Archives for April 2018

Don’t Stress Out about Stress…Yet

Photo courtesy of Sarah (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/). Some rights reserved.I have been trying all morning to find a Quartz article that other articles (Apost.com) have been referencing regarding bad bosses, why people don’t leave them, and how a bad boss can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoking. I couldn’t find this source article, so I won’t cite the statistics as truth – YES! I fact check!

So, I did a little bit more legwork to see if I could find the original research sources (The American Psychological Association, Harvard, and Stanford.) What I found was that a “recent” study being cited, isn’t very recent at all – 2015.

Further, people who cited the original Apost.com article said that the Quartz article quoted the American Psychological Association stated 75% of American workers said that their boss was a “major cause of stress.” I have not been able to validate this either.  It also says 59% of these people would not leave their job in spite of their bad bosses – I also found no validation of this statistic, and I was relieved for that!

Here is what I have been able to validate

An aggregation of 228 different studies found:

  • Those who face major stress at work are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with an illness.
  • People who work long hours are 20% more likely to die sooner.
  • The fear of losing your job increases your chance of having poor health by 50%.

I’ve had many clients over the years who had to leave their jobs because they believed it was making them sick – literally. They weren’t imagining it. Science has proven that stress can negatively impact our health. There are too many citations to reference on this. If you would like proof, go to pubmed.org and enter “stress and disease” in the search bar.  If you are in denial of this, it may even benefit your health, too.

Not all stress is bad. Eustress is the good kind, and further studies indicate that our perception of stress is the real determinant as to whether it will impact us negatively in the form of sickness and disease, or whether it will improve our performance, resilience, and sense of achievement.  Some people bring out their best in stressful situations.

You have to assess your beliefs about stress and know your own stress limits before worrying that your string of sicknesses is related to your job.  A report I found cited the theories and methodologies of some major I/O Psychology thought leaders (Kahn, et. al.,) which purported that a person’s fit to their environment determined whether the job would produce eustress or distress.

Now, how well do you fit your environment?

A bigger question is, if you recognize that your environment does not allow you to thrive and operate at your highest levels, are you going to do anything about it?

The Apost.com article was thought provoking, even if it wasn’t properly referenced. The author, who surmised that survival is why people stay, stated, “Given the present market conditions, it is not an easy decision to quit one’s job and start over entirely.”

I have two things to say:

#1 – Regardless of market conditions, changing jobs is not an easy decision.  For many, this decision impacts not just the individual, but also family members and logistics that may be working. This is the #1 reason I have found why people stay at jobs that cause them (dis)stress. They operate under the notion that the chances of finding something better that also works with their lifestyle is a fantasy.

I’m here to tell you – it’s NOT!  It still won’t be an easy decision, but once you make it, engaging a partner like me will help ensure that you land swiftly and safely in a position that aligns with your lifestyle, values, and professional ambitions.

#2 – There’s nothing at all wrong with today’s market conditions (as of this post, April 2018.) With unemployment at a 10-year-low and wage growth relatively steady since 2010, there’s no need to be scared of this market – as of now. That could change, of course. But I assure you, having coached through the great recession, people were still landing jobs, and companies still needed to hire people. It just became much more competitive, and all the more reason to engage a coach to help you distinguish yourself and leverage your time and visibility effectively.

If you suspect your job is out of alignment in some way and is causing stress that could eventually (or already is) impacting your health, don’t wait any longer to get help. The job market is ripe, and just being in action and having a partner and a plan can greatly reduce your stress.

You don’t have to jump ship; just take the first step and book your free consultation!

How to Stay on the Same Side when Negotiating Salary

Everyone’s only out for themselves.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Maybe that’s what you have been taught. And if you bought it, you will see evidence reinforcing it everywhere. You believe it, and so it is your reality.

If so, the techniques I share in this blog are not for you. If you struggle to give people the benefit of the doubt, you will use negotiation tactics that are defensive. And, if you feel like you are struggling for power and losing, your approach may even border on adversarial.

If you struggle to trust a company even though it seems to be on the up and up, you will assume they are hiding something, and it will reveal itself in due time. In the meantime, you cover all your bases and feel compelled to constantly cover your … butt. In your professional work, if you feel the need to be competitive with others for attention, credit, prominence, and pay, you will assume others go to great lengths to win and that justifies you doing the same.

You are the last person my clients want work with, work for, or hire.

