Do you know how to ask for a raise? If you’re like most people, you probably think that we’re asking a rhetorical question. If you think it’s as easy as simply walking up to your boss, asking for more money, and leaving, you probably haven’t ever asked for a raise before. Behind every pay raise request is a clammy-handed employee, hoping that they’ve done well enough to justify that salary bump. Maybe you’re nervous to talk to your boss, maybe you feel unprepared, or maybe you just find it hard to talk about money.

On today’s show, Kassandra Dasent, program manager and wealth advocate, touches on how every employee can prepare to get the raise they deserve. Despite what most people think, you should NOT prepare for your salary review days before it happens. Kassandra has a simple timeline that allows employees to maximize their raise potential throughout the year. So, when it finally comes time to talk numbers, most of the discussion is already done.

This type of strategy has not only helped Kassandra but numerous listeners of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. But, what if you can’t get a raise? What if your boss says no? What if there’s no budget left for you at the end of the day? Don’t fret, Kassandra lays out the exit strategies you should plan for when career hiccups happen (which they inevitably will).

Mindy:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast, show number 287.

Kassandra:
You need to actually create a relationship with your boss, a professional relationship with your boss that is positive, and that is open for dialogue. This is what I’m saying. This is a project to people. Asking for a raise is a project. It’s a step-by-step process.

Mindy:
Hello, hello, hello. My name is Mindy Jensen and joining me today is Kassandra Dasent, a world-class connector with the voice of an angel. On top of that, she is a gem of a person and absolutely a joy to be around. Today, we’re going to talk about how to really quantify one’s value in the workplace setting.
I am here to make financial independence less scary but just for somebody else, to introduce you to every money story because I truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone no matter when or where you’re starting. Whether you want to retire early and travel the world, going to make big-time investments in assets like real estate, or start your own business, I’ll help you reach your financial goals and get money out of the way so you can launch yourself towards your dream.
We have a lot to unpack in today’s episode because Kassandra has an enormous amount of information to share with you today. Here’s thanks to the sponsors of today’s show. Kassandra, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today.

Kassandra:
Thanks so much for having me. I’m legitimately excited to talk about you, talk with you, I should say, and about this topic.

Mindy:
I reached out to Kassandra after she posted on Facebook that she is a connector and sharer of information. She offered to share on a variety of topics. The one that really, really hit home to me was how to advocate for one’s self in the workplace with regards to negotiating salary and bonuses. I think that this is something that people know they should do and also really gives people the heebie-jeebies because they don’t want to do it. It really makes us uncomfortable to advocate for ourselves and push, push, push, but if you don’t push, your boss isn’t going to give you a raise, right? So let’s jump right into this. Why do you feel that it’s so uncomfortable for people to really ask for a raise and really ask for a lot of money as a raise?

Kassandra:
I think one of the reasons… Actually, I don’t think I know. It’s from an emotional perspective. A lot of us are dealing with the fact that it’s almost like survivor’s guilt in the workplace especially if it’s during recessions, if it’s during major consolidation of companies, mergers, things of that nature. So if you’re experiencing that or you’ve had that experience, you tend to feel the thought of, “I should be grateful for what I have. I should be thankful for what I have because so many people are not in the situation that I have that I have a job.” So you get the guilt conscious on you that you should be just thankful and just leave it alone and just take what you get. So that’s definitely one.
For women in particular, I think we’re still working through a lot of constraints in the workplace in terms of whether some of us females are few and far between in our profession, especially in domains such as engineering, science, mathematics, even in the education system, how many are tenured versus not. So already if you feel like you are in the minority, whether it is a visible minority or whatever minority you represent, you feel that, again, “Okay, well, if I have a position, if I feel like, ‘Okay, I have a good salary. I shouldn’t push this any further.’” So I think definitely it’s a collection of emotions, guilt, and also you don’t know how to do it. Very few people talk about what the roadmap or what’s the process to actually setting yourself up for potentially getting that raise or that transfer or that bonus. So a lot of people don’t really discuss… Still many of us don’t talk about our salaries, so what makes you think that people are going to talk about the process of how to get a raise?

