Best advice on work, life & why we should all be friends with assholes

Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape (the godfather of all web-browsers) is a titan in silicon valley. He recently published a list of people we should all follow on twitter. One of my favorites is Sunil Rawat (@_sunilrawat).

Sunil kicks ass as a Korporate Klimber. He’s got a take-no-prisoners attitude to work, life and success. Take a read below:

SunilRawat Tweet

 

 

Check him out here

Got promoted. Didn’t negotiate salary. You just got screwed!

Everyone knows to negotiate salary and other benefits when you’re first offered a job at a company. However, many people, even the best ones, rarely think to negotiate on offers when they make internal moves within departments or as they get promoted.

Consider the following:

Dana, who’s perceived as an expert in her field among her peers and senior leaders, gets assigned to a new function within her unit. Her hard work at her current role had paid off. She’d been in her role for four years and was more than ready to move on and move up. Her manager thought so as well. However, when it came to offering her the new role, her manager casually introduced it to her during her annual employee performance review. And instead of giving her a nice increase, gave her just the annual increase of 3.5%. She was told that it was a lateral move, even though it really wasn’t, and because she didn’t push to get more, she gained very little financially.

Adam is a high performer who came into his current role and owned it. He made that role his bitch. Within just a few months, he not only became an expert at the systems but also implemented process improvements that saved his company hundreds of thousands of dollars. His work caught the eye of senior leaders who kept hearing about his successes. His unique skill sets made him perfect for a new role being created. He was tapped on the shoulder and encouraged to take it. During salary negotiations, he was offered a 6% increase. He knew that not only was he the perfect fit for the role, he was the only choice. Also realizing that this was a promotional role, he countered with 10% increase. After a somewhat tense negotiation, he settled for 7%.

Michael is also a high performer at his company. He was an external hire brought in to manage the compliance process and he kicked ass. Similar to Adam, a unique role opened up for which he was perfect and he was asked to apply. Knowing fully well that he was the best and the only option, he pushed hard against the low-ball increase he was given initially. The result – he got a 15% bump in his salary.

Not only are these real life scenarios, they are also people working for the same company (albeit at different departments), at the same professional level and were offered new positions around the same time. So why was it that one person barely got an increase while another secured a huge bump? It comes down to how well you negotiate.

Think about it this way. A bump from 6% to 10% may not make a big difference in real dollars so you may decide that it’s not worth fighting for. But this one act of laziness can result in a lifetime of being underpaid. There is a tangible cost to not negotiating a higher salary. And this cost is cumulative over time. Without a counteroffer, you can easily lose out on thousands of dollars.

salary.com negotiation infographic

Every job offer and terms, even internal ones are negotiable. Many people hesitate to negotiate internal offers because they feel like it’s not an option. Trust me, the HR manager who’s offering you the job is incentivized to get the most from you at the lowest cost possible. She’s working for the company. Not you. And if you’re not fighting for yourself, then who is?

 

Next up: Part II How to effectively negotiate an internal job offer (coming soon)

 

Mentors provide the “secret sauce” to career success

Mentoring-wht1

As a professional navigating the corporate world, the importance of having mentors can’t be understated. Unfortunately, it is one of the most easily overlooked pieces of career management. Most of us are so busy being high performers that we forget the value of wisdom offered by those who’ve already been there and those who can guide us in ways we didn’t consider.

As a korporate klimber, you are not just a professional. You are a brand. You’re not just a businessman. YOU are a business. Man!

All successful and long-lasting businesses have a board of directors. Your mentors are your personal board of directors who are there to help you manage your brand (and your career). Having a good group of mentors is helpful when you come across challenges at work or are faced with important career decisions and when you need someone’s unbiased point of view.

Mentors help fill your knowledge gaps and provide opportunities to help your professional growth. A good mentor will make it comfortable for you to let down your guard, share your insecurities, and ask the ‘stupid’ questions we all have sometimes. A good mentor is also honest and unafraid to tell you hard truths about yourself and your work. She helps you navigate the politics of your organization or profession, and avoid the land mines. She pushes you to take risks and aim higher, and advocates for you when you’re not there.

As you seek to develop the mentor relationship here are some basics to consider

  • Don’t force it. But be persistent in showing continued interest in and respect for the mentor’s opinions
  • Cultivate more than one mentor
  • Look for mentors both in your department and outside
  • Look for mentors both inside your company and outside
  • Mentors don’t have to be in the same profession or field as you. Build relationships with people from different backgrounds
  • Don’t only focus on mentors that are older than you. Instead, put age aside and look for people who are successful in their fields and know more than you
  • Find someone you respect and someone who respects you back. The ultra popular frat brother who gave you wedgies but was soooo cool, should not be on your list
  • Don’t pick someone to be a mentor if you want or plan to work for them someday. A mentor should be viewed as long term guidance counselor, not your future boss
  • Choose wisely. Pick a reliable person who will “show up” when needed.

Successful people build relationships and gather intelligence from a wide variety of experts in all industries and age brackets. Insular people who are unwilling to leave their comfort zone become closed off from opportunities.

