Improve your Career Knowledge

When you start to form a career, or just start out in your first job you will find that there isn’t a lot to worry about as far as what the company expects from you. You’ll have a fairly defined set of tasks, and often these will be something worthy of an entry level employee. So don’t worry too much about being a star employee on day one, you will have time to adjust and become part of the firm. However, as time goes on, you’ll find that in order to get promoted or get a raise in salary, you will have to outshine your peers.

Entry Level Jobs

As we mentioned above, with your first entry level job, you won’t have too much expectation put on your from the management of the company. Your immediate boss may pressure you to be your best, but overall the company will know full well that you are just early in your career. As you start off with the company you will spend time learning the culture and learning about why and how the business works and where they earn their money. This early on knowledge about the business and what makes it tick can help you to drive your future with the company or in the industry.

Your goal in this time, will be to understand why the business is working and how they make their money. The reason why you want to know how they make their money, is because the people in these areas are typically those paid the best at those firms. In general these can be referred to as “front office” jobs, as opposed to “back office” jobs. The front office jobs are typically client facing like sales, marketing, development, production, etc. The “back office” jobs on the other hand are commonly finance, accounting, computer support, mail, etc. The back office jobs will typically pay less than the front office jobs. The number of back office jobs is often closely correlated to the success of the front office employees.

Mid Career Jobs

Building upon a base of knowledge will help to propel your career in both responsibility and salary over the years. The goal for most employees will be to grow both professionally and financially, or simply put, to get raises and promotions. To build a career you’ll want to have a number of different roles, that will give you a base of experience to draw from. Hiring managers may like this because it shows that you have a broader set of experience. You will also want to work for a larger organization if you can because this will give you a better opportunity to receive more training, and stay closer to cutting edge technology or processes.

So, if you find that you are not advancing in your career at the mid level, or that you aren’t getting the promotions or raises that you hope for, it may be time to move on. When you find yourself in a stagnant career, you’ll have to first make sure that you assess what is exactly stagnant. It may be totally possible that your career has hit a plateau, but that may just be a temporary settling point before you move to a higher level. I have a friend who worked for 25 years at the same company, he hit the maximum pay for his position, and just only recently he was promoted to the management of the company. So, even if you hit a ceiling, you’ll have to assess what your opinion is and also try to understand what may happen if you stay. Do take careful consideration before making a hasty decision.

Late Career jobs

Later in your career, you mostly rely on what knowledge your have built up over the years and then you can rely on this to hopefully get better jobs. When you are later in your career you will have a harder time finding good jobs, if you don’t have a good resume or work history. So you will want to make sure that as you move through your career you are building up a base and improving your resume.

It is probably too late to start a career over, or at least one that pays you as well as one based on your career knowledge. So, if money is important to you then you’ll want to stay focused on what you have been building upon in your early and mid stage career. To jump into something new will be like starting over from scratch, and this won’t be easy to do.

How can I get ahead in my career?

The best way to get ahead in your career will be work hard and focus on knowing what you need to do at each stage of your career. The early, mid, late stage cycles are very important for you to understand as you think about improving your knowledge in your career. In the early stage this is to explore your career and to learn about the industry and decide if you like the industry and career overall. The next phase is your mid career and in this phase you’ll want to enhance on your knowledge and it can propel you to make a lot more money than an entry level employee. In the final stage, you’ll probably not want to start over, so you’ll hopefully already have a lot of knowledge in your chosen field that you can rely on to make a good salary.

Negotiate with your boss to get what you want

A lot of employees have the wrong impression about the employer/employee relationship.  This relationship, which definitely defined, and the employer definitely has some advantages, it’s not completely one sided toward your boss.   By this I mean, that while your boss is definitely in charge, they don’t completely control the situation.  And in any two way relationship, each party is in complete control of their destiny…they can each walk away at any time.

