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

Own your lie…

Haven’t been completely honest on your resume? Don’t fret. It’s completely acceptable.

PR-agency-lies

In fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t exaggerate the truth a little.

This doesn’t mean that you should blatantly LIE on your resume. Don’t add a degree if you didn’t go to college or a certification (like CPA) if you never got around to taking the exams, or worse, a job you never held.

In fact, never lie about anything that can be verified.

Instead, embellish the skills and experience you already have. Did you take German in high school? Then, you have “intermediate” knowledge of German. Did you take a web-design course in college? Then your technical skills include HTML.

However, you must realize that lying is a short term solution. It may get you the job but to keep that job, you’ve got to turn that lie into the truth.

Here’s an example of someone successfully lying on his resume.

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Told by Garret D.

‘So there I was, in a small room, interviewing for a Sr. Financial Analyst role at a well known retailer in America. With three rounds under my belt and with two more people to go, I was kicking ass.

My fourth interview was with the VP of Finance. He came in, shook my hand and sat down. No smile. No pleasantries. He got right to the questions. Instantly, I became nervous.

He asked about my experience. He asked about my education. He then asked me some scenario type questions. As I answered them one by one, my confidence began to come back. Until he asked me about my Excel skills. Per my resume, I was an “expert.”

“I’ve used Excel throughout my prior roles and am pretty comfortable with it.” I lied smoothly.

His stone-cold eyes bore into my soul as he dug deeper, “What are some of your favorite formulas?”

Oh Shit! I didn’t know any Excel formulas. I’d barely used it.

So, I stammered “Well, I’ve used so many. Sum, sumif, average and others. Ummm … for some reason I can’t think of any others right now.”

Mr. VP nods and moves on. Five mins later he gets up, shakes my hand and walks out.

At this point, I knew I’d screwed up. There was no way I was going to get this job. He had caught on that I was no expert on Excel.

I had five mins until the next interview to figure out a way to salvage the situation.

I remembered that my Windows smartphone had Excel on it. I opened up the program, went straight to the help menu and looked up formulas. I quickly wrote down a few names along with descriptions and put the phone away just as the VP of Operations walked in. I quickly wiped the sweat off my forehead and stood up to introduce myself.

He smiled back, shook my hand and asked “How’s it going so far?”

I knew that my only move was to address the awkwardness of my previous interview. I had to own up and deescalate the situation. It was my only play.

So I answered, “It was going really well until my previous interview. Now, I’m not so sure. I think I may have messed up.”

“What happened?” he inquired.

“He asked me to list my favorite Excel formulas and for some reason, my mind went blank. I could not recall a single good formula if my life depended on it.”

His face became slightly serious. “Well, do you know Excel?”

“Of course, I’ve used it many times before.” Then I proceeded to rattle off five or six formulas I’d just picked up … vlookup, hlookup, matchif, sumproduct, etc etc.

His demeanor changed and he smiled “That’s OK. It happens to the best of us. It’s just that we rely on Excel quite a bit here.”

And with that he turned to my resume and began our interview.

The next day, I had a job offer. I was to start in two weeks.

And you know what I did in those two week? I Googled the hell out of Excel. I YouTubed as many videos as I could and practiced my ass off. By the time I started, I was at least as comfortable with Excel as any analyst. In fact, over time, I became so good that people from other departments would come to me for help.’

_________________

Garrett’s took a ‘white lie’ and turned it into a huge success. He took ownership of his lie.

So go ahead. Embellish.

Did you manage one person in your last role? Say that you managed a team. Were you on the team that implemented the new ERP software? Write that you led the team. Did you once use PowerPoint to put a slideshow of your grumpy cat? You’re an expert at PowerPoint presentations.

But remember, once you lie about something, you better be prepared to back it up. You must OWN your lie.

Your resume is the shiny wrapper that employers see when they go employee shopping. Remember that you are a business and your skills are the product you sell. The shinier the wrapper around your product, the more attention it generates.

But remember that the shiny wrapper without a quality product inside will only cause buyer’s remorse.

How to get your next role when you have no connections

Karen X. Cheng, is amazing. She hustled and landed a job as project manager at Microsoft. Then she got bored and taught herself to design. When that wasn’t enough, she taught herself to dance in a year.

Below is an excerpt from her blog. You can check out more of her stuff at http://www.karenx.com/

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How to get a job when you have no connections

The best way to get a job is to know someone who works there, or know someone who knows someone. That’s how I got the job at Exec – A mutual friend made the intro to the Exec team. But what if you don’t know someone?

I spent the last few months job hunting, sending out resumes and emails. For most of the companies I applied to, I had no connections. But I did discover a pretty reliable way of getting a job (or at least an interview) with zero connections…

Here’s what you can do if you want a job, but have no connections:

1. Show them what’s unique about you

Riding in on a horse was brilliant because not only was it unexpected, it also told us more about Lindzi – she loves horses. It made her easier to remember and it gave the Bachelor an easy conversation topic to open with.

