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When was the last time you asked for a raise? For me, it always feels like an awkward conversation to ask for more money. I don’t want to come off as greedy or not happy in my current job. I just want to make more! Often you need to ask yourself, when will you be happy with your salary? If you are always looking for more money every year, you most likely should go into sales or become a doctor.

Being a sales leader, I often hear employees complaining about money or passively asking for a raise without any thought. Sometimes it is done publicly and sometimes it is in 1:1s that are unplanned and unorganized. In this blog post, I will break down some best practices on asking for a raise.

Now, I hate to break it to you but if you are looking how to quickly get a raise this blog post is most likely not directed to you. Unless you have already been doing the below things for over a year. Then you are ready to ask!

6 Months to 1 Year in Advanced:

1. Take on more responsibility

Being in sales now for over 10 years, people never want to take on more responsibility before they got the raise. This is the biggest downfall most go through is thinking you deserve more money before taking on any new tasks. Often this is the opposite, I never have received a raise by doing my standard job.

I am not advising you to take on new responsibility if you are not excelling at your current responsibilities. There is a process, take time to get really good at your job and when you are a little faster, a little better, start adding additional tasks to your job because you have time to do them. If you had more responsibilities and you are currently not ramped in your job, it will have the opposite affect.

2. Discuss Goals/Objectives in every 1:1

Every time you have a meeting with your manager, have your short terms objectives and goals ready to discuss and how you are doing against them.

Most employees don’t take this initiative, they wait until their manager follows up on the things you mentioned in your career development session or your quarterly business review.

3. Ask for Feedback

This ties into the tip above, during your 1:1s its important to ask how you are doing against your goals. If you only wait until your career development sessions or your end of year review you might be in for a shock when you hear feedback. It’s hard to ask feedback; the ones that can ask for it are further ahead in their career.

4. Demonstrate your Accomplishments, wins and value you have in the business

Now I recently posted on Instagram that no one is going to announce your wins and hand you a seat at the table.

You need to continue to be your biggest champion. The most important thing that you can do is consistently exceed expectations. It is an accomplishment to do your standard job but it is more of an accomplishment to do your job effectively as well as go above and beyond

5. The Meeting

Set up a specific meeting about 1-3 months prior to when typical pay raises are issued. You want to come prepared and have all your accomplishments noted down for your discussion. Practice!Practice!Practice! I know it sounds silly, but most of the time people are not comfortable having this conversation. The best way to get better is to practice with a friend, spouse, in front of the mirror. Ensure you are confident, you know exactly what you are going to say and prep objections that you may hear from your manager.

After doing the prep work, your conversation with your manager will feel a lot easier!

Good Luck out there! If you don’t succeed, ask for feedback and figure out how to fill the gaps.

-Jess

“How to tell your employer you’re pregnant,” doing some research, I realized this topic is not super popular on the web, unless you go to specific “mommy” websites or pregnancy forums.

Being a woman in technology, I have heard all the phrases from “Better not get pregnant yet” to “when are you starting a family, don’t take too long.” These are all really great opinions but to be honest, these phrases women hear in the workplace are just not needed. It makes it even harder to communicate you are pregnant when so many people have an opinion on when you should have children.

The most alarming statement I have read thus far from Catalyst (article here) and the reason it gives me anxiety is below.

Women aged 25-34 experienced a 48% drop in wages in the first year of having a child in 2016.36

I still haven’t found how to prevent this, but I’m not too fond of 50/50 odds. Now let’s jump into it; if it still makes you uneasy about announcing your pregnancy, here are some steps you can take!

How to tell your Manager you are pregnant?

Now, I wish I had a quick recommendation on the exact words to say to your manager, but I don’t. I know from experience that you can have loads of emotions about when is the right time, overthink how your boss will react, and have the right words. Some people will recommend you to wait until at least 3-4 months, where other people are just too excited to announce the news. By law, when you start your maternity leave in Canada, you need to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. I highly recommend in Canada that you don’t give your employer only two weeks.