So, in the employer/employee relationship it is not true that the Boss holds all the cards in the negotiation.  As the employee let’s not forget that at any time we can find other employment.  You never want to walk away on the spot, but if you feel so inclined, you can start the job search at any moment in the day, and hopefully land a better job that suits your situation.  So, the main point here, is that in any negotiation each party has the ultimate power to walk away.  The boss can fire the employee, and the employee can say “I’m outta here”.   Right?

This is a basic tenet of the power of negotiation, it is the power to walk away.  And any great negotiator will use this power as a bargaining chip to hopefully tilt the negotiation in their favor.  So with this new found information, it must be used cautiously and with great discretion.  Because let’s not forget who has the upper hand…your boss does.  And so, we need to approach our negotiation very carefully and do it in a kind/gentle/sincere way.  Here are a few tips:

1.)  Let your boss know that you care:  Let them know that you love and care about the organization.  This is essential to letting them know that you are both really on the same side.

2.)  Let them know how valuable you are:  You don’t want to come off as disgruntled or a PITA( google it if you don’t know the meaning 🙂 ), but instead that you are setting a win/win situation for both you and the company.

3.)  Let them know that you have certain value:  Tell them gently what have you been up to.   You want to make it known that you are really in this company for the long haul, and that you are on their side.  This will make them feel that you are here to help, and that they need to keep you around to make this company a better place.

4.)  Discuss a road map for your personal growth:  How can you grow at the firm?  Ask them directly what can you do to get your career growth into blast off mode.  You want to work towards much higher things at the company, and you are asking for their guidance to make this happen.

5.)  Let them know your goals:  “I want to be a supervisor”, “I want to take on a new role”, etc.  Don’t be bashful, but instead be direct and assertive, in a kind and non-disgruntled way.  After you’ve setup the conversation using the previous tips, they will not be at all surprised with your let them know your goals.  This will probably be impressed that you are Alpha, or ‘A’ player.

All of life is a negotiation, and use this website and our personal growth postings, to help you improve on your ability to get more from your company.  Let’s face it you add tremendous value to your company, and ultimately you want to be compensated for this dedication and commitment.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more money when starting a job

For a recent graduate from college or grad school getting that first job is sometimes both scary and daunting.  There are internal challenges that we all face in knowing how to value ourself and the skills that we bring to the table.   It is not always apparent or easy to define just what you are worth, and how to go about getting a boost in salary when you start a job.  There are some factors that we can discuss here that will help you to access your situation, and to figure out just how you want to go about getting extra salary or benefits when you start that new job.  Lets discuss a top 5 list for tips to get more salary when starting a new job.

1.)  Know the range of salaries for the job you are seeking.

This first tip is essential to getting the most from your new employer.  You will want to ensure that you have a realistic and basic assumption for what your approximate value is.  This value will be different for each employer, and for each type of job that you will be seeking.  Some of this is intuitive or obvious, but it definitely begs to be mentioned and it will help you get more.  So…

First, do a little research and talk to friends in the industry, or do some Google searches to help get a basic idea for this type of job that you are looking for.  If you are an accounting job seeker, you can search in Google for “entry level accounting job salaries”.  This will lead you do websites that can help you to further define what  you are looking to earn.  You may end up on a website called Glassdoor.com, which is aimed at getting real employees to share their salary history anonymously.

Next, if you are still in school don’t be afraid to ask your peers, classmates, or professors to give you some insight.  This will be invaluable to set your expectations right.

Finally,  and a great way to do this will be to use a website like Monster.com, Indeed.com, or other online job board.  Many job listings will actually tell you what the starting salary will be for your job.

2.)  Have an idea what is essential for your salary and benefits.

Once you have an idea about the type of role your are looking for, you’ll want to have an idea what you need to make to survive or thrive.  So, you’ll want to know about what you need:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vacation Days
  • Sick Days
  • Car Stipend
  • Cell Phone Stipend
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone provided.
  • Snacks or meals provided.
  • Entertainment benefits like professional  sports and other events.

These are just a few of the benefits or perks or salary add ons that you can use as extra ways to boost your salary.

