At some point or another, you will be passed over for a raise or promotion. The goal is to actually start strategizing about your future BEFORE this unfortunate event occurs.
Perhaps part of the reason why some men make more than some women is because men are more aggressive in having the compensation talk with management. Back when I was working on Wall Street, I made sure I had a very serious heart-to-heart talk every two years with my bosses about compensation and promotion. I very clearly laid out my goals about when I wanted to get promoted, and how much I was looking to make, in a respectful way of course.
Before each sit down, I made sure my performance to date was solid. I included a short five-to-eight page powerpoint presentation to demonstrate the progress of the business under my leadership. The goal was to make it easy for them to pay and promote me, and it worked. By 27 I was promoted to VP and then to Director by 31 where I stayed for three years until I left to focus on writing.
Towards the end of my career I knew that I would never reach Managing Director. I would have needed to relocate to Hong Kong or New York, and then prove myself for another three years before getting the nod. My manager was at least five years older than me based in NY and wasn’t even an MD. How the heck was I ever going to get ahead? I wasn’t. Once we realize our limitations, we must be happy with what we have or do something. I always like taking action, so I negotiated a severance.
FIVE SIGNS THAT YOU SHOULD MOVE ON FROM YOUR JOB
We always feel like we are a valuable part of a company. The truth of the matter is that we are ALL dispensable. Even if you are a rain maker who produces millions of dollars of revenue for the firm, you’re replaceable if your boss simply doesn’t like you or doesn’t think you’re the right age, sex, race, or whatever else his or her bias is. The higher you go up the food chain, the more political everything gets. Below are five sure signs you should move on.
1) Management doesn’t include you in the interview process. The one great thing about working at my previous two companies was the entire team was always involved in the hiring process. If we are going to hire someone to work with us for 50-60 hours a week, there should be consensus among the team because one bad apple spoils the bunch. We had the most junior to the most senior people interview the candidate to make sure there wasn’t something amiss. It makes for awkward situations if a new person joins a team, and not everybody on the team has met. Management not letting you interview the new candidate means they don’t trust you or value your judgement.
2) You somehow always miss getting the calendar invite. When management doesn’t care about you, they forget about you. Not getting notified about important meetings, luncheons, happy hour functions, and launches is a sure sign that you are definitely not very important to the people who matter. Maybe you just played a little too dumb to get ahead. It’s the same thing when nobody ever criticizes you anymore. It means they just don’t care.
3) You aren’t cut from the same cloth. Look around your office and notice the similarities. One female Managing Director I knew hired five consecutive females in a row to work on her team. People are naturally biased towards people who look, talk, and act like them. Even if you produce nothing and just delegate work, if your image fits what management is looking for, you’ll go much farther than a producer who doesn’t fit the ideal mold. Some management are very particular about image. They might be so image conscience that they are willing to sacrifice quality to fill a token role. If you are being pushed aside for someone who seems less qualified, know that it might be because of filling a quota for image’s sake.
4) They hire someone to do something very similar to what you are doing already. If your manager is bringing in someone who has a very similar role you are doing now, alarm bells should be ringing. Sure, management might say there is always room for the two of you, but chances are, they are looking to go in a different direction. It’s pointless to argue with management why they are making a mistake because they’ve probably thought this through for months.
5) You haven’t been offered a raise or a promotion in a while. At my old job, employees were put up for promotion every three years. It was very structured that way. Perhaps the average duration for promotion to the next level is 4 years, but if you haven’t even been given the chance during that first promotion potential year, you’ve got to really wonder. Figure out what the normal time-table is for getting a promotion at your company and make sure you communicate with your managers quite clearly about your intentions to get promoted, and the steps you’re taking to get there.
KNOW YOUR WORTH AND NEVER FORGET IT
Now that the stock market is at all-time highs and companies are flush with cash, it’s becoming an employee’s market out there in certain areas. You shouldn’t settle for a company that doesn’t appreciate you. Continue searching until you find the one who does.
Always keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. I’m from the old school of thought where company loyalty matters, having worked at my previous firm for 11 consecutive years. But things are always changing now and it’s important to be nimble. If the company you are working for is showing any of the above five signs, you should ramp up your search for something better.
Certainly give your existing employer a chance to make things better before you leave. But in the end, you’ve got to look out for yourself if you’re not getting the love. Just don’t forget that you need to make much more as an entrepreneur to replace your day job income if you decide to go that route!
Recommendation For Leaving A Job
If you want to leave a job you no longer enjoy, I negotiating a severance instead of quitting. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training. Since you got laid off, you’re also eligible for up to 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012 and have since expanded it to 180 pages from 100 pages in the 3rd edition thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies.
Updated for 2020 and beyond.