Mindy:
That’s so true. It’s not like there’s really this, like you said, roadmap to… right after your review do this, and three months later do this, and six months later do this. It does have to be this conscious, all the time but not really all the time but all the time process that you’re thinking about. Because how many people have been sitting there, “Oh, my review’s next week. What’d I do? What’d I do since my last review?” That is, to me, I sit here and talk about money all the time, and that is me. I’m not looking for advancement in my company. I don’t want to manage anybody. I don’t want to grow my career. I’m at the end of my career. I’m right where I want to be. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want more money. Who doesn’t want more money?
So sitting here, I’m like, “Ooh, I know I’m supposed to do my review every January. I’ll remember. I don’t remember. I don’t remember at all.” We talked to Erin Lowry on Episode 169. This is Episode 287, so it’s been a minute. She talked about keeping a success folder in your inbox, on your desktop. Any time anybody gives you praise, like through email, put it in your inbox. If somebody shares with you successful thank you accolades, anything, you put it in your desktop folder so you can remember what it was. You don’t have to rack your brain. You just go into your folder, “Oh, that’s right. There’s 27 emails from people who loved me,” or, “Here’s 57 things I did right at the company.”
Episode 169 released a really long time ago. Guess who hasn’t started her success folder in her inbox yet or on her desktop? That would be me. So this year is different. 2022 is the year of Mindy, and I have now a success folder. Every time somebody sends me something, “Mindy, I’m so thankful for your podcast,” I get a lot of emails like that, it goes in my inbox or my success folder inbox and it goes in… I’ve got work things. People send me DMs on Facebook. If you want to do that, it’s [email protected] on Facebook, [email protected] on Twitter, [email protected] if you want to send me a letter so I can put it in my success folder, or you can send one to [email protected] But not everybody has a boss who hosts a podcast with them. So let’s talk about some of these things. Erin’s success folder is a really great idea. How frequently should I be looking into that?

Kassandra:
I definitely second what Erin said. It’s so important to have a log of your accomplishments or successes, comments, feedback. You need that. Before we even talk about the money part, it validates your work. It lets you know that you are doing good work and that you’re impacting somebody positively. You’re doing good work. So first and foremost, give yourself the kudos to say, “I am getting an acknowledgement.” You know that you’re doing good work, but when you get that affirmed back to you, that confirmation, that knows that you’re on the right track. You’re doing something right. That’s first and foremost.
The other part of that equation is it’s not only important to have that log. Here’s where the money part comes in, and here’s where you start setting yourself up for that conversation is that you need to actually link it back. Whatever accomplishments or whatever feedback you’re getting, you need to link it back to any department goals, any major organization objective, essentially. So you need to know, is this falling in line with what the company wants to do? Is this falling in line with what our department is looking to achieve on a monthly or a yearly basis? So it all has to roll back, roll up, I should say, to the upper levels of your company, your division, or whatever that may be. Because if you cannot quantify your results to management, they’re really not going to give you anything.
That’s the truth. Because as much as you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, which you are, we’re not saying you’re not, you are, but for money purposes, you need to come with metrics. You need to demonstrate the fact that you were able to resolve X problem has saved the company money or has saved the company from going into a dire situation on a project, whatever that consequence could have been, and you need to map it out. As a program manager, my job is to plan. It’s to expect unforeseen circumstances and be able to address them with potential solutions. From the gate, I need to look forward. I need to be future looking. You know what I mean? You need to do that as well with your career.

Mindy:
Oh, that’s really great advice. I love that: be future planning. Yeah, you need to pull it back to the business objective. Oh, the business wants to do this. Here’s how I contributed to that big goal, here’s how I contributed to these little goals, and this is why I have earned this raise. That’s another thing that Erin said in her episode was it wasn’t just, “I want a raise.” Well, nice for you. I want a new car. You don’t just get things because you want them. You earn them. You don’t even deserve them. You earn them.

Kassandra:
Exactly.

Mindy:
Here’s what I have done, and here’s why I am so valuable to this company.

Kassandra:
I think and also just to… It’s not only the company objectives. Also, typically in a corporate setting or in a company environment, every year, once you do that, we have a common review process, so there’s the department objectives, but then you, yourself, are supposed to come up with personal objectives to show the company that you are looking to grow, that you are planning to grow your career or grow within your position. So whatever you’ve accomplished, you need to find ways to tie it into both: the company objectives and the personal objectives that you identify, that you said were promising to the company that you are going to fulfill, two-pronged.

Mindy:
Let’s see. I want to make sure that I’m on the right track. It’s been a year since I had my last review. I’m doing great. I know I’m doing great. I want to make sure that my boss thinks I’m going great, too. How can someone check in and use their boss to their advantage to make sure that not only does their boss know that they’re doing well, their boss knows that they are expressing interest in growing, but their boss can help correct anything that they’re seeing? Because just because you think you’re doing great doesn’t mean that your boss thinks you’re doing great.