3.  Size yourself up, and know how you fit into the organization

Let’s face it and be real, your importance to the organization will ultimately have a major impact on how much salary and benefits you get from them.  If your skillset is a dime a dozen, you may need to set yourself apart in ways to get an extra salary boost.  BUT…don’t worry with a little creative thinking in most jobs you can do this, and we’ll discuss this in the following items.

Once you start to understand how much your should make, and how your fit into the organization then you’ll be armed with more information to go after getting a higher salary.

Is making more money more important that the job you are seeking?  Maybe you want a couple of years of experience before moving on to the next phase in your career.  Let’s be real that a job is a job, and while you give to your employer at 100%, it may not be the end all for what you are hoping for.  So if you are gleaning extra from the company like exposure to a new technology, or management experience, or a certain company name on your resume.  Let’s not forget that a salary is not the only important aspect that an employee can get from working for a company.

4.)  Asking for more money…THE IMPORTANT PART

Your approach has to be something like this…and common with the items below:

  • I love this company…
  • I really like working here…
  • I want to be here for a long time(maybe a white lie)…
  • How can I grow with the organization…
  • BUT…I feel like I can feel better about the job if I were to make $??,???? more in salary and ????? in benefits.
  • Based on my research…this is more of a competitive salary.
  • How can I make myself more valuable and worth more to the firm?
  • What can I do now to earn this salary?
  • Is there any way that I can start for this salary and benefit?

NOW…you don’t want to rattle these off in rapid fire to either your boss, hiring manager, or the HR person.  But you want to weave them into a carefully scripted narrative and discussion…Make sense?

Hopefully, using this approach of becoming part of the team and on board for success will help you to get those extra dollars!

5.)  Repeat, Recycle, Revisit, Restate

You never want to let your employer off the hook!!!  LOL.  By this I mean, that your understanding of your wealth and importance to the firm/company is not a one time discussion that you should have with your boss or employer.  You will need to revisit this topic with them time and time again to ensure that you are always moving up at the company and becoming a more integral person on the team.

ESSENTIAL TIP:  If you come from a place of being disgruntled or upset with your salary, or your benefits…this isn’t the right approach.  Typically an approach of “YOU OWE ME!” will not yield good results for you.  And an approach like this will usually backfire, and may even start your exit from the company.  If you really are upset with the company…then do everyone a favor…and especially yourself…and find a new job 🙂

But…for most people if you stay on the tip of “I love this place”, “How can I grow?”, “How can I get promoted?“, then you’ll find that you may just get that raise, promotion, or initial salary that you were hoping for!!!  Good Luck.

Dating at the Office

Let’s face it, most of us spend…most of our time at the office.  And so the idea of dating someone at the office can sound exciting and may be a fun thing to do in the short run.  But with this excitement, comes a bunch of perilous issues that can derail your growing career, and in the long run dating at the office can be a career affecting activity.  So let’s discuss office dating below.

Peril #1:  Since many relationships end in breakup, you most likely will be faced with people knowing what happened.  Break up’s are never easy, but a break up at the office with a coworker can be daunting. You may find that you are now in the midst of a public display of your personal life at the office.  Let’s face is, sometimes during a breakup you see one person who goes off of the emotional rails…and let’s it all out in the open.  So, if you get unlucky and have a dramatic person who you were involved with, be ready to have your dating history shared around the office.

Peril #2:  If the first relationship doesn’t work out…can you date a second person?  Let’s face it, you just can’t go around the office like it’s a dating pool.  After that first messy breakup, you will be tainted or used merchandise.  It is possible that your first breakup was done with respect and privacy…but not likely.  More than likely you’ve now started to build a reputation for yourself, and people will know about you and what you’ve done around the office.  So…if you then try to go through a series of dating at the office, you may be known as a player and as a person to avoid…by girls in the office.  And let’s not loose sight of the fact that the goal of your professional life is to move up, get more respect, earn more money, etc.   You will want to ensure that you don’t start to paint yourself in a negative way among coworkers.

