Law - BalanceLater this month, my colleague Jennifer Bird and I will be leading our seventh workshop for women attorneys considering a career change, whether within the law or outside the law altogether.

For those outside the law, it’s hard to understand why someone would consider walking away from a high salary in such a well-respected profession. Yet this group of women attorneys is one of the most well qualified to explain why money doesn’t buy happiness.

About three quarters of the women who attend our workshops are employed at mid- to large-sized law firms in the NYC area. The rest work at smaller firms or in public interest positions. They are typically in their late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, and anywhere from one to six years out of law school. As a whole, they are smart and accomplished women who worked hard to get where they are. What they all have in common: dissatisfaction with their jobs and a desire to find a better fit, combined with uncertainty about their future career options.

Here are some of the most common reasons why women choose to spend the day with us to explore their alternatives:

Chained to the BlackBerry. With few exceptions, attorneys in our workshops overwhelmingly talk about the lack of work-life balance as a primary reason they are burnt out, frustrated and seeking a change. Many describe situations with “zero flexibility” and an expectation that they are “always on call.” This is even from workplaces that claim otherwise on their websites. The hours are described as long and “out of control” resulting in an inability to make plans outside of work and stressful workplaces with “intense pressure”.

Lack of meaning. I suspect that women in law would find the hours more tolerable if the content of the work itself felt more purposeful. Instead, participants in our workshops talk about often feeling like a “cog in the wheel” and helping wealthy corporate clients get even wealthier. Some describe the work as “not engaging or challenging” and “dry or boring”. Long hours at a job lacking in greater meaning eventually takes a toll on many of the women we meet.

Toxic or dysfunctional environments or people. While this is not true in every case, some women in our workshops talk about senior staff or clients as micromanaging or “abusive” in the extreme, resulting in continual daily anxiety. Others describe a constant fear of making mistakes.

Not much to aspire to. Whether right after law school or several years in, women start to ask, “Is this all there is?” The “move up or out” mantra sets in, leaving women at a crossroads: Do they work their way up to partner or get out of the profession altogether before it feels too late to make a change? Unfortunately, with fewer women at the top to serve as role models, and environments that do not match what they are looking for long-term, women in our workshops report feeling there is no where to go professionally, especially when the long road to partner does not prove an appealing goal.

To be sure, women at our workshops do acknowledge the bright side of the law. This includes professional well-resourced environments, smart colleagues, learning new skills and expertise, and the benefits of the higher compensation levels are not lost on them. Yet, the challenges are strong enough to outweigh these positives, causing them to seek a change.

It’s not easy for any attorney contemplating a career transition to figure out what is right for her. Some need a less dramatic change such as a different and better company culture. Others know right away they need to shift their identity away from “lawyer” to something new and unknown, which is scary and a process that can take time.

While we may not be able to tell each participant in our workshop exactly what is right for her, what we do know is there are always options and the possibility for something more, and a thoughtful process that can help you get there.

Thanks to Jennifer Bird for contributing to this post.

LYJ (Love Your Job) is pleased to offer our Career Workshop for Women Lawyers in New York City on Sunday, April 27. 

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Recently, I suggested to a client that she may want to ask for feedback after receiving a generic rejection letter following a second interview. I’ve written previously about the value of asking for feedback after a job interview process where you do not get the job, especially for a position you truly wanted. Usually this is best requested as a brief 5 to 10 minute phone call since most people will not put honest feedback in writing.

Though she was ambivalent about the role to begin with, Tamara* decided to ask for feedback as a way to practice that skill. Here’s what she received in response:

Yellow flowersHi Tamara,

Thank you for reaching out. What it came down to is enthusiasm and excitement, which came through in the second interview, but not in the first. You have excellent experience, but passion and really showing that you’ve thought about the job and done research on the company, made the difference for us.

Thank you again & I wish you the best of luck in your search.
Sincerely,
Carla

Tamara said to me: “I have to admit it did not feel good. I cried and I felt bad when I read it.” While it never feels good to hear something critical about our presentation skills, it is an opportunity to learn and better prepare for the next time. I let Tamara know it’s rare to receive this type of candid information, especially over email.

In Tamara’s case, enthusiasm and energy were part of the feedback. Several jobs ago I also received similar feedback, and it was really only thanks to my enthusiastic thank you emails that I was able to continue forward to each successive round. I know this because my future boss later admitted she didn’t think I was that interested in the job initially, which I was surprised to hear. Lesson learned: leave any ambivalence at the door and show up extra enthusiastic to the interview. For some people that may mean raising up your energy a notch beyond what feels normal to you.

As for the interviewer’s additional note about researching the company, this is also important information for all jobseekers. Companies want to hire the person who is not only the most qualified, but also the most curious, interested, and engaged with the job at hand. This requires more than a cursory glance at the company website when walking into the interview. Tamara has learned her lesson and is surely on her way to her next exciting role with this information, even if it felt painful at first to hear.

It takes courage to ask for feedback. Sometimes you will learn that being passed over had nothing to do with you. They hired an internal candidate or decided to take the job in a different direction. In other cases, you might not like what you hear though it could be what will propel you to your next opportunity.

