At the end of our trip, we visited Graceland one…
And that’s why we need to talk. I don’t often write here about work, but things are heating up a bit. The World Economic Forum in Davos is bringing the spotlight on women in business – or the lack thereof. Liz Lemon renegotiated her contract. Plus, I recently mentored two very bright ladies and was surprised to hear their career perspectives.
Obviously, gender parity is an complex issue with so many factors at play – but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about you.
So, I thought I would share a couple rules that have served me well in my career. I hope this same advice that helped me will help you:
1. Always negotiate your starting salary. No matter what your job. No matter what the situation. At hiring, you have the best possible opportunity to work out a good deal. Do your research, know what you’re worth, aim high. Think about it: every time you get a raise, it will be based on your initial salary. If you don’t ask, not only could you be leaving money on the table at the start, you’ll be putting yourself behind at every future raise.
2. Renegotiate every six months. Don’t wait for annual reviews. Champion yourself by taking a look at your performance at least twice a year. Think about your accomplishments and talk to your boss. If you have kicked ass, ask for a reward. One of the best pieces of advice I got was: “If you ask and get turned down, that’s fine. If you ask and get accepted right away, you should have asked earlier.”
3. Reverse psychology. An awesome trick is to flip your question around. Instead of “what should I be doing better” ask “what is keeping me from __promotion/new title/getting the job/etc____?” It’s a lot harder question for a boss to answer. Take the response to heart. Document it, work on it and bring it up again when you’ve done it.
4. Do your homework. Know the ins and outs of stock options if you’re taking a startup job. Keep your resume up to date. Always know what your salary should be. Ask lots of questions about benefits and details of a job offer before you accept. Find mentors and friends who can give you advice. When you’re armed with knowledge, it’s easier to stand up for yourself.
5. Always, always ask. It’s the consistent theme here. From asking for a bigger paycheck to asking a mentor to review a contract, asking is the most important thing. If you have to, bribe yourself to do it (I’ve used ice cream) or simply pretend that it’s no big deal. Big shout-out to Ann Tardy and her book Life Moxie on this one. Ann and I shared a speaking tour a few years ago and her talks were so inspiring – I owe her a lot.
Okay, off the soapbox for me. If you have any questions, I’d love to help!