Peril #3Either a male or female can claim sexual harassment in the workplace.   In today in 2018 we’ve all heard of Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement.  We’ll this is a movement that is exposing a lot of men who have taken advantage of women by using their positions of power.  Let’s realize that you may yourself too far out over your ski’s if you start pursuing the opposite sex at the office, ESPECIALLY, if you aim to date someone who is beneath you on the corporate ladder.  Consider yourself duly warned… 🙂

Peril #4More and more companies now just flat out prohibit dating in the office, so check out your employee handbook.

Peril #5It can be a major distraction.  Regardless of whether the relationship works out, or doesn’t work out it is certainly going to be a distraction from your getting your professional goals accomplished quickly.  You may quickly find yourself having heart 2 heart talks in the stair wells, arguing on your breaks, feeling obligated to have every lunch together, getting jealous of who you see your partner talking to, etc, etc.  There is certain drama, and distraction that will arise by simply dating someone at the office.

Dating in the office can work out, but in many situations it must be handled carefully and appropriately.  So, think about it, think about it again, and hopefully you’ll realize that you should not dating in the office pond.

So what should you do?  What do we recommend you ask?

The wise choice in all cases is to avoid dating someone who works in your office.   As you can see from the brief list above, that once you start down the path of interest in someone, you can feel excited like this person may be the one.  Well … let’s burst the bubble of that expectation of forever love.  As we all know, most relationships end, and finding your true love is not an easy task.  So, you will want to tread very cautiously, and the prudent or careful person will steer clear of the dating office pool.  Even dipping a toe into the office pond can lead to heartbreak, drama, and professional setback.  Please comment down below with your suggestions for dating in the office and we’ll be sure to include any great suggestions up above in our article.

Ask for that promotion, then ask again!

The key to getting ahead in the workplace, really is simple and attainable by most people.  You’ll have to follow a few simple steps that we’ve outlined in other posts, but don’t worry you can do it!  The key to getting there is in many cases, to express your interest in getting promoted.  How can you do this you ask?  Lets discuss it:

  1. Be a team player:  Let everybody in your universe know that you’re at the company for the long haul.  In order to get ahead, they want to invest in people that are invested in the company.  For example, if your boss knows that you are going to quit in exactly 12 months time…why would he spend the money to send you on a manager training course?  That would be silly and a waste of company money…hopefully this makes sense.
  2. Put in the extra time:  Your boss most likely became the boss, by impressing someone above him/her.  So, if you want to get to that promotion, you’ll have to start off by doing a little bit of impressing yourself.  A great way to do that is to do more work that your peers, or the other people who may be also looking for that promotion.
  3. Make sure your parents own the company:  This is a spoiler alert, but it is here to help you set your expectations, and to be realistic.  It is true that in some work situations, just wont have any upward mobility.  That being said, you still want to go forward with your best foot, and give 100% effort to the company.  It is impossible to know what the future holds, and something may open up that will lead to get that unreachable promotion.
  4. Ask for a promotion, then ask again:  You will want to over a period of time, give suggestions, hints, and direct communication about how you want to move in the company.  This may happen in various situations, and don’t be afraid of being direct.  But the wording is a critical component and we’ll address a few of these comments below.  You can do this over the course of the year, and also at the year end review.

We’ll now that we’ve gone over a few pre-conditions that can set you up for a promotion, lets move on to the asking part of it.  Here are a few suggestions to use when asking for a promotion:

  • Ask your boss if they have some time to chat for a couple minutes.  Once you have their attention, you can start out by saying that you really like the company and you want to be an integral part of the team.  With that said you want to discuss a path for moving up in the company.   Your boss may be a little caught off guard by your forwardness, but I would follow up with something like this:  ” I don’t expect a promotion NOW, but I’d like to talk about a way that I can help the company to grow.”    Now this part, will take some thinking on your part to understand what is needed at your company and what makes it more profitable or successful.  If you are at a place that sells things, maybe you can ask about how you can start a new initiative to increase annual sales.

 

Asking for that promotion, is a great way to boost yourself in the eyes of your boss.  After you ask them for a promotion, make sure that you aren’t coming off in a disgruntled type of way.  That is the worst thing you can do.  Instead you want to phrase it as:  “Man I love this place…what else can I do to help out”.   Best of Luck.

