No One Told Me There Was Lipstick On My Teeth…and Other Things I’d Wish I’d Known

Have you ever discovered something so simple (often the hard way), yet so life changing, that you want to tell the world? However, when you do, you find out that EVERYONE. ALREADY. KNEW. 

Was there a secret meeting of the minds that I wasn’t invited to? Did they* accidentally send the email to my AOL account? Where they* do that at? 

Here are 3 things that I’ve learned in my career, that I wish someone had told me: 

DON’T TAKE A PROMOTION JUST BECAUSE IT’S OFFERED…

Or take a job that you’ve interviewed for and had second, or third, thoughts about. It’s exciting to be offered a new job and I get not wanting to turn down an opportunity…but just because it’s offered doesn’t mean that you should take it. Actually, accepting a position that isn’t a good fit or that you don’t have the experience to be successful can be detrimental to your career. Do your research, ask questions and determine if it’s the right role for you. Sure,  you can google or figure out how to complete an assignment but don’t risk your reputation by stepping into boots that you aren’t ready to fill. Trust me, this will not be the last time that a new opportunity is presented. There is value in waiting until the time is right.

Even if you are qualified for the new  opportunity, you should also consider if the new role will create a shift in your lifestyle , and if so, are you (and your family) prepared. Will the role require that you work 60 hour weeks? Does this role require that you travel often but you’re in school? Is the position at new company and you are in the home buying process and it’s not a good time to leave your current company? 

Save yourself the time, energy and possible reputation rebuilding by choosing what opportunities you accept wisely. 

 THEY* KNOW YOUR WORTH EVEN IF YOU DON’T

 If a company wants to hire you or a potential client wants to do business with you, they see the value that you bring to the table. Unfortunately, most of us discount our worth simply by not asking. We often accept the opening offer, which is typically much less than we are worth. Friends have shared stories of finding out that their peers made significantly more than they did. It’s not that the person was always more talented or knew the right people, they simply asked for more.

As an entrepreneur, let’s say that you have years of experience planning large scale corporate events and you start your own event planning business. An organization contacts you to plan a holiday party for 300 people and offers you a thousand dollars less than the market rate.  You may be thinking, “This is my first client, so I’ll accept less pay for the experience”.  Don’t short change yourself! You have the experience, resources and expertise. It does not matter if this is your first event on your own or your 50th, the organization found value in your work or else they wouldn’t be willing to hire you. Do not accept less than you know you are worth! Trust me, all you have to do is ask. No one is going to offer you more money if you are willing to accept less. 

 I’ll write a post on negotiating in the coming weeks. 

YOUR CURRENT TITLE WILL MAKE YOU MORE MONEY IN THE FUTURE

Every personality assessment that I’ve taken always describes me as being a futuristic thinker. Futuristic thinkers are described as being able to envision, imagine, predict or project events that have not been realized. This is especially true as it relates to my career. Even at points when I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, I was always looking out for my future self. One way that I did this was by negotiating my job title. Recruiters spend a few seconds looking through hundreds of resumes, so you’ll want job titles that stand out in future job searches. You’ll have more leverage if it its a newly created role.

Do your research. Find out job titles in other industries and organizations with similar responsibilities. When you make the case for a title change be sure to include your achievements, education and relevant experience. Another benefit of a title change (changing from Analyst III to Group/Senior Manager) is that is gives credibility when you are working with senior level clients or members in the organization.

These are just 3 of about 100 things that I’ve learned (often the hard way) in my career. I’ll share more in upcoming posts. 

*the entity that millennials credit (or blame) for creating, conspiring, plotting or inventing anything that we don’t have anyone else to credit or blame.