Friday, May 10, 2019

The New Twilight - Why Executive Transition is Different Than Outplacement

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As an executive compensation consultant, I have worked with hundreds of companies - from Fortune 50 to nonprofits and start-ups.  It. Is. Awesome. The best part for me - hands down - is interacting with all these different leaders, helping them structure their organizations and helping them grow, develop, rewards and manage their people.

That's what led me to the world of "career coaching".  Because I have worked in just about every industry, I understand the different cultures, the different roles and career paths, how people are rewarded and motivated and all the possibilities to apply different skillsets.  I am like a walking Google when it comes to possible job roles that fit your skillsets and career goals, especially for executives.  

Tell me your skills and your "why" (why you do what you do - what gets you up and going in the morning), and I can give you multiple jobs and cultures/companies that might fit.

By now, we all know careers don't always go straight up - some go left, right, backwards or enter a totally different realm.  

We are in the age of outplacement.  At the executive level, the risk of losing your role amplifies a thousandfold.  Companies merge, dissolve, are acquired, or restructured - among other things.  When this happens - even if you are "let go" - it isn't the same situation as outplacement.  In fact, at the executive level (and really all levels), this situation can really be a transition.

And it all comes down to mindset.

Being outplaced means the company made the choice - not you. Being outplaced means the situation is in control - not you.  Being outplaced means you feel more anxious about finding a role - and soon - and want help securing the next thing in your career journey.  

And this isn't a bad thing.  This happens. As a career coach, I believe in helping you feel in control again.  Feel empowered.  Feel confident. 

People can either (a) transform the situation from outplacement to transition (b) already recognize they are transitioning.

Transitioning means:

  1. You are in control.  You are ok with the choice, made the choice or would have made the choice to leave sooner or later. 
  2. You feel less anxious, are carefully evaluating your next career move and want to find the either the "capstone" to your career or a role that aligns with your passion and personal goals. 
  3. You want help clarifying your goals and how to best find a situation that gives you meaning
  4. You want to help finding a situation where you can use your skills and experience to make a difference

Twilight used to mean finding the last "hoorah" of your career - that last role, the last position, the last high risk adventure before you retired.

Twilight can now happen much earlier in your career.  It may mean you have 2 or 3 more roles to go before you retire.  From a compensation perspective, whether outplaced or transition, you can still earn more money and feel rewarded for what you do.  

The New Twilight:

  1. Isn't the end of the career - just a change in direction
  2. Is about you utilizing your skills and passions more than industry experience
  3. Is about making a difference at a company before you sail off into the sunset

The New Twilight:

Means finding what brings you joy in a way that helps you contribute to other people and other company's successes.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What Should You Expect in a Job Offer?

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After receiving a job offer, most people gloss over the actual details.  The excitement of having a job overshadows the time it takes to carefully review and consider an offer.  But, as they say, the devil is in the details.  An offer – a GOOD offer – is more than just base salary.  In fact, there are several key components you should request and discuss before accepting, or signing, any job offer.

How do you avoid this mistake that could mean leaving money on the table?  Simple.  Follow 3 key steps:

1. Learn what you COULD be getting

This is probably the biggest mistake people make.  They don’t take the time to learn everything that’s out there – all the rewards they could be getting.  “New hires” assume the company means something they don’t (for example, they assume they will be eligible for a bonus but then are disappointed to find out they are not eligible).  And you know what happens when you assume. 
You don’t get it.
There are several terms I recommend having included in all offers (must have’s).  Other elements of the offer will depend on the company (for profit, nonprofit, private, etc.), industry and the level of the position (nice to ‘’have’s).  Before you accept an offer – or even negotiate - find out what the offer should include.   

2. Confirm your offer includes these 3 “Must-Haves”

Title and brief description

Many people interview for a role thinking they will be doing a certain job.  Unfortunately, after showing up for the job, they find out they are being asked to do something completely different.  It happens.  When you receive the offer in writing, ask for the role to be briefly described.  In case something changes, you will have the written offer to use when talking with your company about your role and how to transition into what you were actually hired to do.

Timing of your first raise

Of course, everyone wants the annual salary front and center on their offer letter.  But what most people assume is that they will be automatically eligible for an increase at the company’s next review cycle.  Not true!  Depending on when you are hired during the year relative to when salary increases are given, you may not get an increase.  You will want to confirm when you are eligible for the next review and raise in your offer letter.


Most people assume benefits will include certain provisions, cover many of their doctors or prescriptions, or cost a certain amount on a monthly basis.  It is a worthwhile time investment to understand how much employees are charged on a monthly basis for benefits and review the copays and deductibles.  Benefit costs add up quickly and can significantly dent your monthly take home pay.