 

 

How to win in the game of office politics

For a business newbie, the only politics at the office are discussions about either Barack Obama, or Donald Trump at the water cooler.  But this isn’t at all what I’m referring to.  And if you don’t know what office politics are, you should stop, get out a pen, and start to take notes because you have not been playing the game correctly.

For starters, Wikipedia defines office politics as :  Workplace politics is the process and behavior in human interactions involving power and authority.  And this is a great starting description of what exactly office politics is all about, but let me break it down for you into more real world examples.  Be sure to read on because there will be some tips, tricks, and guides to help you boost yourself at the company you work for.  Let’s start out with some definite must haves for office politics.

MUST HAVES

    1. You must have a good attitude in the workplace – This means that while in the office you must put your best foot forward at all times, and try to keep a smile on your face.  This is essential for any good office politician.  You can think about real politicians, and how they traverse through countless negative interactions, they seem to never loose their cool.  You too must garner this as a way of life while within the office.
    2. Never loose your cool with either bosses, peers, or subordinates – A great way to torpedo, or sink, your career is to fly off the handle and let someone really know how you think.  The boss or owner will not like this for one of many reasons, and let’s bullet point them here:-  If you get into it with another employee, or peer, you have started a problem that your boss must now address.  I guarantee that your boss will view this a distraction for the business that you should be attending to.  And worst of all, if you are blamed as the starter of the drama, you may be on the fast track to the unemployment lines.-  Getting reported to HR…Oooops.  Well in today’s world of employment you have to be very careful about what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to.  Yes, that’s a lot to consider, but people have been written up for saying off hand remarks at after hours happy hours, after hours dinners, or work events.  The best thing that you should do, is to keep it friendly, and polite, and team focused.
    3. Be a Team Player – Now, some of my comments here are situation dependent, and you’ll have to assess your own situation to determine what is right.  You never want to engage in non-professional activity or requests that go outside of your basic job description.  Also, you never want to do anything sexual, illegal, or just plain wrong.   BUT… with disclaimers out of the way, let’s all try to focus on the point here.  And that point is, that you should try to always make your boss happy, and also make her/his life a little easier.  It’s a fine line to walk here, because you also have to keep a high value for yourself, and be thought of as someone who is necessary and essential for the growth of the company.   The spirit of this “must have”, is that you must have the attitude of doing whatever it will take to help the company prosper.   Use your best judgement of course.
    4. Put in extra work – Don’t be afraid to put in a little extra work to get ahead in life.  You’ll have to strategically take the extra work, ensure that you are getting noticed for this extra work, without seeming like a “brown nose”.  So, you can say things like “sure, I’ll take on that project” from time to time, and you’ll be rewarded for it in the long run.  The opposite of this will be to never take that extra project, to always leave early.  This probably isn’t the reputation that you want to keep.
    5. Your reputation proceeds you – This means that before some people ever meet you they may learn about you through comments of coworkers, your boss, or through human resources.  This is essential and crucial part of scaling the corporate ladder.  You don’t want to get overly drunk at the Xmas party, and go home late or early with a coworker.  This is exactly what will forever crown you as “NOT MANAGEMENT MATERIAL”.  Or, if you are already management, your boss may not take kindly to this behavior and it may subject the company to sexual harassment law suits.

Develop a  winning Strategy

Winning at office politics really isn’t that hard, and often can be described similar to being a star employee.  So how exactly do you  implement your plan.  Well you can start off by implementing the brief list of must haves up above.  You’ll want to:

    1. Put in extra work.
    2. Let your bosses know you are a team player.
    3. Ask for promotions.
    4. Let your bosses know you are in it for the long haul.
    5. Never loose your professionalism at the office, or a work function.
    6. Never show you are disgruntled.  Always present a positive attitude.

This an abbreviated list, that we plan to keep adding to with the help of our readers.   So please comment down below and let us know your tips, tricks, and suggestions for conquering the workplace and becoming a boss.