Kassandra:
Absolutely. I think what you said is key. You have to take the initiative. You cannot allow your career to be determined by your boss because your boss probably has more than one employee. You may not be the only person in their sphere, so you cannot count on them to manage your career. It is your career. It’s your responsibility. If you have a great boss who is… she’s very forward in the sense that she or he takes the initiative to set up quarterly meetings or monthly meetings, that’s great. But you need to think like the boss because at the end of the day you have to put yourself in their position to say, “Okay, well, how much of the full purse of money am I going to allocate to each employee? Why is [inaudible 00:12:44] deserving 6% raise while Emily’s only getting 3%?”
What I would suggest, first and foremost, is that you approach your boss and say, “Hey, I would love to have check-in meetings with you. I know your schedule is busy. I think it’s important for me to be able to tell you what’s going on within the workplace, within my environment, within the team because I know that you’re not really hands-on because you trust us as employees to get the job done, but I know that you’d like a summary.” So whether it’d be a monthly or quarterly call, whether it’d be an email every couple weeks, however that person likes to receive information is how you’re going… You need to cater to them. That’s the first thing is that you need to take control and cater to them how they like to receive information.
Secondly, you need to be delivering that information. You need to be consistent with how you communicate your results or communicate what’s going on or communicate even obstacles or even situations that are not going well within a project or within, let’s say, customer service. The metrics are off. You need to be able to clearly and succinctly explain the problem, explain what you’re doing to resolve the problem, and communicate with them that the problem is resolved, because that’s what you’re guaranteeing them to do is you are here to resolve problems. That’s what we get paid to do. We create, we innovate, and we resolve problems. That’s what we do as people. So that’s the first and foremost thing is you need to take control. If you want a one-liner, you need to take control of the process, and you need to set and establish consistent reporting to them.

Mindy:
How much time do you think it would take to set this up? How much time should be spending on checking in with your bosses? Is this a five-minute process? Is this a 30-minute process? Is this per week, per month, per quarter?

Kassandra:
I think it really depends on the nature of your job. Let’s say, for example, you’re working in a call center, you typically have more touchpoints than, let’s say, someone who’s a program manager or who’s in engineering. You may have it just monthly. You may have it biweekly. Again, that’s why it’s important to have that first conversation with your supervisor and say, “Hey, based on your current workload, based on your schedule, what works best for you?” You don’t want to be domineering and say, “Okay, I’m just going to send them emails.” You don’t know if they’ve got a thousand unread emails. You don’t. I know I had a boss who had. In reality, that’s it.
So it could vary. It could be weekly. But typically from my experience it’s been biweekly to monthly. Quarterly is a stretch. I think quarterly is a little long. I think you should at least touch base monthly, let’s call it average, at least monthly for at least 15 to 30 minutes every month if you’re doing a con call. If you’re doing email, I would say every two weeks, very short, concise emails, bullet points. They don’t have time to read. Put yourself in the position of your boss always.

Mindy:
That’s very interesting. You said quarterly is a little long. If you’re listening to this and you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh, yeah, I get together with them once a year,” I’m thinking-

Kassandra:
Oh, gosh.

Mindy:
… we do quarterly at BiggerPockets, but I also don’t do a [crosstalk 00:16:23].

Kassandra:
Do you remember? My question is, from each quarter, do remember those conversations?

Mindy:
I don’t remember what I did last week. I have a terrible memory.

Kassandra:
This is why I’m saying it’s important to stay in the front of their thought. Because if you’re not present in their thought. If they don’t think about you at least once every couple weeks, either they’ve got too much on their plate or you have not put yourself in the sphere of consciousness, and that’s really, really important even if it’s for five minutes, even if it’s just for… My manager and I, we talk about our dogs. It doesn’t always have to be about work, but it’s building that connection and that rapport that you need to establish first before demanding money because that’s very off-putting. You need to actually create a relationship with your boss, a professional relationship with your boss that is positive, and that is open for dialogue. This is what I’m saying. This is a project to people. Asking for a raise is a project. It’s a step-by-step process.

Mindy:
Let’s talk to our introverted friends. It seems confrontational. I’m not an introvert, and it seems almost confrontational to say, “I want a raise,” because I would love if my boss just recognized it and gave me a big pile of money. But I also don’t like to pay more than I have to for anything, so I can understand why my boss wouldn’t want to pay more than they have to. If I’m not out there advocating for myself, who else is advocating for me? But it seems really confrontational at the same time. So how can our introverted friends make the most of this plan?