Below I have broken it down in four tips on how to tell your employer:

  1. Set aside the time: Don’t tell your boss in a morning scrum session, where they will be caught off guard. Schedule an appointment to meet so there is no additional business talk or distractions. If you are working remotely and the time is not scheduled for this specific topic, it is very easy not to have a moment to talk about this.
  2. Accentuate the positive: If you are super excited about this news, please don’t start with an apology when you tell your boss. For a lot of you, this is the best news in your life, be happy about your pregnancy and confident in your ability to work and raise a family. Everyone is doing it!
  3. Be Flexible: Now, you might already have a plan in your mind, what you want maternity leave to look like, when you come back, etc. Most likely, your manager will be more than happy to brainstorm with you what options are available. There is not much compromise on this topic in Canada, from an employer’s standpoint, as there are laws set in place for parents to utilize. My recommendation would be to communicate as much as possible how you are feeling about when you want to come back to work.
  4. Get it in Writing: Once you have told your manager that you are pregnant, I would highly recommend sending a summary email just as a reminder/time step that this was discussed for your records and theirs. This will prevent any if any future confusion.
Helpful links when living in Canada for Maternity Leave Details:

Canada Maternity and Parental Benefits

Alberta Residents

British Columbia Residents

Manitoba Residents

New Brunswick Residents

Newfoundland and Labrador Residents

Northwest Territories Residents

Nova Scotia Residents

Nunavut Residents

Ontario Residents

Prince Edward Island Residents

Quebec Residents

Saskatchewan Residents

Yukon Residents

I have been working remotely now for over 2.5 years, with one day commuting to the office. I feel like I had a great set up before the pandemic, but I feel like now I have stepped my work from home game up! In a virtual world, these have certainly made my work life a lot better.

Keep in mind I am not sponsored or no company has paid me to recommend these products. Know that I work at Dell Technologies and some of the things I have were purchased directly from the online store.


Standing Desk:

Prior to the pandemic I purchased the Ergotron standing desk which presented a rather nice experience, I absolutely loved the keyboard spot and the quality of the product.

I used this for just over two years and the great thing about it, you can put it on any type of surface. Knowing this you can’t really move it around from the kitchen table or office. Once it’s there, it should only move if you are changing furniture…because it is insanely heavy! Another thing to add is they have significantly dropped in price since I purchased it!

Purchased Here: Ergotron Standing Desk

Now, just in the last two months, I have upgraded my office and now working with a different type of standing desk which, I just purchased the rising legs from Prime Cables Ergo. The great thing about this product is that you can put it on any type of table top. You just need to replace the legs. I absolutely love it. I have set up 3 different settings and the cable management is out of this world!

Purchased Here: Prime Cables Ergo Standing Desk

Speaker Phone:

I absolutely love my Plantronics headset; the sound quality is out of this world. I have used this for ages, and the battery life is incredible, but I don’t know about you. Now that I am taking all my meetings from home, I really love not having to wear my headset for 8 hours a day.

Last Black Friday, I was trying to decide if I would buy the Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone or something else. The deciding factor was that I don’t have a monitor, or I didn’t have a docking station at the time with a type-c port.

I decided on the ANKER Powerconf S3 Bluetooth speaker, and my biggest regret was not purchasing it sooner.

Purchased Here : Anker PowerConf

Laptop Riser:

I am not sure which year or generation I have. When our offices shut down, we were able to take some things from our desk home and I love the ergonomics of this one. It is at the right height. I would most likely take one that you can either rise or adjust but I lucked out and got a really good one for me. Thanks Dell!

Treadmill:

Alright this is not an essential but now that I have it, I feel like it is, if it is within your budget.

I am soooo tired after work and in the winter months, I really don’t feel like being active or going outside when its dark. I purchased this early 2020 to walk and work at the same time! Especially if you are on long conference calls, forecasting or QBRs this is a great way to keep moving well sitting on those long calls. I probably walk about 2 hours a day and sometimes more if I am really feeling energized.

At the end of my workday I feel so productive that I got in my steps and helped all the customers we needed to at the same time! Highly recommend it!

Purchased Here: TR1200-DT3

Wacom Tablet

I purchased this tablet within the first few weeks of the pandemic. I am the person when I visit an office or I do a training, I absolutely love writing on a whiteboard, to get my point across. Especially in IT, customers love when we can draw out their data center and how the software integrates with it.

The awesome thing about this little tablet is the size and how it connects right away to work with zoom. I made a video HERE, to show you how I use it.

Purchased Here: Wacom Intuos USB Bluetooth

External Webcam

I purchased this about two years ago while working from home. I was tired of my customers viewing just the side of my head all the time. Buying an external camera not only helps your viewers see you on the right angle but typically if you have an older laptop or PC , the webcam quality is a lot better.

When it comes to brand there are loads of different webcam providers but hands down I am a massive fan of Logitech. Would actually be a dream to be sponsored by the company! Huge fan of all their products.

