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What To Do When You Are More Qualified Than Your Boss

I was recently interviewed by Forbes on what to do when you are more qualified than your boss. It actually happens more than you think. Companies need leaders and leaders grow through diverse experiences. So people are often “dropped” into growth roles to learn and to lead and they end up managing “subject matter experts” who have more knowledge and experience in a particular field.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with you and sometimes it has everything to do with you. More often than not, someone has been noticed by senior management, and they are given the opportunity to learn, grow and manage. But think about it … why weren’t you noticed? Are you not networking enough? Are you working hard and keeping your head too close to the desk, when you should be meeting with others and expanding your network?

What are employees to do if they find themselves in this situation? 1 – Make it a win-win. Help the person succeed and you will be seen as a team player. 2 – Continue to grow yourself by getting a certification, taking a class, or even getting an advanced degree in your field. 3 – Think of a stretch assignment of your own. 4 – Find a mentor and ask for their objective advice.

Things not to do include complaining and or gossiping about your boss. Nothing good results from that! Read more in the Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/28/when-youre-more-qualified-than-the-boss/

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7 Reasons Why All Employees Need To Be ‘Suitcase Entrepreneurs’ – Forbes

This post originally appears in my Work In Progress blog for Forbes.com:

I was excited to read Natalie Sisson’s new Amazon bestseller, The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create freedom in business and adventure in life, which outlines her best strategies, tips and hacks on building a location-independent business. Sisson is a fellow Forbes contributor and writes exhaustively about technology, social media, and systems specific to building a business you can operate virtually. In Sisson’s case, she espouses location-independence because she loves to travel, hence her moniker “suitcase entrepreneur.” But in my work as a career expert whose clients are mainly traditional employees, not entrepreneurs, I was struck by how important and useful this book is for the office-bound professional. Here are 7 reasons why employees should embrace the tips and tools in Sisson’s book, even if you never work offsite:

You embrace the latest technology.
Working flexibly requires that you to have better technology skills than if you just use your desktop. You might not think it’s worth the time and effort to invest if you’re never going to work offsite. But in the process of developing this expertise, you will likely find tools that will help you even at your desktop. At the very least, your newfound tech skills will make you more marketable.

You embrace social media.
Embracing the technology will make you more facile with mobile devices, cloud-based tools and apps, but location independence also requires that you increase your comfort with social media. As a corporate employee, you always want to align your activity with your company’s social media policy, but you want to be active. Social media skills are desirable across a variety of functions, not just marketing.

You consciously develop your value proposition and brand.
You might not be starting a business but you still are serving clients – your company’s clients, your colleagues, your boss and senior management. So when Sisson shares strategies on branding, think about branding for your audience. If you’re aspiring for a promotion or larger role, remember to brand congruent to your goals.

You confirm your critical work responsibilities.
You might not have the same hiring authority as an entrepreneur, but you likely have to pull together teams or enroll people to help you complete your projects. When Sisson shares strategies on thinking through what an entrepreneur can delegate, think about your own management approach and choices. What can you delegate? What should you and only you do?

You confirm your ideal work processes.
As you think about what your ultimate responsibilities are, who your audience is, and what social media and other technology tools you can adopt, it also forces you to think through how you work. If you’ve been in your role for a while you probably have a routine down pat. This makes you efficient but can also make you complacent. If you brainstorm about telecommuting, even if you never do it, it forces you to question how you do everything. There might be activities you can streamline, improve, or drop altogether.

You reflect on your personal and leisure preferences.
The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create freedom in business and adventure in life contains a checklist about your travel preferences. Even though I am not an avid traveler, the checklist is a great prompt about your personal preferences and leisure choices. Many people are overworked and overstressed and don’t give enough time to how they might relax. Use the travel goal checklist to get your inspiration going and give you some structure for getting more out of your vacation time. You may even be inspired to be more proactive about your travel.

You reflect outside your comfort zone.
The focus of this book is absolutely entrepreneurship and specifically travel-loving entrepreneurs (there are many chapters on business-building strategies and travel-related hacks that I don’t cover here). But at the core of this book is the question, “Why not you?” Why don’t you telecommute? Why don’t you leave corporate and be an entrepreneur? Why don’t you design exactly the life you choose, including traveling around the world? Even if you love your work situation and don’t plan to change it, it’s helpful to confirm that by reflecting outside your comfort zone and choosing proactively to be right where you are.

Marissa Mayer’s decision to end telecommuting at Yahoo may be a strike against location independence. However, regardless of how flexible your work environment actually is, preparing yourself and your work processes so you can work out of the office forces you to embrace productive technology, rethink your work goals and processes, and reflect on what you want from work and life. Use Natalie Sisson’s book as a creative way to plan your career, even if you never launch into suitcase entrepreneurship.