Kassandra:
I am an ambivert, if you will, so I can related to many people. I can be social when I need to be, but I’m good at home with my cup of tea and with my dog and I’m fine. Life could stay like that, I’m happy. So I can understand the anxiety that people may experience or just the plain, “I just don’t want to do this.” So I think you have some questions that you need to answer for yourself. How important is getting a raise to you? If you decide on a scale of one to five, let’s say, that one is not important and five is, “Okay, I need this raise because I want this new car or I want to pay debt off,” or whatever that X is, the closer you get to five, then you need to realize that, “Okay, what needs to give in me, what am I willing to give up in terms of discomfort in order to gain?” Because this is an exchange of energy at the end of the day.
If you decide that, “Okay, I’m a four and a five. I want this money. I deserve this money,” so here’s where, again, you say… If you’re an introvert, typically it’s easier to do this by email. You’re not visually in front of somebody. You’re not having to just read someone’s reactions visually. That’s very tough for introverts. So if your boss knows you as a person… Again, I come back to building that relationship of understanding so they know you as an employee so they respect your boundaries as well. They understand that, “You know what? He or she is a great worker. They just don’t do well with face-to-face constantly all the time.” So you have to explain to them who you are as a person. Otherwise they’re going to do things to you that you don’t like. They’re going to make you do things that you don’t enjoy. It’s true.
In my career, I have managed to mold my boss to react to me in a way that makes me feel comfortable. Really, that’s it. It sounds psychologically challenging, but it’s not. I really want to encourage everybody that talking to your boss is not the end of the world. You’re going to have to do it. If you really want the raise, you need to educate them on how you best like to communicate. It takes time. For some it might be easier than others.
If you’re in the situation where a boss is not necessarily respectful of your introvertedness, what I would suggest you can do is perhaps… It depends if you’re on a bigger team or not, but you could potentially ask a colleague to not intervene for you… I don’t know how I can put this. They can advocate for you in very subtle ways. What I mean by that is, let’s say there’s a con call and everybody needs to be on video. By the way, I don’t go on video typically for my company con calls. I’m very like, “No, you don’t need to see my face,” because I built over time a level of self-confidence and self-awareness that I’m not afraid that I’m going to be fired if I advocate for myself.
That’s the muscle that I’m encouraging you to build is learn how to advocate for yourself even if you’re introverted. There are ways to do this. I’m not an expert in it by any means. It’s also a process over time where you’re just like, “You know what? The worst that can happen is I lose this job. I know I’m skilled enough to find another one.” That’s where I am at this point in my career that I’m very confident in my skills and my ability and my value. I know my worth. I know my worth. Now it’s just finding your way of communicating your worth and your belief in your ability to do your job so that your boss really doesn’t pressure you into doing or communicating in ways that you don’t want to communicate.

Mindy:
Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about setbacks because it is really nice to think that your employment is always going to be unicorns and rainbows, but there are problems that sometimes come up. You make a mistake, a project doesn’t get out on time. Sometimes the project doesn’t get out on time due to no fault of your own, but it’s still your project so it doesn’t go according to plan. How do we get back on track after a setback?

Kassandra:
The first thing that is crucial, you need to accept responsibility for it. You need to demonstrate that the blame game doesn’t work here. So if you are responsible for an outcome, you need to take responsibility for that said outcome. You cannot hide behind other people. You cannot throw people under the bus. That’s not going to lengthen your career. It really will shorten it, in fact. So first and foremost, you just need to be honest. Explain why it went wrong, explain the factors that caused it to go wrong, and really come up with some solutions, plan A, B, and C, not just one option. You have potential options how to be able to rectify or at least limit the damage or the consequences of what happened because sometimes we can’t fix it to fruition. Some projects just… You know what I mean? It doesn’t end well.
In those cases, you really just have to say, “Okay, well, I identified why and how and when it went off the rails, so for future, I am logging it so that I recognize that if we are even close to being in that position in a future effort, I know how to roll it back. I know how to divert, and I know how to deal with it.” So there’s lessons learned, we call them in our world. That’s really it is you’ve got to acknowledge it. You have to state the reasons why. Then you’ve got to be able to present solutions or how would you do it differently in a future project.

Mindy:
What do we do if you state your case, “I have earned this raise because of XYZ. Here’s all of my proof. Here’s all of these things that we’ve done right,” and your boss says, “No, we can’t give you a raise at this time. The company doesn’t have any money. I don’t agree with your assessment”? Whatever the reason is when your boss says no to your raise request, what do you do?

