Dr Bev Smallwood

Articles Library: Career

Ask For What You've Earned

You've worked long and hard for years now, and you're still in the same position with no mention from "the powers that be" of your moving up or making more money.

You know that the company has gone through some hard times, and some say that everyone is jut lucky to have a job.

But you know that you really don't want to stay in a no-future job...especially since you've taken some additional courses and finished your degree.

What can you do?

Do Your Homework

First, find out what financial adjustments, if any, your company makes for educational degree completion. Also, review the company policies re: raises and promotions.

Prepare yourself to discuss your achievements, how you have contributed to the company's mission and goals, and how you have exceeded expectations within your job description. Think about and write out your answers to these specific questions:

  • What examples can you give of your exceptional performance...going beyond just "doing your job"?
  • How have you contributed to the success of your teammates?
  • How do you exemplify the mission and values of the organization in working with your clients and customers?
  • How have you been applying the concepts you've learned in your continuing education so that you're making a greater difference to your clients, your co-workers, your boss, and the entire organization?
  • What specific examples can you give of how you've contributed to the generation of revenue or to the cutting of costs?

Investigate what jobs for which you are qualified are available within the company. Rehearse how you might tailor your description of your competencies and achievements to the technical and emotional requirements of the job(s) you desire.

Clearly determine your purpose for the meeting. What outcome do you want? A raise within your current job? To be considered for another job?

Time To Ask

Make an appointment to sit down with your supervisor. With all respect and no "attitude of entitlement," get ready to sell yourself. Say something like, "Thank you for meeting with me today. As I told you when I scheduled the appointment, I would like to discuss my contributions here and to explore with you the opportunities I have for continuing to grow with the company.

"As you know I've been working with the company for four years..."

Now review highlights of your contributions, as you've prepared to do. Make this interactive, not a long lecture. As you describe your work, remember to be specific, talking about specific incidents that are not isolated, but which represent your pattern.

Then say something like, "Based on my contributions over time, I believe that I have earned your consideration of (your target outcome). Is that something we can explore? What are your thoughts on that?"

If the answer is positive...great! (Positive is not necessarily a flat "yes," but is the willingness to take the next step in exploring the possibilities.) Do tactfully nail down the next action step.

Find Out What No Means

If the answer is "No," you might follow by saying, "Help me understand the reasons. Are there aspects of my performance that you feel I need to improve in order to qualify for ___?" Be open to hear honest feedback, take it to heart, and go to work on any suggestions.

However, recognize that there may be organizational limitations that prevent your getting what you are asking for. These may be temporary or permanent.

It's Your Career...Do Whatever It Takes

If you see that you are truly in a dead-end situation, you may have some hard decisions to make. Armed with the confidence born of your increasing knowledge, work ethic, and achievements, you'll be better prepared to seek other opportunities.

You are continuing to learn, to grow from every experience...even negative ones. Determine that this experience, as all others, will give you information you need to stretch, improve, and excel. You are in charge of you.

It's not just your career...it's your life!

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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