Do you ever lay in bed at night, feeling over-stressed, part-dreaming part-wishing that some form of recognition – a better title, more money, a more exciting role, or extra time off – will drop on your head next day, like manna out of heaven, to thank you for all your hard work?
You probably know already that this fantasy is not going to happen. Your boss is not a mind-reader.
There is only one way to get what you want, need and deserve, so you can feel zen, productive and happy at work, and that is…
You’ve got to take your career into your own hands (and yes, that includes compensation!)
You’ve got to ask for things you want and to negotiate if needed.
You might be asking “How do I do that?”
Timing is everything.
Each time your workload is about to increase, see this as an opportunity to negotiate for more bucks/a better title/a new exciting project/more visibility/flexible hours/more resources/team to manage…… (fill in the blanks.) Think about what you want and ask for that before you accept new responsibilities, and definitely before you are staying late and working weekends. You’ve got to get your boss when she needs you most.
If you have been wanting something or your workload is overwhelming you, same principle applies: ask for what you need. You can do it when your boss is asking for your input, or giving you positive feedback on the work you’ve just done. Or just … be bold and schedule a time for a talk…
Lastly, when taking a new position or changing jobs, start with the right salary. It’ll be harder to fill in the gap later. Rule number 1 is to never accept the first offer, especially if you’re changing companies. Assume that you’re being offered a low wage in the range for that position. Bargain.
Preparation is the key. By prepping well, you’ll increase your chances enormously.
Clear your emotional plate.
Expect to get what you are worth. Your attitude is a deal-breaker. Find and release any thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, anxious, or scared. If you’re talking yourself out of asking, find a fear behind. Are you afraid to lose your boss’ approval ? Most bosses want you to be direct with them, and appreciate suggestions. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” The answer is usually “I go back to what I have now (or to the original offer.)”. Now, it’s not that bad, is it?
Know Your Value.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Whether you’re new to this company, or have been around for a while, get clear in your head on what you’re about to bring or what you’ve brought to the table, how you’ll expand or have expanded your position. Keep a track record and data of your accomplishments and outcomes delivered. Take that with you to the negotiation talk with your boss.
Do the research.
Especially if you’re not sure what to ask for.
There’re many resources you can tap into: executive recruitment agencies, headhunters, Internet, HR departments, former/current employees.
If you’re feeling nervous or insecure, practice with a friend beforehand. Negotiating is a sort of game. Prepare to be direct, and ask questions, rather than assume. Boldness is usually appreciated. Think of a possible trade-off and of your break-point : when you’ll stop and what you can trade. If you can’t get more money, ask for perks that are important to you, eg flexible hours or more time off. At the end of the conversation, don’t overthank. In fact, don’t thank. Smile with confidence and say something like “I am glad to see I am valued here“.
Bosses expect women to say “yes” to more workload. Refuse to play that game. Surprise your manager by asserting your needs. You’ll be seen as someone who knows her value, and won’t be walked all over.
The bottom line here is you want to work for a company that values you. Asking for what you want is about helping your organization to demonstrate that.