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Special Encore Presentation: Astrologer Steven Forrest on Astrology and Authenticity

We are so excited today to be able to talk to well-known astrologer, author and teacher Steven Forrest about how we might use astrology to help us discover, challenge and encourage our own authenticity. Forrest is the author of several astrological bestsellers, including THE INNER SKY, THE CHANGING SKY, THE BOOK OF PLUTO, THE NIGHT SPEAKS, and the astrology classic YESTERDAY’S SKY. His most recent is THE BOOK OF THE MOON. His work has been translated into a dozen languages, and he travels worldwide to speak and teach his brand of choice-centered Evolutionary Astrology, which integrates free will, grounded humanistic psychology and ancient metaphysics. He has won prestigious awards, and the acclaim of people like Sting, Callie Khouri—author of the screenplay for Thelma and Louise and Oprah Magazine. Along with his busy private practice, he maintains active astrological apprenticeship programs. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear one of the world’s most acclaimed astrologers.

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No Brand Names on Your Resume? Establish Credibility 3 Ways – Work Reimagined

In my job search advice piece for Life Reimagined for Work, I share strategies for job seekers who don’t have a Fortune 500 employer or Ivy League degree on their resume. You can still establish instant credibility for readers who skim your resume with these 3 techniques:

Fortune 500 companies, top-tier universities and other household names are instant credibility boosters on your resume — such places are presumably selective, brand names are often associated with great developmental opportunity, they’re instantly recognizable so your resume will seem familiar and easier to understand quickly – a crucial advantage when employers spend just seconds on each one. So what can you do if you didn’t graduate from an Ivy League school or work at a Fortune 500?

Burnish the names you do have. One of my international clients who relocated to the U.S. hailed from a small country unlikely to host any Global 500 companies. But she held a senior role at the largest company in its industry, a subsidiary of a well-known global holding company. Adding that brief description after the company name (i.e., Largest INDUSTRY company in COUNTRY and subsidiary of CORPORATION) enables the resume reader to quickly understand the scope and scale of your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Read more tips in Life Reimagined for Work: No Brand Names on Your Resume? Establish Credibility 3 Ways.

 

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Dreaming of a Dream Job – Purple Clover

In my job search advice post for Purple Clover, I share strategies for assessing how long to hold out for your dream job:

One of my clients was in a miserable work environment. Company culture was more competitive than collaborative. Senior management was a revolving door, and initiatives would change with each management shift. But my client was the main breadwinner in her family of four so while she dreamed of something better, she knew that she couldn’t leave unless she could match her salary and her security (she was in a top role in her department). At the same time, she felt she couldn’t hold on that much longer in her environment. If you’re faced with the tradeoff between holding out for a dream job or taking what comes, here are three considerations:

Run the numbers

How much cash do you have to cover you day-to-day needs? Sometimes you can’t hold out, and that’s okay. Take an interim job, ideally a temp or project job so it’s interim for both parties. Even if you take a less-than-ideal permanent job, don’t think of it as settling for less. You are making the best decision in your current circumstances. Focus on doing a great job, thereby expanding your network and collecting great references, and improve the job by growing your responsibilities to match more of what you want, or if that’s not possible, keep looking for that dream job. In the meantime, you’ve shored up your cash position, given yourself some structure in your work day and created some momentum for your career from hereon.

Read more tips at Purple Clover: Dreaming of a Dream Job.

 

 

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A Question of Balance – Purple Clover

In my latest career coaching post for Purple Clover, I share strategies on how to ask about work/life balance when you’re vetting a prospective employer. (In a nutshell, don’t ask!).

I’m a former recruiter that has hired for entry-level through executive positions across many different industries including non-profit and private sector. I also juggle full-time work with a working spouse and children. I fully embrace that a job seeker that wants a specific work/life balance MUST confirm the culture, expectations, and typical lifestyle of prospective employers BEFORE you accept a job. But as a recruiter who has hired on behalf of companies and for my own teams, I also know that asking about work/life balance outright is a big mistake. There is no way to phrase your questions, time your inquiry, or otherwise position the discussion so that you don’t come across as caring more about your life than your work.

Asking about work/life balance waves a neon sign that you care more about your own interests than the company’s. You risk sounding less committed, even lazy. In a tight job market, you don’t want any negative neon signs. Yet, you need this information. Whatever you do, don’t ask. Just get what you need in other ways:

Ask about other things that let you infer work/life balance

· Don’t ask about travel – ask about existing and upcoming projects. Then verify how teams are put together and how clients are served, and you will know whether this means 20%, 40% or 100% travel, much more specifically than if you ask.

· Don’t ask about hours – ask everyone you meet, especially your peers, about their typical schedule. Tell them to go hour-by-hour for a representative day. Ask about when meetings are typically scheduled. Ask about how emergencies, tight deadlines or other curveballs are handled. Ask about how time off is covered by others. If your prospective peer is surprised at the notion of even taking time off, then you know you’re dealing with a hard-driving culture

· Don’t ask about general expectations – ask specifically what needs to get done in the first week, month, quarter and year. Verify what resources will be available to you (budget, team, decision authority, autonomy). Based on what you know you can do, what support the company is offering, and what the actual goals are, you will have a much clearer picture of how reasonable the expectations are.

