Archives for employment situation

3 Ways to Overcome Having Been Overpaid

All in a Day's Work by Damian Gadal of Flickr.jpg

All in a Day’s Work by Damian Gadal of Flickr.jpg

 

While research shows and some politicians feel that most workers, particularly women and federal employees, have been underpaid for far too long, some have been blessed to be very well paid. If this is you, I hope that you are taking full advantage of it and, rather than increasing your standard of living, are using the money to pay off debts and saving for the future. Experience has proven that being paid above market value puts you on the chopping block if your company ever decides that the money is better spent elsewhere.

To boot, if you are separated from your company it can be that much harder to find a job above market pay or even to convince employers that you are willing to take a pay cut.

Employers have justifiable concerns hiring somebody above market range. You could be asking for more than your boss is earning, which usually does not produce strong rapport to build a good relationship.

As with most situations, this poses a challenge, but is not necessarily an obstacle. There are ways that you can conduct your search and mitigate any potential perceived risk you pose by being someone paid above market.

 

  1. Know your numbers

If you are someone who excels at managing personal finances, you probably have strong accounts of what your monthly expenses are, and you also probably have very clear-cut savings goals for retirement. Evaluate whether there are areas of your living expenses or entertainment expenses that can be downsized.

If you have not been keeping very clear records of your monthly expenses and do not have clear-cut retirement, or other savings goals, now is the time to meet with a financial advisor.  (I know a few great ones, if you need a referral!)

If this task seems daunting to you, I can relate, and it can be tempting to guesstimate, but this is potentially very dangerous for you. If there is something you do not account for, like if you own a home and you are not accounting for an emergency fund for all the unexpected, very expensive repairs that come along with owning a home, you could be underinsured for some acts of God. Another example could be that you need to increase in your life insurance coverage if your standard of living has increased over the years. If you had a 401(k) with your previous company, a financial advisor will help you determine the best way to reinvest that to match your desired level of growth, risk, and future life needs. This is something you want to expert help on. Even if you are an expert at these things, it is wise to obtain a second opinion. Just make sure that, whatever decisions are made and whoever makes them, you are fully educated on the options and apprised of the ongoing status. Always maintain control and awareness.

If you genuinely are able to take a pay cut because you are earning above your means, coming in with specific substantiation of that will show an employer that you are fully prepared, and not guessing. Many employers have personal experience with this that they will trust over your word. You can convince them that you are not a flight risk by taking a salary cut if you write or say something specific, such as, “My house is paid off, my kids’ college is paid for, I have no debt, and I can afford to take a $43,000 pay cut.” You can do this from the get-go in an approach or cover letter, you can empower your recruiter to negotiate this on your behalf, or you can state it upfront in conversation when you have a chance to speak one-on-one with your next potential boss.

By the way, just because you are willing to take a pay cut does not mean you should not try to negotiate your package, especially if in your role you are expected to be a strong negotiator. Focus on some of the perks of a package, like a corporate car or car expenses. Perhaps you already have health care through your spouse. You can either negotiate for them to replace some of the perks they would have offered you with compensation, or where they cannot provide you with compensation, ask for perks. Come in knowing which perks have a monetary value to you.

 

  1. Know the market

Indeed, Glassdoor, and Salary.com are all places that will give you some good numbers around what the market is paying for particular roles in particular geographies. However, you may bring with you some niche skills or experience that has additional value in the market. A niche recruiter can be a very good resource in these situations. If you are going to ask for a higher salary than what the market seems to be paying generally, you need to bring with you some substantiation of your requests, and know that even if you are able to educate an employer on why you are worth more than the average candidate and are offered what you ask, ultimately if they have not budgeted for such things,  you risk the chance of being the first to go should the financial constraints of hiring you prohibit their strategic plans to invest or spend in other areas. You are also going to be held to a higher standard and had better not only deliver the goods, but continue your campaign to promote that you are delivering the goods; do not assume it will be acknowledged. People are usually very skeptical of an “overpaid suit.” You will have the stigma to combat until you earn people’s trust.