Why? You will most likely insist on being the last one to reveal your ask, even when pressed. You will try to circumvent the people in the company who are expected to ensure policy is followed for fairness and consistency. You may not even realize your bias against human resources.

You won’t believe what I am about to advise, so you might as well stop reading here.

If you consider yourself to be a moral, ethical person who believes that people are generally good and fair, you have found yourself disgusted by some things you have experienced in cut-throat corporate America. Even if you know there are good people out there, you may not have a lot of faith they can stay good in a system that promotes gaining profit (corporate and personal) over all else.

That being said, you want and deserve to be paid fairly. And there are so many great things you want to do with excess income that would enhance your life, help your family, and perhaps serve many others.

I have a deep compulsion to help you earn as much as possible within your market value range.  The truth is everyone wants a fair deal. I want that for you. You want that for you. And I want that for your employer, too. Why? Because when a company gets ROI on its talent, and it is a conscious corporation, it will reinvest profits in its people. And that is what we are all about.

A lot of companies say their people are their number one asset, but how many of them demonstrate it consistently? Finding out if a company really means it is getting easier (and we are working in making it even easier). And these companies will do the right thing by their people – and that’s when everyone wins.

If you want to stay on the same side with your employer during compensation negotiations, the first thing to do is due diligence: qualify that employer as a conscious company. Glassdoor, Top Places To Work lists, and the tenure and growth of its people historically (information you may be able to assess on LinkedIn) are resources you can use to do this. Then, of course, reach out directly to people on the inside to see if what you gather is substantiated.

The second thing you must do is understand what the market pays for your skills, experiences and talents. You can do this through online research on bls.gov, the salary estimates on Indeed (in the left column), reports on salary.com, and Glassdoor data. I recommend that you always ask a local recruiter who niches in your field to validate what you find. Make sure your data is based on local positions, or you adjust them based on your local cost of living.

Next, determine how you uniquely add value to this. In the nearly 12 years I have been a career coach, I have always been able to identify unique qualifiers for my clients, which is the essence of branding. Often there are monetary values attributed to those unique qualifiers, which can be qualities or hard skills. These can either push you into the upper ranges of market value, or move you above market value. Either way, you must be prepared to justify these clearly in a business case for your employer.

Whether you want to make a fair ask that enables the company to get ROI on you, or you are a top performer and the company knows how to leverage and develop you, they will aim to make 1.75x your salary. You may have a role traditionally considered to be in a “cost center” for a company, such as customer or technical support, but make no mistake – each and every role in a company was designed to contribute to the balance sheet in some way. If you’re not directly generating revenue directly, you are making it more possible, or you are helping to reduce costs or avoid shut-down/fines.  When you understand how your role contributes in this way, you can ensure that your ask is fair and that your reasons for believing this can be clearly articulated.

If your research indicates that the market value for your current position won’t meet your quality of life standards, it’s time to re-evaluate your career. And if you are unsure if the market value will support your needed standard quality of life and also provide a retirement you desire with the future quality of life you want, it’s time to get with a financial advisor. I am happy to make a referral. Just private message me.

Notice I haven’t said anything about your prior compensation. In spite of some companies’ and recruiting firms’ practices of determining your future value by your current value, your past or current compensation is not an accurate determination of your future value at all. It may be a reflection, however, of your self-worth. The branding journey we take our clients on helps them feel in alignment with their true market value and overcome the mental mindset that can develop from being underpaid and undervalued.

Lastly, what do you ask for and how do you come to an agreement with your employer while still keeping things friendly? After all, this is the first big decision you will make together. How you come to an agreement sets the tone for the commencement of the partnership, and it will influence your impression of each other from that point forward. Don’t you want to feel like you’re on the same team?  You each have an agenda, but the negotiation is really about finding the overlap and understanding the other party.

I am not one to advise people to refuse to answer questions about desired or expected salary.  Some of my peers, and even mentors, would.  If you feel like you might be taken advantage of by divulging your ask too soon, then you don’t trust this company. Maybe you wouldn’t trust any company? Or perhaps you didn’t qualify them as a company worthy of your trust? If you are the former, you probably should have stopped reading very early on. If you are the latter, do NOT enter into negotiations until you learn that the company is trustworthy, conscious, and invests in its people.

