Friday, November 21, 2008

Sing Your Own Praises

I was settling down to work after the morning household rush, and got a call from one of the kid's carpool drivers. My first instinct was to think, "Oh no, what happened?"

I quickly called the dad, a neighborhood big wig who knows all the right people, is president of all the local boards, a lawyer, and the host of great music for the upcoming turkey trot. I of course did not want to look bad in front of such a powerful person. I went on the defensive, "So, what terrible thing did he do today?" The dad laughed and said he was calling to say how nice it is to have my son part of the carpool.

What? Someone calling to say positive things? Unheard of. And it made me think. In the work world, you are rarely told about your accomplishments. And when you are accomplishing things, don't you want people to find out about them?

I'm prepping right now for a talk at Women for Winesense. The roundtable discussion I am presenting at is about salaries. I was going over the topic with the host, and asking about the audience. Women for Winesense is an industry group that meets regularly at various wineries and discusses different topics. My presentation will be for several women winemakers. Topics that I'll be bringing up include salary surveys, salary negotiation, performance reviews, promotions and severence packages. One reason the roundtable was proposed was because several of the women wanted advice on negotiating their salaies and to make sure they were being paid what their male counterparts are.

This was an important piece of information for me in preparing my topic. I deal with salaries all day, every day--and have always been up for negotiating my own salary. But many women aren't comfortable addressing the issue, and many times leave money on the table.

What does this have to do with my carpool call this morning? It reminded me that unless you sing your own praises, most of the time no one else will. Women generally are great communicators, but not braggards. It is not ladylike. Going into salary negotiations or performance reviews women need to be ready to talk highly of themselves. When you are preparing yourself, write down your accomplishments, and be ready to speak to them. Although you may think everyone knows it was your actions that caused a great outcome, make sure you mention it. Having these items in your mind, you should feel more confident, and realize you are a major contributor to the organization. No manager wants to have you leave, or not take the job. They will want to compensate you fairly, so that you are happy and want to stay with the organization. And most likely compensate you better.

Thanks for the call Peter!

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