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Friday, May 18, 2007

One Post, Two Questions

Question 1:

Hi, over the last year, I have seen many of my peers- managers fail in their roles, taken out of that job, reassigned to something different, only to land in their "dream" job with in the company. It's sending out signals that in order to get what you want, you need to fail- so you will get "re-assigned."

So why are the rest of us, busting our butts in the same roles trying to make the next leap, when it seems the rewards are going to those who are "struggling" and unsuccessful" in their previous roles?

Question 2:

My manager accidentially sent salary information for all of my co-workers, including the VP of sales, directors, managers and all sales reps throughout the country. After reviewing all this information I am one of the lowest paid in the whole country, even less than a co-worker with no prior sales experience. what should or can I do to get paid more? also, of all 6 reps a few have got promoted, 1 left,1 got fired and now I'm the only one left and they really can't afford to lose me. what can I do?

Even those these questions are quite different, the answer is (drum role please): Ask.

In the first case, what appears to be happening may or may not be happening. It may be that management is just looking to use the people they have effectively. So, if they spot skills that would work better in another department, they move you. Management may not recognize this as a reward for failure.

Go to your manager and say, "I would really like to end up in department X. What can I do to work towards that goal?" Don't be surprised if they are shocked by your request. "But you're doing such a good job here, don't you want to stay here?"

Sometimes our success can hold us back--you're good at what you do so we don't want to lose you.

Now, for the second question--first your boss goofed up by distributing salaries. (For the record, I'm in favor of more open compensation system, but that's a topic for another post.) The good thing is you now know the information and your boss knows you know.

It would be helpful to you if you could also gather some market data to support a pay increase. Then, make an appointment and go in to your boss and say, "I believe I am underpaid. This (market data) and this (internal salary data) indicate that my salary should be 6% higher than it is now." Then shut up and let your boss respond.

Keep in mind, that as above, if you've been doing the job well at the current salary your boss may be shocked that you are not happy. No telling what his response will be. It could range from, "absolutely not" to "Oh my word, we didn't realize how off kilter your salary was. How about an 8% raise?"

Be willing to negotiate. But make sure you ask. They know they can't afford to lose you, so you can be bold. You aren't going to be fired for asking. You may come out ahead. You may not. (And, by the way, you may find out unpleasant things about your performance. Managers rarely like to say negative things--like why your pay is low--unless they have to.)

And as a side note, when you were hired, did you negotiate the original salary? If you didn't, that may be the cause of your low salary, compared to everyone else.

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