 

  1. Have a Plan B

If you really cannot afford to take a pay cut, or you really do not want to lower your standards of living, you can find other ways to make up the difference in your salary, such as investing in real estate, businesses or other financial products. You could do some consulting or coaching on the side, pending it will not be a conflict of interest with your employer. You could write a book or develop an online course. You could become a paid speaker. Let’s face it: you have managed to earn more than your professional counterparts, others will want to learn how you did it – you have something very valuable to teach.

 

You might not have thought being well-paid was such a detriment until you find yourself justifying it, defending it, or even wanting to hide your pay. (I do not recommend hiding your pay. People have their ways of finding out and you pose an even bigger risk as someone who is not forthcoming or even deceitful.) Keep in mind the employer’s perspective. Chances are if you have been on the hiring side you can completely empathize with their concerns, and, if this is so, definitely express that.

You may have to address your salary upfront, which is contrary to other negotiation advice, to get the chance to interview and establish your value, and then, once you have them interested in your value, you will have to address it again when it comes time to design a compensation package that works for all parties. Keep in mind that most employers want you to be a creative problem solver, so think of this as one of the things that you can creatively resolve in partnership with your employer to further demonstrate that you are exactly who they want.

 

Stop Suffering in Silence…NOW!

From BrainyQuote

From BrainyQuote

I don’t know if I like April anymore. At all. Two years ago after the passing of my nephew on his 28th birthday, I urged you to take immediate action to make yourself happier and more fulfilled in the 40 hours you spend at work.

This week a 22-year-old and a 41-year-old were buried on the same day. While their short lives were celebrated, and we all are grateful for every second we were able to spend with them, we feel robbed. We have been robbed of future encounters, future moments, and future embraces. They have been robbed of all future possibilities. Everything we wanted for their future can no longer happen.

The day after these two young souls were buried, I learned that a friend has been suffering silently in a successful job. She is paid very well and her family depends on this income to maintain the standard of living that is important to them. Their kids are in one of the best school districts. She has been promoted. However, she is not inspired by her company’s mission, and because of her hours and commute, she has handed many of her “mommy” duties to her husband, for which she suffers much guilt. (I can, and most likely will, write a blog about the archaic corporate and societal expectations that are unfortunately alive and well and causing undue pressure for professional moms.)

She did not tell anyone how long she has been unhappy, and how much impact it was having on other areas of her life. She was embarrassed and bewildered by the fact that she did not have it all together. The discussion with her doctor to go on anti-anxiety and depression medication was surreal.

It felt silly to complain. She lives in a nice house in a great neighborhood. Her kids are actively involved in sports. She makes great money and she has a job for which many people vie. She thinks about how many people are not as fortunate as her, and then feels additional guilt for being unhappy.

She had been taking action to change her circumstances. She was applying to jobs and interviewing. It was time-consuming and heartbreaking. She would become excited about an opportunity only to learn that she was not offered the job. With little precious time to spend with her kids, she resigned herself to being stuck and unhappy.

Until yesterday…I hope.

In a 20-minute conversation with myself and another friend, we helped her create a new, inspiring vision for her future. At first she said she was not really sure what she even wanted to do. It turns out there is a mission for which she has a lot of passion. You see, she has learned quite a bit about how to brand yourself, to obtain buy-in, and to do more in less time as a woman in a male-dominated corporate world. Although her confidence is more than a bit shaky from the self-inflicted mental torture she has been enduring in silence, she knows that she can teach what she has learned, and it will make a huge difference for women striving to be seen, heard, noticed and rewarded equally. With her background, her chances of being successful in this new endeavor, whatever it happens to look like and whenever it happens to come to fruition, are very high.