What are you passionate about? Are you musical? Write a song about the company and send them a video of you singing or rapping it. Like to bake? Send them a homemade cake decorated with the company’s name and your contact info. Love to run? Use a phone GPS running app to draw your route on a map, then go to a large field and run a path in the shape of the company’s logo. You get the idea – anything goes.

2. Do something that obviously took a lot of effort and time
When someone does something for you, you tend to want to do something for them. This is the basic human principle of reciprocity. But you can’t do this with money or gifts (like sending the recruiter a bottle of wine). That feels kind of dirty, like a bribe. So money isn’t your currency – time is.

When a recruiter or hiring manager sees that you’ve spent all this time applying to their company, they are much more open to give 30 minutes of their time to interview you. In fact, they’d probably feel guilty declining an interview at this point. As a bonus, the interviewer already knows that you’re a hardworking person before the interview even starts.

3. Show that you can do the job
The first two things will get you an interview, but they won’t get you the job. To get the job, you’ve got to show your future employer that you can do the job. Don’t wait until you’ve been hired – start doing the job now. Applying for a web developer position? Give the existing website a facelift. Marketing position? Put together a marketing plan.

And you can mix and match – maybe do one thing to show what’s unique about you, and another to show your ability to do the job.

I admit, this sounds like a lot of work. I’ve spent 100 hours preparing for a job interview before. I did this for Microsoft Excel three years ago and it paid off – I got the job. But I’ve also spent 100 hours preparing for a job that I didn’t get. Rejection hurt, especially when I’d put in that kind of effort, but I’m glad I did it. Better to know I gave it my all than to wonder what if.

Some people have told me that putting in this kind of effort for one company is ridiculous, but I think it’s pretty reasonable. You’ve probably spent 100 hours working on a project for a job you already have (that’s only 2 and a half weeks at a full time job). Why not do it for your dream job?

Above all else…
The best way to get a job is still through a personal connection. I found LinkedIn to be great for this – when I found a company I was interested in, I’d search for the company name on LinkedIn and look for 2nd or 3rd degree connections. I found intros that way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Don’t be shy about the fact that you’re looking for a job. Let your friends and family know that you’re looking, and let them know what you’re looking for. You never know who might know someone. Life is better when you help manufacture some of your own serendipity.

Getting emotional at the office

You career

 

 

 

 

 

Experts love talking about the benefits of effective networking and relationship management at the office to stay informed, build allies and grow your career. But most of them are clueless when it comes to teaching you the “how”.

The fact is, it’s deceptively simple!

Simple, because all you have to do is connect with people on an emotional level.

Deceptive, because … well … it’s not easy to “care” about other people.

But here’s why this is important – All the people we work with, no matter how professional or logical or high up the ladder they seem to be, make decisions (especially important ones) based on emotions of pride, vanity, jealousy, fear, optimism, confidence and friendship. Neuroscientists have proven that when it comes to decision-making, the brain unequivocally relies on emotion over intellect. Surely, you’ve heard of the “gut feeling…”

How do you leverage this knowledge to get ahead?

By getting personal with people at the office. Bond at an emotional level. Show interest in the well being of those you work with. Start with a simple “Hi. How is your day?”

Since their perception of you is driven by their feelings towards you, you can influence that perception by making them feel good about you. When you genuinely care about their well-being, you invariably get them to care about you. When they care about you, they will help you succeed.

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A word of caution …

a) Don’t fake it. Take genuine interest in others and their lives. People are not idiots. They can tell when you’re being a self-centered, superficial asshole!

b) Keep in mind that it’s about THEM. Not you. Don’t use the emotional connection you form to dump all your problems on them.

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Building relationships through emotional bonds, especially with those you work with, is a fundamental skill for career growth.

Why? Because everyone, even the part-time summer intern, can influence the path of your career. Manage the relationship and you manage their emotions. By managing their emotions, you manage how they influence your career.

 

Dale CarnegieWhen dealing with people, remember you not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

 

Above All Else – The one skill you need to master

banner_customer_service

Like it or not, YOU are in customer service. You are a business. Your time and skills are the products you sell. Your body and mind are the tools you use. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, your success ultimately depends on your ability to Acquire, Retain and Please your customers.

If you haven’t realized this, you’re way behind on the game.

You’re thinking “What do I know; I don’t work on the sales floor. I work in a back-office function with a lot of smart people, a bunch of idiots and a plethora of assholes.”

Boss Client

 

Unfortunately for you, those idiots and assholes are your customers.

 

If you’re an accountant working in the back-office, who do you think your customers are?