Kassandra:
Before you go into the raise, you have to understand that there are two outcomes potentially. There is the, “Yes, okay. Yeah, we agree with you.” There are actually three outcomes. There is the, “Yes but we don’t have as much money so here’s what I’m going to offer.” There’s the worst-case scenario that you outlined that says, “You know what? No.” But before you go into that meeting, you need to be prepared to essentially say, “Am I willing to walk away from this job if I don’t get this raise?” Before you even open that door, what’s the worst-case scenario? Are you willing to accept it that you would be willing over this issue even if your job is amazing, you love your colleagues, you love the work that you do, all the good stuff? But if that money request is denied, are you willing to give that up?
Then secondly, depending on the type of boss that you have, they may be thinking, “Well, they’re a potential flight risk because they’re asking for money, and if they’re told no, well, then they’re going to quit.” You have to also understand it’s how you communicate that request with money. That will determine how they will view you even if you’re told no. So you can still be told no and both parties leave with the same respect that you guys entered into the conversation with. So it’s really important how you approach that conversation. Like I said before, are you willing to stay with the current terms if you love your job or if you appreciate your job, or b) is the issue of money so important…? Like, you’re seriously underpaid, and they’re not willing to budge, are you prepared to look for something better that will pay you your worth? That I cannot answer. Only you can determine that answer for yourself, but you have to understand that that is a conclusion.

Mindy:
Let’s talk about that for a minute. I want to go in and ask for a raise and my boss is going to say no. How can I ask so that I am preserving my relationship with the company? Honestly, I’ve got to take care of my own self first, and if I need income, I don’t want them to think that I’m a flight risk until I have found something else. How can I ask for a raise in a way that says both, “I’m really serious, I want this, but I’m not going to leave if you don’t give it to me”?

Kassandra:
I think actually you start with that: You are not interested in leaving the company. You’re really, really happy with the work that you’re doing. You feel that it’s fulfilling to you. You feel that you’re a valuable contributor to this organization. That’s the bridge is that you’re a valuable contributor to this organization, and here is metrically why my value. I’m actually now demonstrating my value from a dollar/cent goals, objectives, perspective. But you always lead off the conversation is that you are genuinely happy with working at XYZ, working for you. Also, highlight the boss’s qualities as well, that, “You’re a manager that really helps my career to grow. You help me with opportunities.” Make them part of your success. You’ve got to get their buy-in. That’s what this is. This conversation is a buy-in. They need to buy in to you as a person.
So that’s my suggestion is how you would lead that conversation off is that you’re happy. You’re genuinely happy with your job. You’re happy with them as a manager. Also, I would suggest, ask them of their opinion of you. I know it’s scary. I know it’s scary, but feedback is really important. We’re not perfect. No one is perfect. We can all improve, and show them that you want to improve in the process. So with all these things, I think if you really position yourself as pro-them, not anti-them… But at the end of the day, you have the right to ask for more money. They know this. They know this. This is why they have HR. They know that employees are going to do this every year. It’s not surprising to them. I want you to become comfortable with the idea that you going into ask this, they’re expecting it.

Mindy:
Ooh, I like that. It isn’t surprising. Rates go up. We’re in inflationary periods right now. There’s a cost of living increase. There’s a cost of goods and services are going up. Girl Scout cookies went up this year.

Kassandra:
Hello? Yes.

Mindy:
Everything is going up this year.

Kassandra:
[crosstalk 00:30:05]. Actually, I want to add… Let’s say, an example, they love the work that you’re doing. They acknowledge that you’re contributing. They acknowledge the results because many acknowledge. They see for a fact that you are producing. But for whatever reason, they say that, “No, unfortunately we don’t have the purse strings for that,” you can negotiate in other ways. Well, can you get an extra week vacation? Can your bonus be increased? Because they tend to give more money on bonuses because it’s not guaranteed every year.
But still, if you were to say, “Okay, I’m typically allowed up to a 15% a year bonus,” would they be willing to give you extra on that? Because it’s still money for you. Technically, this year you got, let’s say, $3,000 more than you would have because they put it on the bonus side or you got an extra week of vacation. Do people understand a week of vacation, what that calculation is? That’s a nice piece of change, and that’s rest for you. Or, for example, can they, kick in more money to…? Let’s say, if you’re a smaller company, potentially they can kick in more money to a HSA or a 401(k). There’s a lot of ways around this, so don’t think that the door is shut to straight cash. So you also have to think about how else would you potentially be willing to be remunerated.