She not only has created a vision that will pull her out of bed, but she has also created a new heart-centered possibility for her career. That vision will not only make her fulfilled in her work, but will also enable her to be the mom and wife that she wants to be. I am so excited for her and yet I’m still saddened by how long she had been suffering without my knowledge. I wish we had this conversation months ago, if not years ago.

If you see yourself in this story, please, please, please… ask me for help. This is why God put me on this earth (besides to have my beautiful children). It is why I sacrificed a handsome potential six-figure salary as a recruiter. It is why I don’t mind taking (some) time away from being a mommy to do career coaching and learning how to do it better.  It is my passion and my gift.

Tomorrow doesn’t come for everyone. Live while you are alive. Change isn’t just possible; it is highly probable when you have me as your partner.

 

I expect to hear from you: Karen@epiccareering.com

 

Why I do what I do (part III of my series on work attitudes)

Photo courtesy of koka_sexton on Flickr creative commons: http://bit.ly/1Apu1uz.

Photo courtesy of koka_sexton on Flickr creative commons: http://bit.ly/1Apu1uz.

My mom was underpaid and underappreciated. She looked at numbers all day so when she got home she didn’t want to play cards with me. One my favorite things to do was play (win) Rummy.

My dad afforded a nice lifestyle pre-divorce. He napped when he came home when I wanted to play catch. I remember being really little and begging to play “horsey.” Then, the divorce.  It was a long emotional and financial battle that decimated our standard of living for a while. My mom recovered more easily because she continued working and re-married while my dad was forced into early retirement, working odd jobs and surviving on a lesser pension and eventually social security. Now, his health insurance was eliminated as a retirement benefit just when he needs it most.

My brothers enjoyed a higher standard of living for much longer. For the most part, their financial blueprint (J. Harv Eker’s term) was set during better years. All I learned about work and money was that it was tiring and no matter how hard you worked, eventually, there would be no pay off or not the kind that I wanted. I wanted a lot. I dreamt of a BIG life. When I played monopoly with my friend, Julie, we would daydream about huge houses with rooms for all the animals we would rescue and adopt. When I dreamt of a big life, there were always big things I could do for other people at the forefront and at the same time provide exotic opportunities for my kids.

So, going into college, my idea of being a “successful” adult was that you get a degree so you’re not stuck for 20 years in a dead-end clerk job. But I didn’t want to be the boss, either, because then I’d hold down the little guy. Choosing radio as my career was an anti-corporate statement to all of my seemingly misguided advisors. Not until I started attempting to make a buck while I worked in radio that I got to see that not all companies operate like, well, almost every company depicted in every sit com and movie up until…. uh… Grandma’s Boy (circa 2006.)

Then, I realized as a recruiter I could place people in the “good jobs.” At least, that is what I thought I would like best about recruiting, and it was…when it happened. However, speaking with 500 candidates every week and placing maybe one of them is hardly a record of success given my mission.  Plus, for a good percentage of the jobs, my position on the vendor chain didn’t allow me to fully assess the suitability of a job for a candidate. When I was able to get the goods on a job straight from the hiring manager, their budget often prevented me from presenting the best candidate.  So, it was frustrating, but enlightening. Meanwhile, it was becoming clearer what career was going to give me the best chance at really making a difference to professionals seeking career stardom, or even simply career satisfaction – career coaching. Right alongside that was résumé writing. IT résumés appeared to be enigmas for other professional résumé writers. I could tell when a candidate had paid someone to write it, but, unfortunately, oftentimes had to tell them to add or change something.

Eight years after I changed careers yet again, I cannot only say that I found my passion and my purpose, but I have embodied and developed a gift. Now that career fulfillment is something I can speak about first-hand, I want it for EVERYONE!  Thankfully, I have been able to dramatically impact people’s quality of life in a positive way, not that I deserve all of the credit – all of these people were already successful in many ways.  In fact, there is not ONE client that I would say was not BRILLIANT.