3. Depending on your role and the company, ask for the “nice to have’s”:

Good offer letters should cover the “must-have’s”, but fewer cover the “nice to have’s”.  Such as:

  • §  Bonus (how much and in what form, when and what do you need to do to get it)
  • §  Equity (stock options, restricted stock, etc.)
  • §  Supplemental benefits and/or 401(k) matches
  • §  Noncompetes (and other restrictive clauses like confidentiality agreements); and
  • §  Severance, to name a few. 

How do you find out?  Get advice from peers, friends and experts.  Ask around.
Get answers to important questions like: Is the bonus amount listed the target or the max?  How much are those stock options worth and when can I exercise them?  Will I get more?  Is that noncompete clause fair?  How much severance should I be expecting?  What about relocation – am I receiving a fair package?   

Again, ask around.  Some of these questions you can discuss with your employer by asking them more about their rewards programs.  Or you can ask friends, colleagues and experts.

And ALWAYS get the offer in writing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Why You Can't Let Getting Fired Define You

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The Virginia Cavaliers ran away with the national title in an exciting, fast-paced game that led to OT.  It is a well-deserved win.  They.  Fought.  Hard.
I find it amazing that many of the lead stories are about redemption - this win redeems them from an embarrassing loss to UMBC last year:

Virginia didn’t just win its first national title Monday night, it shed its label as a postseason underachiever and exorcised the demons that have shadowed the Cavaliers for the last year. Those early March exists? That humiliating loss to UMBC? They may not be forgotten, but they have lost their venomous sting

 A year after exiting the court as a picture of embarrassment, the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament, Virginia left wearing a crown on Monday night.
--NY Times

--Sports Illustrated

Not exactly a complement to UMBC either.  
Some losses haunt us for a long time.  And social media doesn't let us forget it.

But the same doesn't have to be true of getting fired.  Getting fired is a loss that can haunt us, overshadow our career and derail our self-confidence.  

But like the Cavaliers, it can be something that can be put to rest.

In fact, the people I work with are stronger, more capable and better paid after getting fired.  Because getting fired is an important lesson in our careers and is something people can use to reflect, reevaluate and regroup.  

Self-confidence is the first thing to go when you get fired.  

In 30 minutes, I share decades of experience working with people who have gotten fired.  I will help you regroup, reevaluate and focus so you can find something even better - and earn more money.

As a consultant, I have actually worked in most industries with companies at all stages of growth.  AND - I DESIGNED hundreds of compensation and career programs for these companies.  What does that mean? I know about the different cultures.  I know exactly what your resume needs to say.  I  know how to interview successfully because I know what the companies are looking for.  And I know what should - and should not - be in the job offer.   

My Clients:
1. Go from being at the #2 in their field to being picked up by the #1 company in their industry
2. Get multiple job offers
3. Get higher starting salaries, bonuses and equity
4. Feel better about who they are, what they do and what they can deliver
5. Use getting fired as an opportunity to redefine themselves
6. Are happier

Sign up now for a FREE 30 minute webinar.

Don't let getting fired define you.  Let it move you forward.  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday Roundup

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TGIF.  And I mean TGIF.  What a long week. Grab a cup of coffee, think about your week but do something FUN this weekend.  If you are reevaluating your career, do it while running, hiking, gardening or taking a long walk.  Get outside and away from the computer (after you read this, of course).  I'm going skiing and plan on soaking in some sun and fresh air and hopefully, no crashes!

This week's roundup is full of little nuggets we can all use and apply to our own lives.  Share your comments.  Let me know what you think,

1. SALARY - Gayle King is looking to more than DOUBLE her salary contract with CBS

Recap - Talk about knowing your worth.  Gayle King understands that value she brings to CBS.  With its failing ratings, she is their pillar and she knows it.  She wants to go - reportedly - from $5.5 Mil to $12 Mil

What it means - Don't undervalue your work.  Whether you are a consultant or full time employee, don't be afraid to ask for more.  A lot more.  Most importantly, don't negotiate against yourself before you get there.  In other words, don't say to yourself - I only think the company can afford x% or $x so I am not going to ask for more,  So many people do this!  Especially woman.  Why????!!!???!!!  Ask.  Don't assume.  Ask.  Know the value of what you deliver and what it means to the buyer/company.

2. CAREER - Japanese baseball hero Ichiro Suzuki 45

Recap: Ichiro Suzuki is a phenom in Japan and in the US.  At 45, the Seattle Mariners star stuck it out longer than people expected and still performed at a high level.

What it means: Don't quit until you are ready - and not when someone else tells you that you should quit.  We each write our own story.  Don't let anyone else write your's.

3. Career - Elizabeth Holmes fell from grace.  Hard.

Recap: The founder of Theranos fooled a lot of people with her promise of cheap blood tests.  And you know what they say - you get what you pay for.   A new documentary by Alex Gibney on HBO explores whether the inventor was the master of all inventions herself and a true fake. 

What it means: Integrity is still everything in business.  Even when you think now one is looking or will find out, the truth will eventually surface.  And take you down.  Integrity is a key part of your brand.