Mindy:
Ooh, that’s a really good point. I would love more vacation time, hey, Scott. We actually just went this year… I’m super excited. We went to unlimited vacation so as long as you’re getting your work done. Maybe I’ll just be unlimited vacationing to Fiji when it’s freezing cold outside. That’s great. More vacation, more bonus, more 401(k), more HSA.
Let’s say that there’s none of that available. When is it a reasonable amount of time to check back in with your boss? Let’s say that you love your job. I think that there’s a lot to be said for finding a company that you like to work at. I’ve worked for Satan himself, and it’s no fun. You get up in the morning, and you’re like, “Ugh, I have to go to work.” You drag your feet. You don’t want to get out of bed. It is just soul-sucking. Then I’ve worked for companies where, my husband is a stay-at-home dad now, I’m walking out the door, the girls are fighting, and I feel guilty because I’m going off to work and I’m going to have a good time.
So the difference is night and day, and it’s this huge weight that’s lifted off my shoulders. If I was working at this, and I am working at this job that I love so much, if they said, “No, we don’t have money to give you for a raise,” I wouldn’t automatically think, “Well, I’m leaving,” because in my decades of working I know that there’s a lot of value in working for a company that you love. When is a good time to check back in? Should you ask your boss about this, or should you just throw it at them, “Hey, okay, we don’t have any money now. I’m going to check back in six months or three months or tomorrow? Is there a rule of thumb to checking back in for more money?

Kassandra:
Yeah, there typically is a process. That’s usually agreed upon during that initial discussion, that initial ask, so you can ask, “Well, what would be a good time to check in back?” if they even mention, “We’d love to do this for you, but now’s not the best time. Our company’s just going through some difficult times,” or whatever that case may be. You could suggest whether it’s six or eight months, but give enough time a) let’s say if it’s a real deal where it’s a cash crunch, to allow them to work through that, and b) you collect more proof. You collect more ammunition. This works for you in a couple of ways.
Typically six months, eight months is a good period to check back in. Also, for bigger companies, they typically have a schedule, so you need to learn what their review schedule is and their calendar is because they literally have cut-off dates that decisions are made because it goes to committees to approve budgets. So you need to learn what that schedule is for your company. So you’re actually asking for that review in the cycle so that you can actually collect on it so you don’t miss the window. You need to know what that window is. So whatever that window is for your company, play within the window.

Mindy:
I like that a lot. I’m trying to think, as you’re talking, “Oh, yeah. That’s August.” And it’s known, so ask your business, ask your HR department. Now let’s go to the nuclear option. Despite all of your best efforts, there is no money available, that maybe the company’s not doing well, maybe other things are happening. Are there any warning signs that you need to leave no matter how great the company is?

Kassandra:
Well, if they’re a public company and they’re traded, you should be watching their stocks to be honest. So that’s kind of left field. Most people are like, [crosstalk 00:35:31].

Mindy:
That’s a great tip.

Kassandra:
So you should be watching their stock. You should be following the company’s results. Every company that’s traded on the stock exchange has quarterly earnings, and that basically tells the state of the company’s finances. They are published. They are public information. You can find it either within the company or outside, but either way you should be seeing if you are working for what other people, investors and shareholders, view as a healthy company. When you start to see that the company’s lagging, their earnings are off, they’re missing their earnings completely, like zoom, it just went south, you know what I mean, that’s an huge indication actually that you may need to look for another option. So that’s my first tip and biggest tip I would say.
The other thing is, how many people are quitting? How many people are being hired versus leaving? So see how your department or how your core team is shifting. Are people leaving? Where are they leaving to, if they’re talking about it? If people are leaving but they’re not hiring to fill that role anymore, they’re starting to share the responsibilities across people, these are signs. These are warning signs that you need to pick up on.

Mindy:
That’s really powerful. Don’t get caught being the last employee there to close up the company and then get your $1.50 severance.

Kassandra:
Literally. I got you another tip I thought of because I lived it. I’ve never really been fired from big girl jobs. I have lived through two corporate downsizings, and they’re traumatic. The typical rule of thumb is the longer you are there in terms of years worked, the higher chance you have to be let go. If you know that you’ve been at a company for, say, 10, 15 years and they’re looking to do massive cutbacks, you need to be very careful. So you need to start considering, should I negotiate for severance? Should I potentially take the money if you can find another job within your field? There’s a lot of things that wrap into this, but I want people to think that that is a potential possibility that you might be on the chopping block faster than someone who got hired only six months ago or two years ago because they cost less. You cost more typically.