Instead of “holding your cards close to your chest,” I recommend boldly coming out with a reasonable range, data to back it up, and a business case to explain if you are asking for more than what the position usually pays. Keep in mind, ethical or not, when a person hears a range, they focus on what they are inclined to focus on in order to achieve their agenda. An unconscious company will want to get talent for as little money as possible. And a conscious company will not want to overpay for talent, because it hurts the company and inhibits their ability to re-invest in their talent.

Both examples will hear the low end of your range. So right after giving the range, discuss what conditions would have to be met in order for you to accept the low end, then swiftly explain how the company will benefit from investing in you on the high end.  Your low end must still support your current standard of living. Don’t give a low end that will leave you feeling slighted if offered, even though a conscious corporation would offer you good reasons for doing so.

Collegial negotiations are not just dependent what you say, though. It’s really more about how you are being – are you expecting the company will find your ask reasonable and do what they can to bring about the best possible outcome for both parties? If not, you probably should have stopped reading much earlier. This method will not work if you are suspicious. Authenticity is key here.

Lastly, leave the door open for them to ask questions and counter-offer. If a counter-offer seems way off your ask, ask them to help you understand, while giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have their reasons.

True story: I was trained in negotiating with candidates and employers as a recruiter. In my annual review shortly after that I was expecting a raise since I had been promoted in title. As trained, I did my research. In this annual review situation, it’s not customary to make an ask, as you’ve probably experienced. I anticipated my raise to be 50% above what I was making and instead it was a 10% raise. I had been underpaid my whole career prior to that, and armed with this new training, I was ready to earn fair compensation.  My boss, the VP of Sales – a master negotiator, had trained us to engage clients and candidates in further discussion when agendas didn’t align with the request, “Help me understand.” It became an inside joke, but in all fairness, it works, and it worked on him, too. I don’t have a poker face and I’m sure my disappointment in the offer was all over my face, so I took a deep breath and earnestly said, “Help me understand. I did research and based on the data, my compensation should be X.” I pointed to recent successes and things I had done outside of the scope of my role. He wanted to take a closer look at the data himself, and discuss it with the finance department and CEO.  They came back with a raise that was in my range, and a bit above the median. I, thankfully, had a conscious boss and CEO who wanted to pay talent fairly. 

The training I had was not the same as what I see other negotiation coaches promoting. It was designed to help three parties get on the same page, the employer, the candidate and the recruiting firm.  Our agenda was to keep strong relations with the employer to supply future talent needs, and to help our candidates earn as much as possible so that they stick and so that our share increased.  I used this training to increase my own salary by 50% and finally earn market value, and now I’m sharing it with you so that you can earn your fair share too.

 

If you would like to have guidance and support in qualifying conscious employers, understanding your unique market value, formulating and making your ask at the right time, reverse-engineering your career to align with your desired quality of life, and/or crafting counter-offers, e-mail Karen@epiccareering.com with the subject line: Make My Career Epic.

 

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965

Is the Dominant Emotion of Your Company’s Culture Fear? Here’s a Simple Quiz to Find Out.

Photo courtesy of Lesley Van Damme (https://bit.ly/2H9l9Wd). Some rights reserved.

Marketing psychology has taught me that people are motivated to make a change or a purchase in order to either move toward something desirable or away from something undesirable. And the latter tends to be a more powerful motivator for most. I predict in coming years this will shift as a natural evolutionary byproduct of the technological revolution, provided we use technology as a tool for solving our major problems.

It certainly has the potential to, yet it remains unclear how this will translate to effectively solving our people-based problems. For now, a companies’ major tools to address people-based problems are training, standard operating procedures, coaching, and culture.

Some companies manage this better than others. It appears to me, based on job seeker targeting, public stock prices and other evidence of growth, that companies focused on proactively moving in a positive direction culturally are doing better than companies merely trying to avoid major crises. One is driven by desire, while the other is driven by fear. You can liken it to playing offense versus defense.

A very powerful verse from Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer [captured below and mentioned here] helped me realize that when you are focused on the highest good and being the best version of yourself, you no longer have a need to regulate bad behavior.

So, when a company is operating with integrity and effectively nurturing a culture of inclusion, empathy, mutual respect, optimized personal and professional development and acceptance, it rarely needs to focus on problems like harassment, bias, discrimination, disengagement, bullying, ethical violations, and high turnover.

