Category Archives: coaching

Do you have a career P.L.A.N.?

Do you have a career P.L.A.N.?

Do you have a career P.L.A.N.?

Do you have a career plan?

The likelihood of most of us sitting down every year with a professional career coach to create an annual career strategy is about as great as chocolate cream cake becoming a zero calorie dessert any time soon.  No one would think of having a medical with an unqualified doctor or getting their cars serviced at an unauthorised garage. Yet many casually stick their heads out of their pods and ask their colleagues, spouses,  pub buddies,  friends or family members for definitive input on what are potentially important career questions.

Do you go with the flow?

Most of us have a very  casual, laissez -faire, “trust in the moment” attitude to our careers, especially if we enjoy our jobs and  are professionally  satisfied.  Careers quite often move along at their own pace with perhaps some superficial input at an annual performance appraisal.  But few organisations are progressive enough to have meaningful  appraisal  systems that they actually implement.

In our lives we maintain our cars, our gardens, our health and our homes,  yet we rarely maintain our careers.

Until of course there is a problem or we get stuck.

Then, in response to a glitch or unexpected situation we frantically update our CVs, reach into our network to call “what’s his name”  and desperately try to set up some sort of online presence.   So even if we are sublimely happy (and perhaps even more so)  every one of us should have a career or professional plan.

There is a fine line between complacency and contentment.

Here is my helpful acronym that illustrates why:

P is for  PURPOSE  –   Create goals  “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”  said Tony Robbins.  If you go through this process with a professional career coach so much the better.

L is for LEARN  – learn and understand your transferable skills and strengths. They will thread through your careers like a string of pearls and will become invaluable confidence builders and key to your overall plan. The workplace is changing at a phenomenal pace and skills become  quickly outdated.  Ongoing life and professional learning should be a key component in our career plans. .

A is for ANALYSIS –  in any S.W.O.T. analysis identifying opportunities and development needs will be very significant.   People who know what they are good at and have identified any skill shortfall are almost always excellent managers and leaders.  Set up training programmes and create strategic alliances and network contacts in line with your longer term goals.    Ask what can you do for those connections before an issue arises.  If any crisis does occur “what’s his name” will be someone you can contact without embarrassment and  who will be happy to return your call.

N is for NAME –  naming and articulating your success stories and goals and creating a plan boosts a dream or a wish into a reality. In today’s complex workplace even the most successful, competent and content among us have set- backs.    Knowing the steps that underpin a career plan make it so much easier to be flexible and re-evaluate in the light of new circumstances and change direction if we need to. Having the skills and experience to create and implement a plan will help you get beyond any negative situation.

So do you have a career P.L.A.N.?

Moving on from bullying: leave a legacy


This post was orignally a guest post for Ann Lewis author of “Recover your balance: How to bounce back from bad times at work”

Take a stand
In my research for my series on the bullying of women in the work place by women, I was contacted by a huge number of women and somewhat surprisingly men too. Most of this communication was private.

Two messages
This sent me two messages: the first was that bullying is still a shame based experience leaving many unable to openly admit that it had happened. The other was that individuals who had been targets, even years later, went to considerable lengths not only to protect the identity of the perpetrators, but also the organisations where they worked. In many cases little or nothing had been done to support them. In essence, the bullied had become part of an enabling process which allowed repeat offenders to continue abusive behaviour.

Could I say they these victims had moved on?
No, not really. Many had simply resigned and left organisational life to become corporate refugees by working freelance or starting their own business. Some went onto be bullied in subsequent jobs. Others had abandoned their careers totally. Most were scarred, still bewildered and angry. Many had had such horrific experiences, which in my naivety I had previously only associated with movie story lines.

Premeditated sabotage strategies aside, on a daily basis many accused bullies (especially women) have no idea that their behaviour is perceived as « bullying « and are quite shocked or even distressed when finally challenged. So it seems that the bullying process can be viewed as a breakdown, or absence of, constructive communication, with each party needing to assume responsibility for their own role in the dysfunctional dynamic.

Tri-partite responsibility
• The responsibility of the “ target” is to communicate his/her perception of the situation and follow through as required . Failure to do this can mean staying stuck in a negative position, which is tantamount to handing over personal power to both the bully and the organisation.
• The responsibility of the bully is to change his/her behaviour and communication style to acceptable norms.
• The responsibility of the organisation is to ensure that it is carried out.