Looking forward, you will see an expanded offering of solutions that will fit virtually any budget, and they will generate superior results to anything else currently offered.  I vow to continue my own personal and professional development, and to expand my team in numbers and capacity to help you UNVEIL YOUR BRILLIANCE.

May 2015 bring you better opportunities, better income, and better quality of life!

Heavy D & The Boyz – Now That We Found Love ft. Aaron Hall

Music video by Heavy D & The Boyz performing Now That We Found Love. (C) 1991 Geffen Records

3 Steps To Ensure Your Next Position Is Better Than Your Last One

 

Petrified by Brett Jordan

Petrified by Brett Jordan

 

 

Everyone seems to be running away from something rather than toward something. For example, many clients do not come to me or approach me until they see that they are running out of money, and so they decide to run away from a lack of money. Or others still find themselves in employment situations that are undesirable, and so they come to me wanting escape from their current situation. Yes, I do this.

I do help people relieve financial distress by helping them gain employment that brings in an income that enables them to afford their lifestyles, or better lifestyles. Yes, I also help professionals improve their career trajectory and help them find jobs that fulfill them and pay them what they’re worth.

However, most of them have not yet decided what they are running toward.

 

 

Where do people usually turn to see what opportunities are out there for them? Job boards. Here’s the flaw in that: job boards are not job prophecies. You will not be able to determine your career destiny by scouring job boards. This is what will happen: you will find many, many jobs with a few words that excite you, and you will use those few words as a reason to spend your time evaluating that opportunity and filling out an online application. You will cross your fingers, consider your effort done, and hope and pray that somebody will respond and invite you for interview.

 

Let me ask you, does doing this motivate you to get up every day and repeat the process? Do you really feel any closer to a better employment situation? Are you getting any results from this process? Even if this process does produce interviews, do you really feel like they are the right jobs?

 

It is spectacular to know that what you have currently is not what you want. However, if you are really going to ensure that your situation improves, you have to define what that improvement looks like. And, actually, the more full detail you give to that picture of improvement, the closer you will get to it.

Here are three exercises, consider them career development homework, that will propel you in a favorable direction once you decide that you want your professional future to be better than your past or present.

 

  1. Develop your criteria

Create a table, either in word or an Excel, with four columns at the top and numbers on the left (Excel has these already.) In the first column (A) put all the things that you disliked about your most recent position and any other positions in the past. In the second column (B) type the opposite of that. In the third column make a list of things that you heard other people complain about their jobs that you would not want to experience for yourself. In the fourth column include things that you’ve heard other people enjoy about their job that you have not yet experienced. Use all of the columns to develop questions that you can ask your network and your interviewees (once you land them) to find out if a company is a worthwhile target. In a new spreadsheet, combine columns B and D into one complete list that you will call your criteria. Sort them into order of importance, and make the “make or break” criteria distinct by using colors or bolding. Now, for each company you identify, either through job boards, recruiters, business journals, news articles, leads from your network, etc., add a column and cross reference what you find out about them, through any of the same sources listed above, with your criteria list. Use a simple system, like “X” for any criteria a company doesn’t match and an “O” for each one it does. If the Xs start to add up to more than 20% of the criteria, move on. If not, keep digging and make sure that your network inquiries include requests for introductions with value statements on what you can offer them. (E-mail info@epiccareering.com if you would like to see a sample.)

 

  1. Create a reverse career roadmap.

Assuming all things are possible, how would you ultimately like to end your career? Every answer is okay. Don’t limit yourself, but don’t assume that you have to yearn for the highest possible position either. Use your imagination. If you do tend to eliminate possibilities, carefully evaluate if your reasons are actually valid or if they are manifestations of a self-limiting untruth, an assumption, or misinformation. A really easy way to tell if that is the case is to ask, “Has anyone else ever achieved this?” If the answer is yes, you have proof that it is possible, but even if you don’t know of anybody else who has achieved it, I will quote something I say to my daughters daily – “There is no can’t; only I don’t know how yet.”