Mindy:
That is a really good point because when they do a buy-out, it’s usually based on how many years you’ve been there, so you get a month for every year you’ve been there. Well, here’s two months versus 10. If you’ve been there for two years, you probably know the processes and understand enough that you can help them maneuver through [crosstalk 00:38:46].

Kassandra:
Like I said, they’ll keep you around because you’ve got the knowledge. Until you’ve passed that knowledge on to somebody else, you’re still golden to them, but as soon as that knowledge transfer occurs, you’re at risk.

Mindy:
Okay, that’s sparks a couple of questions. We’ve heard the advice that in order to get a big raise, you need to leave your job and go to another company. We’ve seen that in several of our guests, A Purple Life and Financial Mechanic, kind of job hopped. You and I are the same age. It was definitely taboo for us to job hop when we were younger, but now it seems like it’s no big deal to just spend a year at a job and then move on and move on and up in the pay scale. Does it look bad to your current company that you went out and sought another job even though you weren’t planning on leaving? Are they thinking to themselves, “Oh, Kassandra’s going to leave, so we will give her the raise so that she’ll stay until we can find somebody to replace her”? Or do they think to themselves, “Wow, Kassandra went out and figured out what her worth is, so we’re going to reward her by giving her so much money”? That doesn’t really seem on-brand for the companies.

Kassandra:
Gosh, I think it really depends on your skill set. It depends where you’re working. Like, if you’re working for Apple or Microsoft or Google, you know what I mean, they’re desperate to keep high-knowledge talent. So this is very subjective. For, let’s say, people who are doing administrative work or people who are doing clerical work, for example, in the minds of many companies it’s almost sad to say, but they’re a dime a dozen, meaning that you’re easily replaceable. So they don’t value you as much as they should. That’s where you need to be careful in terms of what role that you’re currently in. How much knowledge do you have at the company? For example, you mentioned, we’re in the same generation. I was one of those exceptions that did leapfrog before it was-

Mindy:
Wow.

Kassandra:
… en vogue because I understood that… Really, the ultimate bargaining tool is when somebody wants you. When you’re at that hiring process and they want you, that’s when they’re most willing to give you the most. Really and truly, that’s just the reality of how it works. So it is much harder when you are already installed in your job. You’ve been there for a couple years. If you haven’t been advocating for yourself and you suddenly find Jesus in the process and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, yeah, I’ve been underpaid. I need to fix this right away,” they’ve been like, “Oh, oh, okay. She’s now aware. How do we handle her or him?” It really depends how you’re coming in, what role are you working in, what company do you work for, what relationship do you have with your bosses. Again, I come back to that. If you haven’t established a positive relationship from the get and you haven’t maintained it, that’s your job. That’s part of your job. It’s not only your job to do the work. It’s your job to make your bosses think you’re a superstar because you are.

Mindy:
Oh, I love that. I love that. I’m going to mark that as a quote. We’re going to have that up. It is your job to make sure your boss knows that you are the superstar that you are. How frequently should somebody update their resume? I know people who have never… As soon as they get their job, they just put it to the side. I look at that girl in the mirror every day, although I’m not looking for a new job, I don’t want a new job, but how frequently should you update your resume? Because it’s kind of hard to remember all the things that you’ve done.

Kassandra:
Well, if you’re keeping a log of what you’re doing, it’s not hard at all. It comes back to that folder. So that folder serves multiple purposes. That folder is not only to help you navigate your present career and to demonstrate your value to your company in the hopes of being rewarded financially. It’s also to help you to position into a new job should you need to do this very quickly. LinkedIn is a great tool, and I don’t think enough people use it the way it is laid out properly. I think your resume updates should be happening in concert with your updates to your folder. You can set yourself a time, let’s say, every three months. You have a meeting with yourself. You look at your folder, and you’re like, “Okay, well, what projects have I working on or that I’ve completed that they challenged me? They provided me an opportunity to learn a new skill set, new software, new systems, new programs, new processes. Whatever these newness is that can translate in potential raises, whether inside or outside the company, that’s when you need to update your resume in tandem.

Mindy:
My final question, how long should your resume be? I ask this because I see a lot of resumes. I’ve seen some 25-year-old applicants who have a three-page resume, and I’m like, “Ooh, no. You’re supposed to do that now? No.” I mean mine’s not even three pages and I’m not 25.