What would I suggest to anyone who feels that they are being bullied?

• Research corporate and sector guidelines. Most countries have no legislation to deal with bullying, although that is changing. Benchmark your experience against those checklists.
• Seek professional help early in the process. This is good investment. You are experiencing a trauma! If you were suffering a wound to your leg, would you try and treat it yourself? No! You’d see a doctor!
• Work on strategies to self advocate and heal. Focus on becoming “unstuck” and taking responsibility for retreiving your own position .
• In tandem set up an audit trail of abusive treatment. Document and note each incident. This will be useful in any internal inquires or even eventual legal action.
• Find a mentor. Someone who can support and validate you professionally.

Strategic challenge
Walking away from a bad experience maybe sufficient for some to heal and I agree that in a number of instances, “letting go” will do it. However, the individuals who seemed be in the best place, were the very few who had found the courage to challenge the bully in a constructive and strategic way, as well as tenaciously dealing with the organisations where the bullying had occurred, even to the point of legal action.

Cultural contribution
This is not about revenge, although I’m sure for some individuals that might play a satisfying part. Stepping up in this way is also about contributing to the cultural change of what is acceptable workplace behaviour. It will raise public awareness to prevent the same thing happening to others. This transparency also obliges organisations to enforce (rather than pay lip service to) workplace protocols instead of intervening only when the bottom line is negatively impacted. Think of the significant advances that have happened over the last 40 years in the areas of discrimination against women, minorities or the physically impaired. This has been the cumulative result of individual as well as group action.

So somehow, and easier said than done I know, the targets of bullying need to dig deep to find the courage to step up and take a stand, not just for their own recovery, but for the protection of our future working environments. To quote Martin Luther King “Justice denied anywhere, diminishes justice everywhere

That is when personal moving on also leaves a legacy.

What do you think?

Normalising the salary expectation question

Why this question should not be stressful
I came across a discussion on LinkedIn recently posted by J. Paige Freedland about how to handle the salary expectation question. There were almost 400 responses covering a wide range of viewpoints from all participants, some of them conflicting and contradictory. It became very clear that what is a straightforward and routine question for recruiters and hiring managers, is in fact a huge challenge for many candidates and causes considerable confusion and anxiety, especially if they have been on the job market for some time.

In her learning curve from the discussion Paige distilled and collated those 400 responses and identified 3 areas which candidates should focus on: research and preparation, knowing your own worth and understanding your bottom line! You can see her thoughts on that discussion around about the 400th response mark. Her summary marks her own journey through the process and is really worth reading.

Transparency
Generally speaking, the best response is openness. “I earn(ed) x and would expect something on the range of x to y , but would be happy to be flexible for the right position” If candidates have a sense of their own market value and follow trends, then delivering this response should not be problematic. Research can be done on line , and via network contacts either actual or other professional platforms. This is essential. No one would sell their house without knowing its market value. Why do it to yourself? This gives the recruiter or hiring manager the information they need to know immediately and sends out a message about being open to negotiate.

Gay Charles, Senior Consultant & Head of Equal Talent Practice , Belux at Odgers Berndtson, with over 25 years experience in the business told me that ” I rarely find candidates reluctant to discuss salary and when that happens it is usually a fair indication of lack of confidence and self belief “. If confidence is an issue , it is really worth investing in professional support to learn skills in this process.

Some points are worth noting:
Salary negotiation is simply a business process which is a key component of any recruitment procedure. Clare Ireland, Senior Partner , Hansar Internationalthe more experienced and mature people understand that it is a hygiene question that needs to be covered and is no less or more important than any other subject covered in an interview.”

It’s not a trick question: it’s useful to have some broad indication of what a candidate would be looking for to make a move. The easiest and simplest way to deal with this is to give a realistic range related to current earnings. Normally this is covered in the early screening processes and any attempts at evasiveness or lack of transparency, tend to raise doubts about the candidate. Personally, I would give an interesting candidate some time to think about it and allow them to get back to me before the next stage of the process. Clare adds ” In our experience we find few candidates who are evasive about being questioned about their salary. In general, hiring companies will pay what is considered fair, reasonable and fits within their salary banding system ….it is rare to find clients trying to “cheat” candidates though of course what is considered fair to them, may not be the same for the candidate” Candidates should also be advised to take into account the total package including benefits and future opportunities.

