Tag Archives: raises

Choosing when to relocate

It was a drop in total pay, but for a $125,000 dollar base salary, my candidate moved to another state. Two years later the company was sold and he pocketed an additional half million in cash. That was a financially successful relocation. The opportunity had been even better than expected.

But they had to deal with finding a new house, moving the girls into a new school, finding a new church and new social group. The first 3 months were very painful. The financial reward was great, but they questioned the decision to move as they tried to settle in. They eventually found a school, neighborhood and social group that was even better than the one they left. At work and at home it was an improvement because there was opportunity for a positive change combined with strength and preparation.

One year he made $500,000 in base salary and commissions. The next year he moved again, to another company….for less money. He moved for opportunity.

What if the money is NOT that good?

Opportunity is what is important in considering whether to move or not. More money alone is not that great of a reason to uproot yourself. The opportunity to live near family or to get away from a disruptive family member is a good reason. It may be worth moving just to be where the economy is more vibrant or stable. Getting into a company with a technical or managerial career ladder that suits you is a great reason to relocate to another state. A lot of people move here to Harrisburg because it is a smaller town with shorter commutes, and there are a lot of outdoor activities 15 minutes away.

You need to figure out the opportunities that are most important for you and your family. Talk about it. For the right opportunity, those high school students may even want to move.  

When to delay a move

Running from a problem may be necessary. If possible, take a little while to fix the underlying cause first, then move. Otherwise you merely take your problems to a new location and they reappear like weeds in a garden.

That may mean admitting you need more training, a better attitude at work, better work habits or to build a stronger family. When you are on the road to fixing underlying problems, then a move can give you a clean slate to start over with. 

Relocate for opportunity. That means YOU need to be ready, really ready, to grow. 

Something to do today

This is a good time to talk to your family or a good friend about what is holding you back. Do you need to have more opportunities for work, your family, or both?

Are you underpaid?

I got a call from three business analysts from one international company in the same month. Each of them wanted to leave. The first thing cited was their low salary. When I said, “You can get a different job, but you will have to take at least a $10,000 per year pay cut,” they backed off. It was the awful truth. Each one of them had golden handcuffs. They were earning at least 15% more than any other local business would pay them. Of course the problem wasn’t their low pay, the problem was the unpaid overtime they were putting in. At least they thought it was unpaid overtime until they found out the pay cut they would have to take to move elsewhere.

Contract employees often tell me, “I want a salaried job, but I’m not going to accept less than I’m earning now.” They want to stop traveling, have health insurance, a generous training allowance, and get into a secure job with a future in one company. Yet, they want to be paid the same as when they had none of those things. Contract employees often earn twice what a salaried employee earns. It is for the simple fact that contractors have to take care of themselves.

Certainly some are vastly underpaid. I had one friend, Joe, who went from $35,000 per year to $50,000 per year in one salary jump because he was underpaid. Yes, it happens. More often employees are within 5% of the market rate for their job. If an employer pays less, they start losing people. Either they raise salaries or I come in and steal all of their best people. Then they are left with a bunch of really poor employees and maybe one great person who hasn’t found out yet. When that great employee leaves, the company may go out of business. 

To find out if you are really underpaid, first look at your performance. Only superstars get superstar salaries. If you are just average, you should expect average wages. If you are below average, your wages will be lower. 

Now do what Joe did, ask your coworkers how much they are paid, if you can. Joe didn’t do it for 5 years. When he finally asked, he asked workers he knew were lower rated than he was. When he found they were all earning more than he was, he had a right to get mad and get it fixed.

You can also look in the employment ads. Just remember that ads lie. A range of $50,000 to $60,000 does not mean you magically qualify for the high end. It means if you are a superstar you may hit the high end. It means an average worker will get the bottom number. A poor worker will not get hired.

Next, put together your resume and send it to a recruiter who specializes in placing folks like you. Ask for an honest opinion, “Can I expect a raise going to my next job?” Follow that up with, “How is my current pay compared to others doing the same job?” If the recruiter gasps and says, “I will have you three interviews tomorrow,” you are drastically underpaid. If he says, “It will take a while, but I may be able to find you a job,” your pay is within 5% of the norm or possibly high.

The ways to find out if you REALLY are underpaid are:

  • Ask coworkers rated lower than you are, “What do they pay you?”
  • Look at job ads.
  • Get a great resume to a recruiter and see how he reacts.

Find out where you stand, but be prepared for the “bad news” that you are paid about what you should be paid. If you get the “bad news”, fix it. Do the better work that will get you a raise, or get a job with a brighter future.

Folks who never do any more than they are paid for, never get paid more than they do. (Elbert Hubbard)

Something to do today

Do you have the guts to find out if you are being paid fairly? Then do it.

How to get a promotion in the next year

The new year will be starting soon. This is a great time to start preparing for the next step in your career.

Is there a promotion, or position you want to have by the end of the year? What you need to do to get that promotion or position is start working towards it now. Not in a few weeks or next month. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Tree, Park, Autumn, Fall, Foliage, Nature, Countryside

One of the most common ways people don’t get to be where they want to be in their career is by getting comfortable. Sometimes they get comfortable in their position, sometimes they get too comfortable with their current limitations instead of trying to push past them.

This is an incredible opportunity to advance like a rocket in your career.

One in six C-level Executives will leave their position in the next year. Starting now would be the best time so that when they leave YOU can take their place.

