contributed by Bess Devenow- “Counterculture” Expert
I was what you’d technically call the “Jan Brady” or “Stephanie Tanner” of my family- the 2nd of 3 girls. However, all similarities to these characters end after our birth order, as I was definitely not a daughter who felt like a shadow of her sisters, but rather possessed a great deal of self-confidence and autonomy. These traits have served me especially well when it comes to my career.
1) Don’t be afraid to ask for and work towards what you want. By expressing yourself clearly and making known your noteworthy achievements, loyalty, and intention to continue to grow within a company, you increase the likelihood of getting the recognition and compensation you deserve. The last time I checked, upper management isn’t going out of their way to offer employees raises, especially given a little “r” word as of recent (recession). Remember, if you can’t sell yourself, nobody else can. If you want a better job, do a better job, then don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
2) They need you more than you need them. I can’t take credit for coming up with this one and nor can my dad, but he instilled this mantra in my head from a young age and I’ve reaped the benefits many times over. When you enter a raise discussion, salary negotiation, etc, approach it from the attitude that you currently offer them more value than they offer you. This will result in a more confident delivery of what you want and why you deserve it and even if they reject your terms, you won’t feel the need to take it personally (because you know you are a fabulous asset) and will take the time to retweak your game plan.
3) Turn their no into your yes. If they say no, which is the worst thing they can say by the way and we’ve all heard it before (Sadie Hawkins dance, I’m talking to you), don’t let that word’s confining nature discourage and overwhelm you. Rather take the time to really understand how your passions, strengths, and prior experience are working in your favor to create an ideal path for you. Even if it means taking the “fork in the road”, your passion, tenacity, and skills will adeptly navigate you along. I know this, because I’ve lived it and left one career for another that was easy to transition to by virtue of my skills and convictions, quickly rising in the ranks.
4) Keeping the door ajar is much classier (and beneficial) than slamming it shut. When you are really in touch with yourself and your wants out of life, you will find that they change pretty often. In my case, I was able to seamlessly return to a prior career because I had never burned bridges or left to go to a competitor and simply stayed friends with my former colleagues.