Good candidates are rarely ruled out on salary grounds alone. Salary tends to be the market indicator of seniority or experience, which translates into a potentially possible lack of fit for the position ( too senior or junior) with all that implies. There might be internal repercussions on the existing team for example, but candidates could also be re-approached regarding their flexibility.

If a candidate is interesting but has a higher salary then the employer’s budget and if they are selected, negotiation begins. He/she can always decline to engage at this point. Clare elaborates ” The deal will only be closed if both sides are in agreement.” I have participated in those discussions on numerous occasions, when candidates should employ all the usual negotiating strategies. Some companies will have salary scales and for executive positions the salary will be what you are able to negotiate. Counter offers are almost always made, estimated at 10 -15% on initial offers, but similarly candidates do decide to withdraw. It is important to have calculated your ” floor” beforehand.

Under selling oneself can also be perceived as a negative factor. There is a certain belief that a lower than market level salary is an indication of an unwillingness to negotiate, prompting the question, if candidates can’t negotiate for themselves, then how can they negotiate for the company? This is particularly true for women, who step up to the negotiation table 6 times less than their male counter parts. Ladies see my post ” Let’s go girls… negotiate

Transparency is beneficial – it contributes to good working relationships within the hiring process and if one occasion doesn’t work out, the next one might. Good contacts have been established for the future.

However, in these uncertain times when organisations are examining any additional costs and salary deflation exists, it is really important to emphasise the value that can be added in the future. That involves solid interview and career transition preparation. Companies will pay what their budget will allow, but they do want the best candidate .

Paige told me she had learned that ” there is no perfect answer. In fact there are numerous effective answers. But I’m convinced that doing your homework and having a plan is essential in giving you confidence during the interview and being sincere in your responses. You need to be true to yourself and you need to feel comfortable with your responses. You want the job, but not at the expense of your long-term satisfaction and future opportunities. Only you can determine what is going to work for you. If you are sincere, honest and earnest, your chances for success grow exponentially

That is excellent advice.

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Is coaching elitist?

Why I don’t think so

Over the past  few months,  I have received a number of emails from individuals who believe that coaches in general (and that includes me)  are aiming the content of their blogs, articles and programmes at people who are already successful , but are somehow just temporarily,  and somewhat inconveniently, experiencing a little glitch on the golden conveyor to the dizzy heights of their professional pyramid.  They feel that these ideas don’t reach or apply to the average person stuck in their jobs,  the ones  who feel that they are living in “quiet desperation”  to quote Thoreau. They see coaching as an elitist option.

Stuck

 Janie B,  says “ Dorothy,  I love your blog it is filled with humor and  good tips and really accessible. But I think you are talking about high-flying,  talented people who can afford coaches. What do ordinary people like me do who can’t?  I’m stuck in a job I hate…. I don’t excel at anything  and there’s no way out.” 

 I have to consider those comments seriously. What Janie B  and others are suggesting is that coaching principles cannot be equally applied and are therefore undemocratic.

How green is your grass?

Let’s give this a global perspective.  We should take into account that the message writers (including Janie B)  are literate, highly educated  and clearly have internet access ( 80% of Americans have broadband access,  Japanese 75%), then they are  probably already in global terms,  better positioned than  a large percentage of the  world population, who do not.  Nigeria for example has  7.4%   internet penetration.  So to that extent, some modern coaching channels  blogs,  web sites,  webinars etc) can appear to be elitist and focus on people living in advanced industrial economies who can tap into modern communication methods. Janie and the other message writers, despite what they think,  are already in a global elite. That is something often forgotten when examining other people’s grass. 

But real coaching is not related to modern technology, or for a select, wealthy  few. Some of the greatest philosophers and thinkers from Seneca, Plato to  Gandhi and Einstein not just in our time, but throughout history, have eschewed material goods on their path to personal development and spiritual enlightenment. Neither did they have internet connections. Nor were they on Twitter or YouTube. Would they have in different times used these media?  Strong possibility  – they were all communicators. However, their legacy is time-honoured thoughts,  that are applicable in all our lives and have nothing to do with  technological advancement and superficial successes ,whether economically or professionally. In fact many  certainly rejected the latter.

So although working with a coach can be hugely beneficial,  do I  think that most coaching techniques are democratic and can be  universally applied  and available, regardless of where we are  financially, professionally, in our relationships or lives?

Yes I do.