Purchased Here: Logitech Pro Webcam

Dell Docking station

Where are my cable management people at? I love a nicely organized desk and the Dell Docking station makes it super easy. I actually attach it to the bottom of my desk but I think it looks really nice sitting on the desk! It has multiple ports that are good for all types of monitors.

I especially love that the new one has a type C port that compliments some audio speakerphones and mobile devices.


Now, this goes for Marketing or Business administration for college as well. It doesn’t matter what type of education level you want to go into; I just wanted to discuss this topic generally if you are in high school or a mature student looking to go back to school, here is my take on what I would do to land a great job in sales.

Choosing a degree for your future is not easy, and sometimes you overthink your choice because it is 3-5 years of your life, and you don’t want to feel like it was wasted years.

When you enroll in any business degree or diploma in Canada, the first 1-2 years will generally be very similar regardless of your major. You will have a mix of marketing, business law, operations, finance, etc. At this point, you can get an idea of what courses you enjoy and decide on what you want to major in.

In my YouTube video, I will discuss the differences from a sales perspective as well as salaries.

Noted in my Video:

Now, let’s discuss income. The average income per year in Canada for a Marketing Role is $49,981 found at www.payscale.com. When I researched the average for a sales executive, it showed $78,000. Of course, you don’t want to decide on a job based solely on income, but it does help!

I have only been working professionally for ten years, so that doesn’t make me an expert on dishing on advice on how to grow your career, but it does make me an expert on what I have been doing with my career in the last 10 years.

I wanted to share with you the top 5 most comfortable things to start doing to enhance your career.

Number 1: Public Speaking

Practice public speaking. Earlier in my career, I remember participating in a sales pitch contest and coming in almost last place. I was shaking and couldn’t look at the audience, just praying that it would be over before it started. What I realized after this is if I wanted a successful career in sales, I would need to know how to speak in front of people confidently.

When I was working for a previous employer, I decided to sign up for Toastmasters. I hated it for about six months because I was a nervous wreck. Once a week, when I knew I had to practice speaking for an hour. What I realized is that we are all people, and I was sitting in a room full of supportive people. It is all about practicing and understanding the feedback to get better.

Now I haven’t been back to toastmasters in awhile, so I practice by making Youtube videos about these topics! Trust me, it’s not easy! If you don’t practice and receive continuous feedback you will never get better.

Number 2: Track your Goals

Use a task manager for your personal development. At the start of a new fiscal year, I create a Trello board of all the things that I would like to work on this year. This way, I can keep tabs on my results and ensure to keep promises to myself. No one in this industry is going to chase you to be accountable. The positive thing about keeping tabs on yourself is that when the time comes for you to ask for a raise from your boss, you will have a full list of your successes over the last year.

Number 3: Audio Books

Subscribe to an Audiobook provider. I can not speak on behalf of other platforms. However, I am an Amazon subscriber; I tend to stick to the same platforms. This subscription is a one-credit once a month, that is good for one audiobook. I tend to pick an audiobook that will cost more than 16 dollars, so I get my money worth. I am not very good at listening to Audiobooks and working at the same time. For constant travellers, this is a great thing to listen to in the car when heading to a customer site or to drive home from work. Due to Covid-19, a lot of us are working from home, in this case, I listen after work.

If you want my list of books, let me know, and I can make another post about it!

Number 4: Be Modest

I remember working with a colleague when I was 23, and he was very good at this job. It seemed almost effortless. He would crush his target quarter after quarter, and the only reason you knew was that the manager would go through the numbers weekly. It was so attractive to look at someone that knew they were only as good as their last deal. Today the people I meet that are the most successful in their careers are because they live with this quote drilled in their brain.

“I am only as good as my last deal, last service, last performance.”

Number 5: Hire a Coach/Therapist

If you are over the age of 50, you most likely are cringing at this comment. When I used to tell people I go to therapy once a week, they thought I was crazy. Well if you have areas in your life that need improving a business coach or therapist could be your answer. I hired one about three years ago and it has completely changed my mental health.

So many of us face different challenges in the workplace; for example, working on projects, having an outside led to an inside relationship in sales or dealing with a difficult manager or a large quota. Most of these difficulties all come down to our emotions. When I talk to my therapist about business challenges, she helps me see it from other perspectives or helps me come up with different solutions.

These are a few things that I started doing for a while now, and I am curious to hear of the things that have helped you grow your career. I wouldn’t suggest starting all these at the same time, try to pick one goal to focus on at a time and master attending or doing the things that can help you get there. Sometimes if you look at the top of the mountain, the first step will look to big. Just take that first step!

– Jessica Pettigrew