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Are You Unhappy At Work? Make A Change!

30 May

I was recently talking to a good friend about how her job was going when she told me that she pretty much does her boss’s job without her boss’s pay. When her husband suggested that she go into the office the following day and ask for a promotion I totally agreed. Here is a woman who has been busting her ass at work for a very long time without being properly recognized. So we all waited for her to say “Yes, I will go ask for that promotion,” but she didn’t. Instead she seemed uneasy with the idea and said that while she did do things outside of her pay and skill level, she was afraid of having to learn something new. She was also uncomfortable with the idea of managing people who were at least five years her senior.

While I understand that asking for a promotion and a pay raise can be extremely nerve-racking, I am of the opinion that if you are unhappy you need to make a change. If you continue to go above and beyond everyone’s expectations without asking for more your company may never give you more. This is what we call taking advantage of the little man. All of us do it, and if you don’t do something about it you will find yourself looking back ten years from now wondering why you didn’t just ask.

That’s it. All you have to do is ask. And as you have heard your entire life, all they can say is No. If you think about it that way it makes the whole process a little less scary.  So, if you feel that you are working harder than your co-workers but are in a lower level position or are not being paid well enough, JUST ASK.

But how do you know when it is appropriate to ask for a promotion or pay increase? The truth is that there is no “appropriate” time to ask. The “best” opportunity to ask will probably be at your annual review, but if that has already come and gone then you need to think of other options. Try scheduling a meeting with your boss and say that you would like to discuss how you are doing at work. If you feel that is too formal for your work environment then simply walk into your boss’s office when he/she seems the least busy and ask if you can talk to him/her. Yes I know it is scary, but you can do it!

Before going in to speak to your boss think about how your company is growing and changing. For example, are people from your team being moved to different positions? Is your company merging with another? Are there openings in a position that you are interested in? When companies are changing and growing it presents a great opportunity for you to go in there and ask for a promotion.

But the economy sucks right now so they probably won’t give me what I want, right? WRONG! Yes I know that the economy is not at its greatest, but you have to understand that if you are a valuable employee (and if they are smart) they will do what they can to please you and keep you at the company. Obviously if your company is going under it may not be the best time to ask for a promotion, but if that is the case I would suggest looking for a backup job.

Make sure you can tell your boss exactly what you have brought to the table. Asking for a promotion is one thing if you are actually making the company grow or better off, but it is an entirely different thing if you aren’t bringing your company any benefit. Make sure that you are prepared to defend your promotion by showing your boss how valuable you are to the company. At my last job I had a meeting with my boss about the pay increase I was promised. At that meeting I went in prepared to tell him that I had saved the company X amount of dollars in legal fees that year and had accomplished things that no one else had accomplished at the company. In the end my boss was more than happy to give me the pay increase, and so will yours if you can show him/her why you deserve it.

Make sure you know what you want before you go speak to your boss. A lot of times we assume that our bosses have these big plans for us and know which direction we are going within the company. The truth is that a lot of times your boss doesn’t know what you really want out of the company and whether you are truly happy. So when you go to ask for a promotion be prepared for your boss to ask you what it is you want. Do you want more responsibility? Do you want to manage others? How much of a salary increase do you think is appropriate? Be prepared to show that people working in your field and performing your responsibilities make X amount of dollars before you ask for an increase in salary.

If you get the promotion or pay increase good for you! Be happy and celebrate, but make sure that you understand your boss’s expectations. Your best bet will probably be to have another meeting with your boss in which you go over everything that your new position entails and make a list of exactly what your boss expects from someone in your new position.

At the end of the day asking for a promotion or a pay increase is NOT easy, but it is necessary if you find yourself completely unhappy at work. Remember, we all have the power to change our own lives, so if you are unhappy go out and do something about it.

Have you ever asked for a promotion or pay increase? How did you go about asking and how did your boss respond?

Tips For Succeeding At Your Company: How to Climb the Corporate Ladder

17 Feb

So you landed the job. Good for you! Now you want to know how to move up the ranks from an entry-level employee to a manager or executive. The first step to climbing the career ladder is networking with your coworkers. Now, I know you might be wondering why you have to network when you have already landed the job. I understand your reluctance to pop into everyone’s office and say hello, to ask people out to lunch, or to ask people for their advice and opinions when you feel lost. The truth is that I have problems doing those very same things. But, as we all know, it is not what you know, it’s who you know. This includes who you know within your company.

Here are some tips to networking within your company so that you can be considered for that next big position that opens up:

Meet People Outside of Your Department

Mingle, mingle, mingle. That is all you have to do. Sure, it may be awkward at first, especially if some of the people at your work are people with whom you would never normally be friends with. But, the more people you know, the better off you will be when a new position opens up. Meeting the people who work in departments outside of your own will not only allow you to see a glimpse into their daily work life, but it will allow them a chance to get to know what you do and what you bring to the table. So, get out there and socialize! And I don’t mean just talk to the people whose jobs you want. Talk to the staffers, the assistants, the receptionists. Talk to the top-dog execs and the lower level employees. Talk to everyone.

When Someone Asks if You Can Help Them, Say YES

When I first started my current job my boss told me one thing – if you ever tell someone that you don’t have time to do their work they will never come back to you with another assignment. When people come and ask you for help, it is because they need it. The last thing they want to hear is you tell them that you are too busy. Taking work from a different department will allow you to become acquainted with that department and will allow the managers within that department to consider you if and when any other positions open up.

Sure, taking on extra projects may mean more work, but it could mean more possibilities. I was originally hired only as a litigation associate. As it currently stands, the litigation department is a little slow. So I have been seeking work from the real estate/transactional department. By reaching out to the real estate attorneys I have found myself with more work and better opportunities, and I find that some of the attorneys are starting to come to me with work on a regular basis. All you have to do is volunteer to help and I bet they will take you up on that offer.

Make People Trust You

Trust is usually predicated on not lying or being a good friend, but in business trust is based upon your ability to produce good results. If you really want to move up in your company you can’t be producing half-ass work product. Make sure that everything you do is perfect. Sure, you are bound to make mistakes, and that is ok, but make sure to try your best not to. If someone wants you to provide market statistics to them the following morning, make sure you are adequately prepared. Don’t walk in there and stumble over your own words because you have no idea what you are talking about. The more people trust you the more work you will get, and the more work you get the more noticeable you will be to those sitting in the higher positions. The more noticeable you are the more you will considered for new positions.

Find a Mentor

Everyone has those days where things just aren’t going right, you just can’t find the right answer, or you are feeling completely stressed and exhausted. What better than to be able to walk into someone’s office, shut the door, and vent? Everyone needs this. Everyone also needs someone they can turn to when they have those inevitable “stupid” questions that they don’t want to ask anyone else. That is why we all need mentors. A mentor will help you see the bigger picture when you are feeling stressed out. They will help you understand how the company works and how certain people like certain tasks performed. When you first start out at a company seeking a mentor may be awkward or challenging, but the more people you meet and the more relationships you build the easier it will be. Ask someone if you can take them to lunch and pick their brain, it’s that simple.

Make it Known That You Are in it For the Long Haul

Oftentimes, especially with us younger Gen Y folks, employers have a hard time investing time and money into training when they think (or know) that the young employees will leave as soon as a better opportunity comes along. Sure, this may be true for you, but don’t make it known. In fact, tell them and show them that you are there to help the company and you are there to work hard. Employers want to see that you are dedicated. So, if they ask for volunteers to work on a Saturday, sign up. If they need help with extra-curricular activities, sign up. Do anything you can to show them that you care about the company and are there for the long haul.