Kassandra:
No, no. Max is two, and two is big max I would say. If you’re able to consolidate everything into a one-pager… Obviously, it depends on age. The older you are, you have typically more work experience but that depends. If you’ve been at the same company for three years or for 30 years, I should say, you can actually format it to one page where you just separate the roles that you had or what you’ve working on. Ideally, I think the rule is that HR typically looks a resume for less than 10 seconds and chucks it. If they don’t see what… The other part is a lot systems are automated, so they’re looking for key words in your resume. So if they’re not finding key words that align to the job posting, that gets chucked. So you need to [crosstalk 00:45:05]. I don’t know if you knew that.

Mindy:
It’s been a while since I applied for job really. I only applied for this job. Before that, it was a really long time.

Kassandra:
A lot of companies are using that automatic, automated screening process, and it’s based on key words. It’s no different than websites. If they don’t see a certain number of key words, let’s say five out of 10 key words that they have identified in the job postings that is important or crucial to finding the ideal candidate and it’s not on your resume, this is why your resume can’t be cookie-cutter for each job that you apply to.

Mindy:
Oh, say that again for the people in the back. Your resume cannot be cookie-cutter. Say it again.

Kassandra:
You cannot be submitting the same resume with the exact same description of your job to 10 different postings because, again, it comes back to those key words. Also, the job descriptions may not be… They’re not unique necessarily. They’re not exactly unique. So you need to cater to them. Again, do you want this job or not? It’s work.

Mindy:
It is work. Yes, it is work to find a job. I was laid off once. I completely deserved it. I was a terrible employee. I’m much better now. It was horrible. I was married at the time, I’m still married, but I was married at the time, which made it a lot easier to regroup over the weekend, and then Monday I was at the unemployment office. It’s been a long time.

Kassandra:
Well, we’re dating ourselves because I remember the unemployment office, too, because I did get fired when I was 17. I’ll admit that. I was a bad employee.

Mindy:
I was at the unemployment office, and then I grabbed the newspaper and started looking for jobs in the newspaper because that’s how you found a job in 2002, I think it was, maybe 2003. Either way, that’s how you did, and Monster.com was just happening.

Kassandra:
That was it.

Mindy:
LinkedIn didn’t exist. I would circle everything. Then I applied to absolutely everything. I wanted them to tell me no because nobody was calling me up saying, “Hey, Mindy, are you looking for a job?” That might happen now, but back then nobody was reaching out.

Kassandra:
No, the age of recruiters was not happening then. It’s a completely different world when it comes to job hunting now. Honestly, for me, I find it so much easier, but I think a lot of people are lackadaisical in terms of they approach finding a job even today. Recruiters will not knock on your email or call you unless they have seen something publicly about you that interests them. That’s just how it works. So you have to make yourself an interesting candidate. There’s a process. You need to put work into this. You need to stand out because there’s millions of other people that want… [crosstalk 00:48:11] they want the same job.

Mindy:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Kassandra:
How do you stand out?

Mindy:
Anybody who’s had one applicant for the job that they were advertising for.

Kassandra:
Exactly. If it’s one applicant, you should question whether you want that job or you want to work there.

Mindy:
Exactly, exactly. Oh my goodness, Kassandra, this was super fun. Is there anything else that you want to share that I forgot to ask or that you think people who want to prove their worth or want to go on and look for a new job need to know?

Kassandra:
I think we’ve covered so much. I would just encourage people to put yourself out there. Before you put yourself out there to ask yourself, what’s the worst-case scenario? Can you live with that worst-case scenario that they tell you no? Nine times out of 10, yes, you can accept that no. But don’t be afraid to put in the work in order to justify why you deserve more. So it’s not an automatic. It’s not a guarantee. But I think it helps you to grow as a person to be open to that conversation, exchanging that information and seeing, “Yes, I know I deserve it. Here’s why. But I’m open to feedback, too.” I think that’s part of the conversation that people don’t typically go into that with is open yourself up to their perception of you as well because you might be working and thinking that you’re doing great, and their perception of you is not the same. It may be for a reason that… miscommunication. This is an opportunity to correct it before things get worse.

Mindy:
Yes, yes! If you want a raise in six months, you need to know now that you’re on the right path.

Kassandra:
Exactly.

Mindy:
Kassandra, I love you. You’re the best.

Kassandra:
Thanks so much.

Mindy:
This was super fun. Kassandra, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you.

Kassandra:
Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Mindy:
From Episode 287 of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, she is Kassandra Dasent and I am Mindy Jensen saying so long and toodle-loo.

 

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