A wise woman said it best:
“The harder my job gets, the less anyone around me understands what I do.”
As technologists and people spreading our wings in technology, this can feel all too true. The more troubleshooting we’ve done, the more complex the integrations become, the less people notice. Especially if we’re working as the solo Salesforce Administrator, of the sole person in charge of the tools on our team. We hear: “Just get it done” or “Just fix it”.
Meanwhile, we’ve been kicking butt. Learning new skills, implementing new functionality and apps that have helped our organizations and our teammates do more, and faster, and even think differently.
It’s time to ask for a raise. But how – when no one understands exactly what we do?
4 Steps to Ask for a Raise When No One Knows What you Do
Start talking Reviews (and Money) more Often
My friend Angela Adams struggled with talking about money with clients (who doesn’t?) so she did a revolutionary thing – instead of talking about money less (like when the project was heading over budget) she started talking about it more. Every week! Every week she’d talk money with clients – here’s where we are, here’s the budget we have left. Clients were reminded of their joint role in keeping scope in check, and everything moved better.
The same goes for our personal review process – once a year isn’t enough. In that time, Salesforce has made three releases, the world of technology has continued to change, and so have we. It’s time to setup a (more) regular cadence with our bosses – beyond the annual review. If you’re still in the annual rut, ask this to your boss “I’m really focusing on my growth at work, and the annual review is too far away to get feedback. I’d like to setup a quarterly meeting with you to get feedback on my work and where I should focus to bring the most value to our team.” Don’t confuse this with a project/task download that may happen weekly or even daily if you’re doing a scrum process. This is the time set aside to discuss your effectiveness at work.
If your boss doesn’t schedule it, send them an invite. If they still resist? Maybe it’s time to find another job. You want to work for someone who’ll invest in giving you feedback at work.
Publish a Log of your Accomplishments for the Week
Many years ago I worked with a colleague named Jenny who was consistently talking about how great she was (or at least that’s the way my Midwestern heart interpreted it). She’d send emails of what she had done, things that she had made happen. She’d talk about her accomplishments at meetings. I was irritated. After all, wasn’t good work it’s own reward?
In an organization where no one understands what you do, the answer is no. How can someone else recognize good work if they don’t even have a clear understanding of what you’re doing?
If you log a major accomplishment for yourself or your company – like passing a Salesforce certification; or delivering new functionality that’s been requested from users – shout it from the rooftops! Send out those emails, make those posts.
Salesforce Admin Evangelist Gillian Bruce in the admin.salesforce blog talks about a practice she uses that I love – every week she summarizes what she’s done in an internal chatter post (the internal social bulletin board). Not only does it help encourage her to keep going by helping her see just how much she’s done that week, but it forms a log to pull from when she wants to talk about her work in quarterly reviews.
“Reporting keeps me accountable. I share a chatter post each week with what I’ve been working on — aka: chatter brag. They do two big things:
1) Lets the team know about opportunities to collaborate with me, and
2) Motivates me to stay on track and produce things worth sharing.
…..Bonus: these posts also help build my brand across the company, which has really boosted my collaboration opportunities.” – Gillian Bruce
Focus on the Value You’ll Bring (Not What You’ve Done)
I had a conversation last fall with a woman who I really admire (it was at the Amplify breakfast at Dreamforce – which if you don’t know it, is a great organization).
This woman is whip-smart, funny and just really personable – so much so she was even chosen to be on the game show Jeopardy! When I asked her about her career plans she said she was getting ready to ask for a raise – right after she completed a major project she’d been working on – projected to finish in six months. When she completed it she planned to ask for a promotion in title and salary to match.
This is the hard truth that many people (and especially women) have to learn:
You don’t get a raise as a reward for something you’ve already done. You get a raise for the value you will bring to the organization in the future.
Effectiveness is not measured by the number of things you do, but by the things that you do that bring value. Not about doing more, but focusing on the best things. And value is perceived both in numbers (financial return and other measurable outputs) and in the way other people in your organization view your contribution. This means doing the work to be visible across your organization, and connect with what other leaders care about – so you can create and bring value based on their concerns and priorities.
Make the Ask
This is the other core truth: no one gets a raise or a title change without making an ask (unless you’re the bittersweet recipient of a gender-equity based salary adjustment – thanks Salesforce for your leadership on this). If you really want to get whipped in a frenzy – read a book recommended to me by a friend: Women Don’t Ask.
So there is this. You may be disappointed. They may say no. But you will learn a lot in the process if you ask the right questions, including learning that you may need to move on. Take a risk! Practice and ask boldly.
Some of the most courageous leaders I’ve met – more than I can count on my hand – made a bold move into jobs that did not exist beforehand. Instead they talked to another leader, emphasized their strengths, skills, and most importantly, interests – and that leader created a new position for them. Mike Gerholdt, Director of Admin Evangelism at Salesforce – talked about this recently in a blog.
Interview for the job that doesn’t exist! – Mike Gerholdt
Your current salary may be constrained by the salary of those above you or next to you on the org chart. That and you may have found a combination of things you love to do that exist in a new position altogether.
It’ll be a new opportunity to explain to others exactly what you do and the value you bring. And it will be fun!