Read more at Purple Clover: A Question of Balance.

 

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Who would you be without your morals?

Most people would answer that they would be set free then to do all the monstrous things from which they currently hold themselves back in the name of civilized and moral behavior. We could do whatever we want, and what we want is definitely something that would otherwise get us in trouble. Right? But what if under all of our codes and constraints there is a person who knows peace, who understands life at its core level and wants only more peace and to give from the fullness of its essence? What if the morals we hold so sacred actually interfere with our becoming that person? This week we are going to talk about that person and bring her/him forth from the cavernous regions of a darkened psyche to launch a new awareness. Don’t miss this. It could change your life.

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Tips For Negotiating A Raise – SixFigureStart Cited in Money Magazine

I’m excited to be quoted in the August issue of Money Magazine as part of a special report on How To Reach $1 Million. In the section on boosting your cash inflows, I share negotiation tips:

Price yourself right. A business knows how to price what it sells competitively. In your household, your salary is the equivalent of “your price” and nabbing a higher one is a sure path to greater profitability.

Developing a rep as a top performer is critical: Raises for high achievers are averaging 4.6% this year, vs. 2.6% for a typical employee, says Mercer. Make a strong case for yourself in your annual review by quantifying what you’ve done to boost revenue or cut costs, such as bringing in new clients or switching to lower-cost suppliers.

“Adding more value is about bottom-line impact,” says New York City career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine.

Coming to your boss with a counteroffer from a competitor can also lead to a bump in pay, but it’s risky. A less threatening route, says Ceniza-Levine, is to reach out to recruiters to see what salary you could command. Then you can say to your boss, “Recruiters are coming to me with offers that are 20% above where I am, but I like it here. Is there anything we can do?” Framing the situation as a shared problem reinforces that you’re still loyal.

Read more tips at CNNMoney.com: How To Reach $1 Million.

 

 

 

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SixFigureStart in Money Magazine – Tips For Negotiating A Raise

I’m excited to be quoted in the August issue of Money Magazine as part of a special report on How To Reach $1 Million. In the section on boosting your cash inflows, I share negotiation tips:

Price yourself right. A business knows how to price what it sells competitively. In your household, your salary is the equivalent of “your price” and nabbing a higher one is a sure path to greater profitability.

Developing a rep as a top performer is critical: Raises for high achievers are averaging 4.6% this year, vs. 2.6% for a typical employee, says Mercer. Make a strong case for yourself in your annual review by quantifying what you’ve done to boost revenue or cut costs, such as bringing in new clients or switching to lower-cost suppliers.

“Adding more value is about bottom-line impact,” says New York City career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine.

Coming to your boss with a counteroffer from a competitor can also lead to a bump in pay, but it’s risky. A less threatening route, says Ceniza-Levine, is to reach out to recruiters to see what salary you could command. Then you can say to your boss, “Recruiters are coming to me with offers that are 20% above where I am, but I like it here. Is there anything we can do?” Framing the situation as a shared problem reinforces that you’re still loyal.

Read more tips at CNNMoney.com: How To Reach $1 Million.

 

 

 

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Facing a Non-Compete? How To Stay in the Game – Work Reimagined

In my latest career advice blog for Life Reimagined for Work, I look at the impact of a non-compete clause on a career. What can you do if you can’t work in your field for one year or more?

As an experienced professional, you may face a non-compete that prevents you from taking a similar role with a competitor if you leave your job. You are probably at a level where you directly affect your employer’s competitiveness and profitability. This was the case for a biotech executive I recently met: she left her management post abroad to return to the U.S. and cannot work in the same industry in a similar role for a year. She wants to work or at least stay competitive until the restriction expires. Here are three ways to do just that.

Keep Current You don’t need a job to maintain your expertise, develop your hands-on skills and cultivate a relevant network. Get active in a professional association in your industry. Read the insiders’ blogs. Stay in contact with your industry connections on a personal level. Support a local academic institution that does research in your area. The challenge during your time away isn’t a lack of opportunity; it’s motivating yourself to maintain high standards for your knowledge and skills. This requires planning from the day you leave your job, so you’ll have time to earn credibility in groups you join, as well as adherence to a schedule.

Explore other industries Even if you intend to return to your field, there is value in looking into other options during your non-compete. You demonstrate versatility and flexibility. You hone your functional and management skills in a different context. You meet new people and gain a different perspective, which might give you breakthrough insights into your previous industry. If you’re facing a one-year restriction, there may not be time to launch a thorough job search and get traction in a new job, so aim to consult, rather than land a full-time role. This mitigates some of the risk for the company hiring you, and may allow you to sample more than one project or industry.

Read more at Life Reimagined for Work: Facing a Non-Compete? How To Stay in the Game.