Mentors provide guidance and help you overcome challenges, both professional and personal. And if you’re really lucky, they will inspire you along the way.

Facebook COO shows young women how to be a Korporate Klimber

Recently, Facebook’s powerful COO Shery Sandberg answered 10 questions to Time magazine about how young, ambitious women can take control of their careers and rise to the top. She is the epitome of what Korporate Klimber is all about. She’s young. She’s ambitious. And she’s at the top. She has been ranked in Time’s 100 people influencing the world. In her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead she talks about how young women should approach the corporate world.

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What were you like in college?

I learned how to study. The first five-page paper I wrote was a project for our entire junior year [in high school]. In college I had to write five-page papers overnight.

You emphasize the importance of finding the right romantic partner. How are college women supposed to think about that?

Starting out evenly, even in college, is so important. It’s easy to fall into the girlfriend routine, like “I’ll do that laundry,” “Let me pick up that errand.” That’s nice the first month, but by the fifth year of marriage you’re gonna be sorry you did that.

What kind of ongoing gender imbalances do you see for women in entry-level jobs?

Who takes notes in a meeting? So often it’s the junior women. You can’t fully participate if you’re always taking notes. And by the way, the men who are your peers? They can take notes too.

What would you tell a young woman who feels stuck at the start of her career?

Look at jobs and think “I can,” not “I shouldn’t.” Apply for jobs, apply for opportunities, say that you can do things even when you’re not sure.

If you’re stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?

Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I’m that kind of person. I do want to make sure I’m progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”

What have been some of your biggest mistakes?

I wasn’t worried about having kids and a career, because I thought all women were going to have both. I think we’re smarter now, and we know how challenging it is. I got married young, when I really had no business getting married. I made lots of mistakes along the way.

What about smaller screwups?

When I was first at the World Bank, I put in the figures for a speech Larry Summers gave about girls’ education, and I got one country’s literacy rate totally wrong. The representative from that country called the president of the World Bank to complain. I was like, “In college when you get it wrong, they put a little red circle. But here if I get it wrong, this whole country is going to be insulted.” So I said I was sorry, and I started checking figures a lot more carefully.

Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?

When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.

How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?

It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to do volunteer work, or get into grad school, or make lots of friends, or get a job in the business world. But don’t let life happen–make it happen.

 

via TIME

Didn’t get that promotion? The reason may be your spouse … (or Boo or BAE)

TURNS OUT WHO YOU MARRIED COULD DETERMINE YOUR CAREER SUCCESSspouse-supportive-success

We all know that our significant other has a big impact on whether we live a happy life. But according to research from Washington University in St. Louis, your significant other’s personality also influences your behavior at the workplace.

In fact, when it comes to pay raises, promotions and other measures of career success, a supportive and reliable partner may exert a bigger influence on your workplace performance than you realize. In contrast, a struggling partnership at home can wear on professional performance in subtle ways.

According to Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences and lead author of the study, “Our study shows that it is not only your own personality that influences the experiences that lead to greater occupational success, but that your spouse’s personality matters too.”

The five-year study looked at the lives of 5,000 married people (ages 19-89) split between couples where both spouses worked (75%) or where one spouse was a stay-at-home parent (25%). Researchers tracked job satisfaction, salary increases, and promotion-eligibility of the participants who were also given psychological tests to assess their openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness.

Workers who scored highest on measures of occupational success tended to have a spouse with a personality that scored high for conscientiousness. The correlation between a supportive spouse and a successful significant other held up, regardless of gender.

Success is a team-effort. The researchers found that three factors drive couples who succeed:

  1. Splitting day-to-day household chores like paying bills, buying groceries and raising children. The “outsourcing” of some of these tasks meant less worrying about errands at work.
  2. A supportive and trusting partner subconsciously encourages their spouse to emulate good habits. Being reliable at home makes for a more trustworthy employee; if your spouse trusts you to pick up groceries on the way home, you’re likely an employee whom your boss can trust to deliver good work on time.
  3. Finally, a conscientious partner who is diligent and reliable is a stress reliever. A spouse that keeps your personal life running smoothly will reduce stress and make it easier to maintain a productive work-life balance.

Career success is a long, slow and exhausting process. It’s like running a marathon that lasts 40 to 50 years. Having a partner who is supportive of your ambitions, who pushes you to keep going when you want to give up and who takes the load off your shoulders on days when you’re overwhelmed can be the factor that makes or breaks you.

Bring your whole self to work… and win

compartmentalization

Many of us pride ourselves on our ability to compartmentalize, especially at the office. We separate our professional lives from our personal lives. Somehow, somewhere we learned that being a professional meant leaving our personal lives at home as soon as we step into the office. We have work “friends” and personal friends and the two don’t interact. We don’t display personal items at the office and avoid discussing our personal life with coworkers. In fact, we secretively look down upon those who “share too much”.

It may be worth considering that not only we are wrong but are also being counterproductive. Your success at compartmentalizing may actually be hurting your career.