Perhaps you feel I am oversimplifying this, and admittedly, there are other factors that need to be considered as well, such as employee compensation structures and hiring practices. If you follow me, you have certainly heard me stress the importance of self-awareness and how all transformations begin with that. Here again, it is definitely important to have the ability to recognize if this is a systemic issue in your organization.

If your company is adequately able to do this, at least you’re on the front end of what could be a positive evolutionary turn for your company. A company, just like a team, needs both a good offense and defense to win.

What stage of transformation has your company achieved? Are they instituting new policies, practices, procedures or tools based on avoiding problems? Or are they moving toward a more ideal corporate well-being?

As the technical evolution accelerates exponentially, I predict the latter companies are going to survive and the former companies will eventually die. And so, you too must go from playing defense to playing offense. I advise you to plan and manage your career accordingly.

Here is a quiz that will let you know which category your company falls into. If your company falls into the defense category, assess your company’s leadership. Do you feel it has the talent and support to transition into a company that plays offense? If not, that either has to be you, or it’s time to plan your exit.

Tally up how many answers are offense versus defense to see which is dominant.

  1. Does your company provide coaching on emotional intelligence or merely sexual harassment awareness training?

Emotional Intelligence training = Offense

Sexual Harassment training = Defense

Neither = Apathetic = RUN!

  1. Does your company have strict attendance policies or do they operate on an honor system?

Strict clocking in/out = Defense

Honor system = Offense

Nobody tracks attendance and everyone abuses it = The company is probably bleeding money – RUN!

  1. Do performance reviews incorporate goals you identify with or solely those of your boss/department?

Boss goals = Defense

Individual goals = Offense

We don’t have performance reviews = Who still does this? RUN!

  1. If there are conflicts between co-workers, is the focus of the resolution aimed at identifying and punishing the “offending” party, or is there a benefit of the doubt extended to all parties with an aim to arrive at a mutual understanding and compromise?

Punishment-oriented = Defense

Empathy-oriented = Offense

We fight it out and the loudest, bossiest person wins = RUN!

We experience no conflicts = Reflects either an authoritarian culture dominated by orders and compliance, possibly stifling creativity and originality RUN!

OR everyone is hired based on their agreeable nature = Be wary, as innovation most likely lags far behind.

  1. When it comes to social media policies, does your company forbid or restrict social media or do they encourage you and train you to leverage it as a promotional tool? (Exclude yourself from this question if your whole industry is regulated.)

Browsers block social media = Defense

Social media savvy is promoted = Offense

Most of my co-workers waste the majority of their day messing around on social media = Your company may be a front for illicit activities, because companies can’t survive like this RUN!

You may find that if your company is more defensive than offensive, much of the day feels tense and the moments of triumph are few and far between. If you would like to become an agent of transformation to coach your company to be more on the offensive, Epic Careering offers one-on-one leadership coaching as well as workshops. Or, if you now realize you would rather work for a company that is further down the evolutionary road, we can help you land there too.

On the other hand, if your answers indicate that your company is playing offense and doing it well, I anticipate you will be growing and hiring, and I would love to help more quality talent pursue your company as an employer. We should connect!

If any of the above apply to you, private message me or e-mail me at Karen@epiccareering.com.

Freddie Mercury – In My Defence (Official Video)

Freddie Mercury – In My Defence (1992) Click here to subscribe – http://smarturl.it/sub2FreddieMercuryYT Click here to buy Freddie Mercury – Messenger Of The Gods – The Singles: https://MessengerOfTheGods.lnk.to/FreddieStore Freddie Mercury was a man of many talents and many different sides.

Change in Altitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Skyline Drive, VA by LindaDee2006

I’m driving through the clouds on Skyline Drive right now on my way home with my family after an epic road trip. I’m feeling more grounded, and yet also delightfully detached from my earthly obligations.

I’ve had time to reflect on things from multiple physical and psychological perspectives.

Sometimes, attachment to a mission or outcome is what’s necessary to create movement, and sometimes detachment is what’s needed.

If you experience chronic resistance in achieving outcomes, detachment is a great tool to use to allow the flow of new ideas.

I know a lot of job seekers who deny themselves time for guilt-free fun. Some of you need permission, so here it is:

You are allowed, encouraged and absolved to put your career challenges completely aside for many short or few long intervals.

Consider it your spring renewal tool.

Go on. Adventure on. If anyone asks, let them know it’s coach’s orders.

Jimmy Buffett- Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

No copyright intended uhh yeah