Krista: I have worked my office job, working 9-5 for over 3 years. My company is changing my hours – no longer 9-5 – but wanting me to work whenever they say – even changing my days off and on – Can they do that? I have child care to worry about – What do I do?
ANSWER: Flexibility at work is a necessity for employees and employers, alike. As companies streamline their workforces, to adapt to new shifts in technology and a changing market, flexibility is the new norm for many organizations. Today’s work environment is constantly fluctuating. This means those employees who are able to adapt to shifting priorities are considered a valuable asset. Being able to adjust is necessary in today's workplace.
While your company may not have a formal set of rules for a flexible workplace, there are many advantages to be gained by becoming more accommodating when it comes to your job. How can you use this to your advantage? If they are looking for more give in your schedule – see if you can negotiate your terms – perhaps, a flexible work schedule that works for both your employer & you personally, or work from home one or more days per week to accommodate your children. Talk to your child care and see if they are open to flexibility in their hours, or find a friend that might step in when your hours are fluctuating. Build trust and show your employer you are committed to making the new schedule work – help them find solutions and hopefully they will be committed to helping make it work for you.
Robert: What is the best way to ask for a raise or should I wait? I have been there for a little over 2 years and they seem to be happy with me. My company is rather conservative and I am a little nervous, but could use a bump in my finances.
ANSWER: When you sit down with your manager to talk about getting a raise, you need to be ready to sell yourself and your value to the company- not always an easy task. The first piece of information you should have on hand is why you deserve an increase in your compensation package. You notice I didn’t say salary. There are lots of pieces that make up your comp package.
It takes some homework. Build a case of facts of why you are worth more. Collect emails, letters and other feedback extolling your work from clients, co-workers, managers and others. Remind the boss of the special projects you took on at work and the community, like your United Way campaigns.
Research internet sites like Glassdoor.com, PayScale.com, Salary.com and indeed.com to be able to show the boss the “going rate” in your community for people with your skill sets. Be aware, you may well find you are on target already. If your salary is in line, you can ask for more days off to be able to work from home one day a week, or other non-monetary items that are of interest to you but do not cost the company money.
Don’t corner your boss in the elevator or ambush him at lunch. Make an appointment and be ready to make a formal presentation, with all of the necessary bells and whistles. And give the boss time to consider your requests and to get back to you. He may have to get permission from his boss or just get comfortable with the changes you asked for.
Adrianna - I am currently employed with a defense contractor. I am searching for a new employment opportunity. I have an active government Secret clearance. What is the best way to search in my field?
ANSWER: I have several questions for you! One – why are you searching for a new position? Are you willing to relocate? My answer would start with NETWORK without knowing the answers to the questions I have asked you.
I know I say it often, but networking in your field and subtly talk with those in your field about potential opportunities is a great way to plant the seed. Building relationships in your field is a strong way to be the first they think of when an opening comes about. Build connections with the recruiters as well. Prove to them you have something of value, and continue to prove yourself over time. You’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd as a result. Sometimes, giving a prospective employer a taste of your talents can be all you need to bypass the standard application process and fast track your dream career.
And use your Top Secret Clearance to your advantage. Research how freely you can use it on your resume, LinkedIn page, Facebook, etc. because there are some limitations.
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