Asking questions of your network is a lot easier than asking favors of your network. People love to help and offer their expertise. The caveat: if people tell you something is impossible, thank them and ignore them. They may or may not have their own illusions of reality. Stay focused on the how, not the if.

 

  1. Create a reverse financial roadmap.

Unless you are a financial advisor, I suggest you work with a financial advisor to get this quest completed. As a “rule,” you should increase your salary by 10% every year. Follow this link and use the calculator 2/3 down the page on the right to determine how much you should be making right now based on this rule. Project then, how much you should be making at the age you hope to retire. A financial advisor can help you understand how much you should have saved in order to have money left at the end of your life rather than life left at the end of your money. There should be two numbers – the least amount that you should have saved to cover expenses based on anticipated costs of living, and the ideal number that you should have saved to be able to really enjoy a high quality of life. Obviously, you have to be at least at the bottom of that range, but you should shoot for the top of that range. Furthermore, a financial advisor will help you determine if, based on the rule that you should be increasing your salary by 10% every year, if you can achieve that range or not. If not, some catch-up is required. Based on a Rutgers study on American workers, only 18% feel that they are well-paid. If what you’re making now is nowhere near what that formula says you should be currently making, we may be able to help you reroute and get back on track. We have helped many clients increase their salary by 25 to 100%! Contact us for a free session.

 

Desperately running away from a bad situation often leads to poor decisions, as we have shared before. If you’re in a bad situation, or simply situation that isn’t what you think is best for you, there is no time like the present to make changes, but they should be strategic changes. Considering the amount of emotion around career decisions, it can be a huge challenge to be objective enough to be effectively strategic. Don’t be too proud to reach out for help. Your logic and past experience should tell you that a partner, or even a team, will get more accomplished than an individual. You make the decisions, you are in control, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Top 5 things I’ve learned from my clients

Chess by Malias from Flickr

Chess by Malias from Flickr

You can probably imagine how many secrets a résumé writer and career coach can learn while they are working intimately with professionals at various levels. While, I do learn quite a bit of confidential information about companies, employees, I’m not inclined to share that. Consider, however, how much I get to learn about corporate success from hundreds of people who have achieved it for themselves, and a few that had struggled until they met me. I am sure there are hundreds of thousand tidbits that I have learned in the past decade that are worth sharing. While you were staying tuned for the book, here are the top five, or rather the five that are most top of mind and relevant to me now.

 

1. Promptness gets you noticed.

The go-to guy gets the promotions in the opportunity, most of the time. Deal with people first and things next. Beware of making yourself so valuable in one role, however, that you are solely relied upon. Inspire others to follow your lead. Leaders are so much more critical to an organization than doers or managers.

 

2. Give other departments a hand.

This is beneficial on so many levels. Not only will you be able to build rapport that enhances collaboration throughout an organization, which is always necessary though often missing, but you will also learn new pieces of the puzzle, widen your perspective, and see a bigger picture. Sometimes that leads to opportunities to bring departments together for huge initiatives and sometimes, when your department suffers a layoff, another department sees your value and you create job security.

 

3. Hire great people, give them what they need to succeed, and get out of their way.

I have had many clients who I would consider to be turnaround kings and queens. What they often have in common is their ability to deal with performance issues head-on getting to the true source of them, to put people in positions that set them up for success, and to build a culture of accountability and trust that tends to raise confidence, morale and productivity.

 

4. Be willing to sponsor and nurture up-and-coming phenomenal talent.

Even if they surpass you, they’ll wind up taking you with them. These are also the same clients who abide by the philosophy of hiring people smarter than them, though this does not have to apply solely to direct reports.

 

5. Get yourself involved in the projects that contribute to profit.

Anyone who is a member of a businesses cost center would benefit from adding skills that directly contribute to a company’s top line. It makes you exponentially more visible to executive leaders and board members.