By: Revanche

Career Life: Securing the battlements for a promotion

April 24, 2012

As you may know, I was promoted this year.

It was a long road in getting there, and I thought I’d share some of the process.

Even though I had the advantage of knowing the job description when it went live, it was never a given that the job was mine. This was serious business. Sure, I could learn from someone else. But this was my team. And I wasn’t prepared to let someone else be my boss, other than Boss.

I considered this a strategic battle and I prepared as such.

Stage One: Signal of Intent

Once the job was created, my mind was ticking. There was never a moment to just sit back and think about it so I kept the back of my mind in high-analysis mode for weeks about what I had to shore up before the interview.

Then, of course, I went over my resume about ten more times before I was satisfied, and started crafting a cover letter.

I hate writing cover letters.

One of the benefits of my job for this situation has been hiring and hiring a lot. I’ve read well over a thousand resumes and cover letters, and helped other people with theirs. It didn’t make writing mine easy, critiquing is always easier because of the mental distance, but it was easier.  Once completed, rewritten, burnished, and rewritten again, I asked the favor of the eyes of a few respected expert resume and cover letter readers for feedback. *Interestingly enough, I wasn’t comfortable submitting my cover and resume until I had already started working my way through some of the areas I knew were weaknesses or lacking. There had to be truth in advertising as an internal candidate.

Stage Two: We Have Contact – The Interview

It was unfortunate timing that the process coincided with my Mom’s passing. My Powerpoint was half done and largely unpolished, my plan was still putty and I had to pull it all together while trying to stay on top of work. Jobs may be easier to get when you have one but the process is pretty painful.

Still. Eye on the ball: my team.  (I’m not possessive, oh no.)

Once the interviews were scheduled, the panel was set. I knew who my audience would be and what perspectives/departments/concerns might be represented in our conversations. From there, I tailored my presentation.

Honestly, despite carefully dressing (totally out of character for our culture, predictably earning me a few jibes), an excellent Powerpoint tailored to be inserted into each conversation with individuals rather than having them each sit through the same thing, I felt that my performance was inconsistent.

I was not in my best form that day (or any other day that month – holidays, new life, without Mom were basically hell). The most important person to sway on the panel was very insistent to sticking to a script and after a full day swapping gears between work and interviews, I simply didn’t keep framing the conversation as I should have.

It took about four days before I got past post-interview jitters and unnecessary recapping.

Stage Three: Immersion and Negotiations (pre and post offer)

Post-interview, I immediately immersed myself in salary negotiation and interview technique writings and videos. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t at that stage yet. I was still, in essence, at that stage. I needed to be in the right mindset. It was the next best thing to practice and to achieve a sense of control and calm. 

As well, without practice, all of the following would feel impossible. It would feel “easier said than done.” I simply couldn’t leave anything to chance or hope, so analysis, strategic planning and more planning it was!

The interesting thing about negotiating with this particular organization and the people involved is that while they certainly don’t make it seem like the job itself will be rescinded simply for the asking, they have been less that open to negotiating itself. Or that initiating and continuing the process for more than a weak gesture means you’re “hard-nosed.”  Nossiree. Know what I know?

This is business.

“When people with hiring authority think of winners, they think of people like them who live and breathe this business thing.  They negotiate things as a matter of course: that is a major portion of the value they bring to the company.  Volunteering a number when asked says the same thing to people with hiring authority that flunking FizzBuzz says to an engineer: this person may be a wonderful snowflake in other regards, but on the thing I care about, they’re catastrophically incompetent.  It will also cause them to retroactively question competencies they’d previously credited you with.”  Patrick of Kalzumeus, in his 7000 words on Salary Negotiations  

My mindset:  I represent my business interests in this negotiation and those interests are my life, my ability to make choices, my freedom. This is my family I’m negotiating for.

And if that isn’t enough, I absolutely acknowledge that as a woman, as a minority(somewhat, this is a slightly wibbly wobbly factor), and as a relatively young person, I apparently have the cards stacked against me, not to mention the dismissive attitudes that don’t come right out and say: it’s not that your work doesn’t merit the higher salary, but you’re just sort of too young so we don’t actually understand why you’re asking as you should be glad to have landed the job.

And to that I say: You’ve had the time and opportunity to observe extremely high quality, high powered work and know that I will bring even more value over the next period of time, and for that? Appropriate compensation is appropriate.

But at this point, it was a waiting game. I had been interviewed, other candidates would be interviewed, and a second round of interviews would commence for final candidates.

2 Responses to “Career Life: Securing the battlements for a promotion”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing!

    I love reading about other women and how they progress in their careers. It’s very inspiring and an eye opener for what I need to do to keep my eyes on the prize.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red