Planning, thinking, dreaming, and creating is critical now. Now is the time to prepare.

If you don’t prepare you’ll run into a glass ceiling. It’s there, but you can’t always see it or reach anything beyond it. Most jobs require a certain degree or certification to get into higher positions. If you don’t have these skill levels you’ll never reach those positions and be stuck under that glass ceiling until you do.

Now is the time to start getting that certification, MBA, college education or Vo-tech class out of the way. 

Do you want to get lucky? Prepare! Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Something to do today

Take time to think about where you want to be this year and where you want to be in the next five. Write down everything you can get to where you want to be in the next year.

Work towards your next goal whether you need a new degree, certification, or experience. For where you want to be in five years, what would you expect to see on a resume for that position? Make a list, and start towards that now. 

Keep your job without getting promoted

Not everyone wants to get promoted. I knew an accountant who was approaching retirement who had done nothing but the lowest level accounting positions since he’d gotten out of college. When I offered him a promotion, he laughed and said “I’ve been doing exactly what I wanted for the last 40 years. I don’t want a change.” 

Some businesses have an “up or out” style of promotion. Get passed up for a few promotions and you may find yourself out of a job.

How do you get respect and a chance to keep a job that people usually get promoted out of?

Wrong ways that keep you from getting that promotion

Keep dice in your drawer.  Whenever your boss asks for a decision, roll the dice.  Pull out a chart and run your finger down the rows.  Then give the correct answer, not the one from the chart.  That will keep you from getting promoted, even if it only LOOKS like you’re using the dice to find a solution.  Of course you may lose credibility with your boss, but not all plans are perfect.

That’s a terrible idea. Don’t do it. 

The right way to prevent getting promoted

You can keep from getting pushed out if you don’t want a promotion.  First of all, let your boss know you love your job and don’t want a promotion.  

Next, don’t get stuck in place.  You should become the company’s greatest mentor. You can be a mentor as a technician, manager, HR specialist or assembly line worker. Just help others with their careers. 

Keep an eye out for complainers and whiners.  Avoid them.  There is usually very little you can do for them.  Look for people who sincerely want to advance.  Find the diamonds in the rough.  These are people who put in extra work, take night classes and are always helping others.  Find the one or two shining examples in the workforce and help them advance.  

Often the biggest thing you can do is to recommend one of your diamonds for a project.  Then help them to see the critical path for the project and follow it.  Give them encouragement along the way.   Make sure they know where the levers of power are.  They need to know who really makes things happen in the company.

As a person who doesn’t want a promotion, you need to help the people blocked by your permanence.  Help them move up beside you or to hop over you.  If you get a reputation for developing leaders, you will never be laid off.  Good companies covet good leaders.

Something to do today

You should be developing leaders whether you want to stay where you are or not.  In your job journal write down the names of the top one or two candidates for promotion in your group.  Help them out.  Be a mentor even if you aren’t above them

How to survive a promotion that’s too high

Investment, Concept, Business, Finance A woman I know well was promoted to a level way above her comfort zone.  She had never failed in the past with her last position, but this new promotion was stressful and a big deal to her. One of her friends gave her this advice:

Cool it. 
Just do good work daily and before you know it, it will be a career.”

That is good advice any time you find yourself in a job, or interview for a job, that is way beyond where you expected to be.

Something To Do Today

Do your best every day, and you will quickly grow into the position.

Give up and go elsewhere when things are good

(Before you lynch me, read tomorrow’s column about giving up when times are bad.)

Most revolutions happen as things are getting better.  That happened in the Marxist revolutions and the revolts against the Communists.  It happened in the American revolution.  Things were getting better and people rebelled.

People seriously think of quitting their jobs as things get better.  As life gets worse they are afraid to change.  They want more stability, not more change. When life is bad, they tend to stay where they are. It’s easier. When life is getting better is when they think of change.

In reality, it really is time to change when life is easy and the economy or your company is soaring.  That is when people start slacking.  You are most likely to get noticed when you are the new guy on the block with something to prove.

In your current job push hard. If you aren’t getting raises and promotions, ask for them.  If not now, when? But start looking.  If you are pulling ahead as a superstar, others outside your company may be even more interested than those who know you well.

It is probably time to get a new job even if you are getting raises and promotions.  Career advancement, pay raises and opportunities usually come more quickly to those willing to change jobs in good times.  There is an immediate raise upon taking the new job.  There are also faster raises for the first 3 years.

Yes, it is a fact.  People who change jobs get raises and promotions faster for a few years.  It may be that there is no history to judge against, only current need and performance. It is likely that you are “irreplaceable” at the position you have had for 5 years so they don’t want to promote you or give you a new opportunity.  Whatever the reason, raises and promotions come faster for the first 3 years with a company.  Someone already there and doing the same job will NOT get the same pay raises, promotions and opportunities you get by coming in fresh.

Another reason to leave when life is good is that when life is good, people are hiring.  It is much easier to get into that company or job you always wanted. There is money to pay for your eager attitude.  It is easier to find a job when you are employed than when you are laid off.

Life is good now for 90% of Americans.  Think about changing.  Position yourself for change even if you don’t make a jump to another company.  When the economy eventually turns ugly for your company, those who have been making minimal progress will be laid off

Something to do today

Really assess where you are.  Are you coasting?  Have you relaxed?

Then start pushing hard in your current job.  Set a personal goal and meet it. Get ahead now while others coast.


Coming up

Give up and go elsewhere when things are bad