A progressing career depends less on your individual performance and more on your relationships. In order to form effective relationships, you must form emotional ties with those you work with. Emotional ties have a deep impact on your career. The first step to doing this is to shed the idea of compartmentalizing.

It simply doesn’t work.

The problem with compartmentalizing is that you restrict your manager and coworkers to seeing you only in a one dimensional light. By leaving part of you at home, you’re not your whole self at the office. As a result, your relationship with your managers and coworkers is superficial at best.  This means that the people who can influence the course of your career are making their decisions about you based on a limited, superficial view of you.

But you are not one dimensional. You’re not a robot. You are a multi-dimensional person with skills, hobbies and traits that go beyond your ability to perform at work. By giving your coworkers an opportunity to see your whole self along with its complexities, you “let them in” and by doing so, you will form ties that transcends the workplace.

Successful people don’t separate work life from home life. Instead, they seamlessly merge the two together. They become friends with those they work with and work for. They make dinner plans and invite each other to summer barbecues. They let their kids hang out together and they form deep relationships that go beyond the office and also long lasting. And they use these emotional connections to influence those who can impact their career.

They say that important business decisions are made on the golf course. What they don’t say is that decisions on promotions and career paths of employees are also made outside the office. By the time you’re sitting in a conference room ready to talk through a business decision or in your boss’s office to discuss your career, you’ve already missed the conversation.

When your work and life become one, you succeed.

Grass

Are you undervalued…?

Grass

 

Is your grass the greenest?

How would you know if you don’t go over the fence?

 

Dear Klimber || I’m good at what I do and love the company I work for.  I currently work for a manager that has a more traditional way of thinking which impacts the moves I can make when better opportunities arise.  I personally view him as a roadblock because any move I make to leave his group would impact him considering my level of responsibilities. I believe that I have a pretty good future here, but I’m concerned that I am wasting time in my current role. Once in a while, I get a call from a recruiter asking whether I’d be interested in other opportunities. Lately, I’ve been wondering if I should explore outside options. But it means a new start and it means having to prove myself again. What should I do? – Jacob S.

Jacob || Throughout your career, you will be courted by companies that want your skill set. They will approach you even if you’re not in the market and may offer you more money or a better title (i.e. increased responsibilities). Given that your manager is actively impeding your career, you owe it to yourself to explore all opportunities and scope out the landscape. As a rule, even if you are happy and have no plans to leave your company, you should interview with external companies and try to get an offer every two to three years.

Why, you ask? Because you are a business. Every business’ value is set by the market. The only way to know the value of your business is to step out into the marketplace and put yourself up for sale. This is also the best way to ensure that your current employer places a fair and competitive value on you. While you may truly enjoy your job and may even have a good future at your current employer, the downside with being at the same company for a long time is that your worth (whether it be monetary compensation or your title) is determined only by one entity. Your salary increases over the years (probably at a paltry 3% – 5%) and the bumps you get from promotions(10% maybe) are typically not a good indication of your value.  In fact, your salary growth will usually be at a slower pace simply because your employer is not competing for your services – instead, they are harvesting them.

Therefore, it’s in your best interest to always get a 3rd party valuation on yourself as a business and ensure that you are at least in the same zip code as the going market rate for your skill set i.e. your products.

One way to do this is to cultivate your professional network, especially on social media sites such as LinkedIn. The connections you attain may very well help to propel your career.  Another is to be open to invitations from external companies. If they value your potential and you see them as a potential suitor, go to the interview, nail it and secure an offer. That offer will tell you what your market value is.

What should you do with the offer? 

Two roads may be traveled.  The first is to embark on what I would call a “market adjustment.”  This is where you approach your current employer, express dissatisfaction with your compensation package and ask for a re-evaluation.  Most likely, they will strongly resist, and if they do, you should be prepared to show them the offer letter i.e. your market valuation. This will definitely get their attention if they did not take you seriously the first time.

I had a friend who followed this approach – He knew he wasn’t getting paid enough so he asked for a salary adjustment more in line with the market. His employer kept telling him that he was, in fact, at market. So, after a week of no success, he decided to interview at a competitor. Once he obtained an offer letter that was more in line with his expectations, he left a copy on the chair of the human resources liaison as he was leaving for the day. He got a call half-way home letting him know that his salary was being adjusted.

This is a very aggressive position to take, so be careful.  This tactic is most effective if you are a high performer that exudes KYS (Know your shit!) capabilities.

The second route is obvious – leave the company and move on. You may think that you’re not prepared to take that step. That you do not want to open any doors unless you are in fact, vehemently prepared to leave your current employer. You treat it like marriage – there are a lot of potential suitors that want you, but you can only be married to one. And you’re happy with the one you’re committed to. So why go looking!

Here’s the difference: marriage is a deeply personal commitment. Your commitment to your employer is a business contract. You cannot take it personally. Your employer doesn’t. Your employer is a business that will always act in its best interest. By not acting in the same manner, you’re limiting yourself and your worth.

A constant review of your worth in the marketplace and being flexible enough to pivot your career is the best way to ensure that you and your skills are given proper valuation.

GrassWater