfied that I understood.
Big Brother and I are still figuring each other out. Because real trust and real loyalty takes time. These exchanges put another stone in place. Information is the foundation. Honesty is the mortar holding it together. There is no other way if you want to build a business relationship that can stand the cycle of the game.
There is no happy ending. The game cycle is a constant push and pull of what you build, and what you tear down.
Update: This post was also published at Damsels in Success.
We all want things in life. Perhaps it’s joining the Peace Corps or maybe it’s grinding on the dance floor with your date. Whatever it is, you have to persuade and influence others to get what you want. There’s one secret to persuasion:
Simply be quiet. And listen.
People don’t care about your opinion anyway. They care about their own opinions. They care about themselves first and moving their own agenda forward. Your agenda can be the leader of the pack. You start by listening.
Lobbyists are particularly good at the art of persuasion. We should all become lobbyists in our lives, in fact. They “are masters at conversations with outcome wrapped into them.” Lobbyists listen. They sit back and observe a situation. Acutely and actively. They have a slew of tools up their sleeve, but rarely use any, preferring instead to painstakingly craft a new tool for each project. The right tool.
This is because every situation and every person is unique. Lobbyists have been doing for years what the mass consumer market is now clamoring to figure out – customization of an experience or interaction. It’s no secret I want to feel special. You want to feel special. We all do. Someone listening to you or me is the easiest way to get our hearts swelling and smiles spreading.
Lobbyists are stealthy creatures, but they don’t lie. They can’t. There is no negotiating power if you lie. Instead, you have to make the truth as attractive as possible. You must minimize negative or potentially harmful situations. While your target is becoming warm and fuzzy inside, position yourself for the win. Learn all you can about the other person, and then use it.
Exhibit the strengths of your proposition so the other party feels good about their decision. Make it so that they would be doing more harm than good by disagreeing with you.
The outcome is one in which everyone is happy, the effervescent win-win.
We’re all racing towards the finish line, clutching the books of our opinions and hopes and desires to our chests, eager to claim first prize. Good lobbyists know every crinkle in the paper, every smear of ink. They know the pages you threw away containing the sordid details of your affair. They pick up the sheets that fly out of your tunnel vision, as you rush haphazardly towards the end. They know what you’ve underlined and what you haven’t even written yet. And they use all of this information so that when you cross the line in fifth place, you’re still ecstatic to have been part of the game.
To get what you want, to be a good lobbyist, you have to understand the rules of this game so well that you can manipulate how the race ends, and what it means to win. To get ahead:
1) First, listen.
3) Use it.
4) Everyone wins.