 “If you think the grass is greener on the other side,  try watering your lawn” 

 When people feel trapped in their jobs,  there is a tendency to offer  bumper sticker type solutions. But no plastering your office wall  or refrigerator with ‘post its’  or magnets containing the latest positive thoughts will help make your grass greener long term. They are of limited short-term value,  like tending your lawn with a  water pistol.  I’m not suggesting a water cannon would do – but just  more of a garden sprinkler type of activity.  Timely, systematic and measured.

So what can you do if you have the privilege of living in an advanced economy and feel stuck in your job or your life?  How do you achieve something  you feel passionate about – for free?

  Here are just a very few suggestions:

  • Check out your life and professional goals. Are they aligned?  Usually I have found that this is the root of the problem.  If you could change your life what would it look like? How do you look?  Is it really the job that bothers you or something else? Be honest, tough if you have to.
  • Manage your negative thoughts
  • List the challenges you’ve had in your life. What skills did you use to deal with them? What were your success stories? These are your transferable skills .
  • What don’t you like about your job? Why? Is there anything about your job you like?  List those points. What skills do the good points require?
  • Make a mission statement. You know from a previous post   that even CEOs struggle with this. 
  • Set yourself some goals and objectives. They need to be  specific, measurable,  achievable,  realistic and time bound ( SMART)
  •  Take courses: on-line, night school,  open university, start a blog , join Twitter or LinkedIn. There are so many ways these days to add to your personal development  and they cost very little. If you don’t have  internet access  go to your local public library.
  • Volunteer. There are  also different ways to achieve goals outside a professional arena.
  • Set up a job search or life plan with lots of small  incremental steps to achievement.  Reward yourself when you succeed.
  • Cherish yourself  and those near to you!  Ask for their support and feedback
  •  Look after your health and exercise. Walk every day.

 Cost to date….  ZERO.

Who can add to the list?

Career reflection: Could you get your own job?

What would happen if you had to apply for your own job?
In the past year I have been conscious of , and written extensively about,  the pace of change in my particular  field which seems to be greater than ever before. It’s hard to keep up!  Every time I learn something new, I have to get to grips with something  even newer.  I cannot imagine I am alone in this position!  I also coach people in transition in various professions and sectors and advise them always of the need to stay up dated in their fields.  But what about  people not looking for jobs or directly at risk in any way?

Could they successfully apply for their own jobs?

Could you?

One of the cruellest spin offs of any organisational re-structuring is that sometimes employees are invited to re-apply for their own jobs, frequently when they have been in post for many years and have considerable seniority and  experience. But does this mean that they are necessarily the best candidate for the job as it exists now in the current environment and climate? Regrettably not always.

There are a number of counter arguments to this thesis.

Organisational responsibility
Many will say it’s the  responsibility of the organisation to ensure than their employees are trained and up to date in any developments in their field and are performing to the best of their abilities. To  some extent this could be true.

Any switched-on company committed to employee development  will do this,  seeing  peak employee performance and talent management  as  intrinsic to bottom line success.  But in times of economic stringency and turbulence,  when training budgets have been slashed, updating employees  and keeping them up to speed may not be their top priority.  This is set against a background of quite often incomplete , inadequate, and irregular performance appraisal  which limits meaningful feedback from any manager to  his/her reports. Essentially many employees have no real idea of how they are actually doing, or where their strengths and weaknesses lie on the ideal candidate spectrum.

Avoid complacency
Many of you will also say that it’s no way to live,  or work,  in a state of permanent insecurity always worrying about someone coming in to take over your job. That’s also true.  But complacency isn’t a good state either. One of the things we have all learned in this current economic crisis is that there are no certainties in life. So perhaps  it would be foolish to sit and wait for someone else to take responsibility for your career  and ultimately your life. Many people who are moved sideways, demoted, have promotion disappointments or who get fired,  very often don’t see it coming.   Many of  us are wedded to our tried and trusted ways of operating. Even though we might acknowledge a need to do things  differently at one level (mainly intellectual),  we still struggle to implement  practical change. It doesn’t matter if it’s C-suite level of Fortune 500 companies  or middle managers in SMEs, taking that step to honestly and brutally self appraise is never easy.

It’s also not just about the arrogance of captains of industry such as Fred “The Shred” Goodwin,   or the senior executives of General Motors or Lehman Brothers who failed miserably to understand the limitations of their own performance, until of course it was too late. It’s important for us all to  consciously examine our own roles in relation to the market and be aware and take care of any short fall.