Your most important customer is your boss. You are selling her on you, your brand and the potential she perceives you to have (know your shit). Inability to deliver and lack of motivation will very quickly give her buyer’s remorse.

Your secondary customers – the others who depend on you to make/review entries and perform accountant-like duties. These secondary customers can influence your primary customer so you should always be ON. Piss off a peer and the salt will leak into your brand overnight.

Good customer service means being reliable, likable and knowledgeable. Always deliver what you’ve committed to delivering (under promise but over deliver). No one can recall the times when you came in on schedule, but they damn well will remember if you’re early (sandbag – yeah I said it).

Customer Service

Finally, don’t ever deliberately piss off your customer. A pissed off customer will remember. In fact, the negative experience you provided will last longer in his memory than anything positive you’ve done. And so … in the long chance that he has the ability to influence your career growth, guess which way he’ll go.

Think of yourself as a brand like Nike, Amazon, Zappos etc. Your reputation can make or break your brand. The best way to cultivate a great reputation is to provide great customer service.

Is success possible in a rigged system?

US-income-inequality

Income inequality exists and continues to widen because the rich keep getting wealthier and earn higher incomes while the middle class and low wage earners lose out. Sadly, majority of us Americans, being the ever optimists, don’t believe that we are part of the “have-nots.” Instead, we live in the illusion of “can-have” i.e. “I can be successful if I work hard” or “I can be wealthy if I invent the next app” or “I will be well paid once I reach the upper management of my company.”

In reality, the system is rigged against you from the beginning. If you weren’t born into the top 5% wealth society, you’re already way behind. If you went to a public school, you’re further behind. If you went to a non-Ivy League school, you’ve screwed yourself. If you joined an entry-level job at your company instead of a leadership program, you’re so far behind that your chances of becoming truly successful are minuscule.

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This is not to scare you into giving up or discourage you from trying. This is to inspire you! Success IS possible … even in this rigged system. It just means you need to actively manage your success. No longer can you rely on your hard work alone.

The great thing about the capitalistic corporate world is that at the end of the day, it is cold, calculating and truly dedicated to self-interest. Therefore, if you can convince the corporation that having you around is in it’s best interest, you become valuable. When you become valuable, you become successful.

The goal is to prove that you are, in fact, a valuable asset. In fact, you have to be the most valuable asset to get to the top.

Proving yourself to be an asset requires that you, like the sharp blade of a ninja’s sword, are constantly polishing yourself. You must perfect your body, your mind, your spirit and your entire psychological being with only one goal – to get to the top.

Only then are you a true Korporate Klimber.

Five things you’re doing wrong at work

Career Sabotage

One of my favorite magazines just came out with a great article on the five things you could be doing to hurt your career.

FastCompany spoke to career experts about unwitting actions at the office that may be derailing your career.

1. Being hard on yourself when you fail

Failure happens. But you hurt your career when you let the fear of failure prevent you from sharing new ideas or taking risks. Instead, assess the cause of failure: was it due to lack of support from senior leaders? was it sabotaged? did you fail to plan or communicate appropriately? was it you? or was it due to external influences? Leverage your learnings to ensure success on the next project.

Michael-Jordan-Quote

2. Thinking that self promotion is unprofessional

The Korporate Klimber is a big proponent of self-promotion. No one knows you better than you do. So, if you’re not touting your strengths and not sharing your achievements with others, you’re letting opportunities slip by you. Just don’t be a self-centered douche about it. Be classy by promoting the success of your project and the people involved.

3. Not being a team player

Sometimes, smart, ambitious people get frustrated because others on their team aren’t as smart, as motivated, or as dedicated to a project so they just say “fuck-it” and do everything on their own. This is a bad idea. Not only do you alienate yourself, you’re also sowing the seeds of jealousy and general discontent. If you piss people off, they’re less likely to help you in the future and more likely to take pleasure in watching you fail. Don’t be an island. You may want to laugh at the idea of holding hands and singing kumbaya with your fellow co-workers, but trust me … it is a good career move.

4. Not soliciting feedback constantly

Don’t wait for the annual performance review to find out what your boss really thinks of you. Instead, get in front of him at least once a quarter and ask for his feedback. Get him to help you find your weaknesses and work on them before he puts them down in an official company record at year-end. Jump on any opportunities for a 360-degree feedback.

5. Staying only in your comfort zone

Nothing kills a career faster than someone who doesn’t want to take on new responsibilities and expand their role. If you’re offered a chance to work on something beyond your daily responsibilities, jump on it immediately. But be smart and take on work that has high visibility. Avoid taking on thankless grunt work from your co-worker. Do take on thankless grunt work from your boss and other leaders.

Read the full FAST COMPANY article here:   YOU’RE PROBABLY MAKING THESE FIVE MISTAKES AT WORK