So  maybe start asking  yourself the following questions:

  •  How qualified  am I for this position,  not necessarily always  in  terms of educational certificates,  but in experience?
  • Is my knowledge current?
  • What improvements could/should I make to may own skill set and performance to achieve better results?
  • What other changes would I make ?
  • What is my mission statement?
  • Can my contribution be measured?
  • Do I look for ,  process and act on constructive feedback?
  • What value do I add?
  • Do I know my own worth? Do my bosses, peers, and reports?
  • Who could replace me?

So… would you hire …you?

Coaching: The Susan Boyle Effect

Susan Boyle’s audition on  the show “Britain’s Got Talent”  is apparently the most watched with 280 million hits in the first 6 weeks. We’ve all seen it – some of us multiple times ( .. me !).

We rejoiced and delighted at so many myths and stereotypes being debunked in just a few minutes right in front of our eyes.  Ageism, look-ism ( is that a word?), economic demographics, personality types, educational backgrounds, academic ability. This wasn’t some bo-toxed, surgically enhanced, pelvis gyrating, cleavage heaving, teenage fashionista making it  – but  someone we could all relate to. A neighbour, an aunt,  a friend… our mothers . Despite the slick editing and the clever stage management of the event  ( the producers had  to know surely of the potential talent), we all felt the sheer joy of the establishment having the wind taken out of its  smug, self important, arrogant sails. Someone unexpectedly was defying all odds and achieving their dream right there on our HD  flat screen or lap tops. And ironically of course, that was the name of the song.

Core talent 

But there was one thing that was very different about Susan Boyle. She really could sing. I believe wholeheartedly that we are all good at something. Does this mean overnight  stardom or success is guaranteed,  no matter how hard we work or try?  Regrettably – no  it doesn’t!

The celebrity obsession

We live in an era where  for many, being famous or a celebrity  has now become a goal in itself .  According to USA Today 51% of 18- 24 year olds want to be famous  – but they are not quite sure how or why. This culture of celebrity envy and worship changes our expectations. But the reality is that most of us every day people have to content ourselves with what Napoleon Hill sums up: “ If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way

Keep it real

As coaches we support clients in identifying their passions and pursuing their dreams. But at the same  time we also have to introduce a  reality check.  It’s not easy to fly in the face of the culture of wholesale, bumper sticker type positive thinking slogans.  Although I love the fairy story element of success stories such as Susan Boyle’s,  or anyone else fulfilling life long dreams – goals need to be as realistic and achievable as possible.  Otherwise we are set up to fail.

Keep it achievable

I know this is  going to be percieved  in some circles as more of an equatorial downpour  than rain on the general parade.  But sorry,  if  you don’t have a good voice – you will probably never be a great singer. But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t still enjoy singing or improve.   In the words of Albert Einstein, somewhat cleverer than myself, “ Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

Look at other avenues

There is also no law that says all personal satisfaction and recognition should come from your job or pursuing a career. There are lots of other avenues for personal development that can be equally rewarding.  If you like working with numbers you can  volunteer as Treasurer for your church, a local club or your kid’s school.  If you have a good, but not amazing voice , you can join a choir or attend Karaoke events.

Don’t forget the hard yards

So if your current job is blue-collar or staff level the chances of you becoming CFO any time soon are pretty slim,  unless you take steps to make that happen.  You will have to graduate from high school , go to university and take  professional qualifications. Like Susan Boyle or any other amazing success story their achievements  may seem instantaneous,  but there are  usually many years  of hard yards behind the scenes.

If you have dreams of being an Olympic athlete but need to lose 20 pounds and smoke a pack a  day,  then that too will remain a fantasy.  Kriss Akabusi , author of  “Success comes in Cans” and  himself a recod breaking athlete makes the following comment  ” Yes , the overnight success syndrome is a real misnomer.  It took me 15 yrs to become European Champion. Of course it is appealing to just show up, be accepted for a gushing testimonial and people’s good feel factor, but in reality lasting success comes with determination, discipline, dedication to a course over time where one hews success out of failure and the core talent is sculptured from inside out”.

I can’t add to that !

Let’s go girls … negotiate!

Why do women earn less than men for doing similar jobs?

This post became the first in a trilogy on women and salary negotiation.  See the sequels Don’t be afraid of “Noand “Cave in… or leave the cave” 

I’ve  come across a few  things in the past 2 weeks which have left me unfortunately,  pretty sad ,  frustrated and frankly in a state of confused wonderment.  It’s all centred around  the issue of gender  divide and salary. Or to put it less esoterically –  why do women earn less than men for doing similar jobs? 

 I’m not even talking about glass ceilings, women on boards or any other more complex and contentious  issues that are perplexing a generation of management gurus, where  there are whole biz school courses  and grad theses  devoted to the topic.  No, all I’m talking about is basics :  why does John  earn (x) and Jane earn (x minus )  for doing comparable work, when all other factors such as education,  qualifications, experience and age are equal.

Background

I started my early career  as a Corporate HR  trainee in the steel industry  when  the ability to legally  advertise lower rates  of pay for women was sadly  a pretty recent memory.  At that time trades-union officials would  even ask why there was a  woman at the meeting! True! In any negotiations  it was not uncommon for all the men  ( large numbers) to exit the  meeting room en masse,   leaving me with the metaphoric handbags, gasping in a Dickensian fug  ( smoking  in buildings was legal too)  to go to the gents bathroom. They would come back with  a resolution agreement which  bore only  minimal resemblance to the previous 2 hour discussion which I had religiously minuted on my crisp trainee notepad. I was left  bemused and bewildered. These were the days when feeling a hand on your bum in the  photocopy room  was par for the course and the term sexual harassment  hadn’t even been invented.

Has anything changed?

So imagine my distress when I found out that despite the passage of time (…. not saying how much) this sort of unequal treatment  seems to be ongoing.  Today, according to Janez Potočnik European Commissioner for Science and Research 60% of European graduates are female,  so in real terms women should indeed be a force to be reckoned with on  any job market. However,    I read a few days ago,  that I am living in a country which now holds 60th placing in the  World Economic Forum  table on the  Global Gender Gap rankings  sub index,  relating to economic participation and job opportunity.

Marcus Buckingham in the Huffington Post  tells us that  it is the failure of women to  actually step up  and negotiate which is at the root of the problem : “according to a study at G.E., men return to the negotiating table on average six times, while women average between zero and two” . Cumulatively over a career he estimates that this shortfall could mean as much as  $o.5m  loss of earnings in a female employee’s bank account.

In their book  Women Don’t Ask:  Negotiation and the Gender Divide,  Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever give some further worrying statistics about the context and long-term economic  implications of this passivity.

In Belgium, Isabella Lenarduzzi — founded  Jump,  an initiative  to  support women in the workplace  in Belgium,  which has achieved incredible success in providing a secure environment for women to pursue personal development.

Negotiation is a learned skill

But despite these efforts, unfortunately, as a recruiter I come across this discrepancy all the time with monotonous and disheartening regularity.   I do  believe that negotiation is a skill that can be learned and as a coach I have a segment  in my programme covering salary negotiation,   but  as divorce rates rise and single parenthood households are also increasing, the need for women  to work rapidly towards economic parity  is more signficant than ever before.

 So ladies,  consider this:

  • If a person cannot successfully negotiate for themselves it  can bring into doubt their ability to effectively negotiate for their company.
  • Ineffective or inconsistent negotiation practises leads to general vulnerability- not just in the work place . 
  • To be consistently paid less than the market rate  can indicate a lack of  lack of self worth  – as above,  leads to vulnerability.
  • Good fair negotiators are respected. Self respect fosters confidence
  • Despite what you think , there should be nothing you eventually can’t walk away from.

So what do you have to do to get to this happy place?:

  • Understand and be able to articulate all your areas of added value. This enhances self respect and confidence and increases your expectations, because you now believe in yourself.
  • Salary research  –  be aware of your own market place and know your value in it. Calculate any shortfall. Facts talk!
  • Don’t take any discussions personally –  get into business neutral.  Negotiation is only a process, nothing else.
  • Build a business case
  • Look at fringe benefits as well as financial incentives. Benefits can eventually have a high monetary value and also play an important role in work/life balance issues. There is a caveat in the sense that  generally benefits do not count toward pensionable earnings if there is a  scheme.  Factor this in fully.
  • Evaluate any rejection neutrally  – the question should be not be ” do you want to stay in this job?” – but  “when would be a good time to leave? My employer doesn’t value me”.   

If you discover that you are paid below the market rate , need to negotiate a salary to start a new job only to  find yourself struggling with that process you have 2 options only:  find yourself a career coach a.s.a.p.  or  find yourself another employer.