Keep in mind that you may need a trusted friend or advisor to help you make sense of the feedback. Tamara let me know how important it was to hear my re-framing of the email since her initial reaction was defensive, along the lines of “their loss”.  While it was their loss, it’s also her (and potentially your) gain when honest information is offered on ways you can improve for the next time.

* Name and identifying details have been changed to protect anonymity.

I have not written a post in some time but was inspired to do so when I saw this reference in a recent New York Times article to a program that provides women lawyers returning to the workforce (after years spent caring for children or other family members) with paid internships at top New York law firms. [1]

One of the toughest issues women lawyers who opt out of the workforce face when they are ready to return is how incredibly difficult it can be to even get in the door for an interview given the stigma attached to taking time off.  This program eliminates that difficulty by providing women with the key to that door and also acknowledges that years spent caring for loved ones doesn’t diminish one’s talents and ability (and may even provide them with additional life experience and contacts that can later provide invaluable. See: last week’s episode (#14) of The Good Wife).  I like too that the program normalizes culturally the ideaThe Good Wife that it is ok to come in and out of the workforce.

Both lawyering and motherhood are incredibly demanding and time-intensive.  The idea that a woman, particularly one who is driven to excel like many lawyers are, might want to devote her attention fully to one or the other at different points in her life makes perfect sense.

Taking care of children and devoting time to that doesn’t mean a woman gives up completely on other personal and professional goals.  A program like this acknowledges that fact and reduces the penalty that women experience if they do leave the workforce.  I am excited to see a something like this and hope to see more in the future.

1. According to the New York Times article, several applicants to the program were women who recently completed the New Directions for Attorneys program that Pace Law School started in 2007 to help people return to the legal profession.

When LYJ client Olivia Greene* mentioned that she was feeling happier at work as a result of reading meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzberg’s latest book, I asked her if she would write a review, sharing some of her biggest takeaways.

Real Happiness at WorkHere’s Olivia’s guest post:

In Real Happiness at Work, Sharon Salzberg’s first question to her readers is, “When we took this job did we expect it to make us happy?”

She promises us that the tool of meditation is the way to find happiness, no matter what our actual jobs are. Working as a more junior person in a high-pressure New York publishing company, I am tempted to believe that the way to happiness is a promotion and a raise, but as I glance up the career ladder to people in leadership roles, I’ve noticed none of them seem truly happy and some are bitterly and obviously unhappy. Although tempted to believe the person with the best title wins this competition, another part of me understands that the person who walks out the door happiest is the true victor. The book tells us that it’s not chasing the next promotion that makes us happy, but seeking peace, balance and integrity while at work through specific tools, including meditation.

Stuck in a rut at work, mostly of my own making, I stumbled across this book and I decided to read it every morning on my way to work for ninety days. My subway commute is about forty minutes, so I had time to get into the philosophy of the book and choose an exercise for the day before I walked through my office’s doors.

Using some of her exercises began to change my work day:

Unitask!
So many of us pride ourselves on our capacity to multitask, but that mindset can lead to a lot of stress. Salzberg’s exercises call for us to do one thing at a time, give that one activity our attention and thereby give ourselves a break. Once I tried this, I realized I was happier if I was unitasking, not multitasking. It is exhausting to stretch our attention in two or three different places — and it’s unnecessary.

Notice our Stress
Salzberg writes that every job has stress, but each of us gets stressed about different things. I tried an exercise that calls for writing down every thing during the work day that stressed me. Looking over my list, I found out it was different stressors than I realized — and a lot of the stress came from my own thoughts, which I could slowly change.

Mindful Emailing
Before reading Salzberg’s book, I answered an email as quickly as possible. Responsible for an inflow of hundreds of emails a day, the key for my professional survival seemed to me to be speed. But that was making me harried, unable to appreciate what I was writing or reading. Instead, I tried her mindful emailing exercises: I read emails twice entirely before replying and found out I was missing important points, I considered more carefully how my emails would be read and I added more kind words, and I decided I didn’t need to check my email while walking or riding the elevator. This mindful emailing made me, quite simply, happier at work.

Plant seeds
I made lists of accomplishments I hoped for at work, and noted which parts of success I could control — and which I couldn’t. It helped to ground me when I considered that I could set intentions, I could work towards something, but every outcome was dependent on forces beyond my control.

Notice sounds
Most work environments are noisy, with sounds we have no control over. Stationed between an employee social area and a crucial work area, I’m surrounded by sounds I can not control and do not need to pay attention to. I learned that when they begin to overwhelm me, I can stop, truly notice the sounds without feeling the need to stop them, and then gradually return to work with more ability to focus.

Take a deep breath!
While it’s core and basic advice I’ve heard countless times, Sharon Salzberg writes convincingly of the power of breath to restore and center us. In moments when I feel afraid and lose my calm, I learned that taking a deep breath can restore a sense of peace and vitality. It only takes three seconds and it works wonders.

I found that using these exercises allowed me, after a year of wishing I had the courage, to point out the amazing accomplishments I’d had over the past years and ask my boss to help those be recognized. I’ve also found the strength to apply for other jobs. I know that something wonderful is on its way, and I embrace what is happening right now instead of wishing it were different. Most importantly, I remember that finding happiness at work is an inside job. Only I can find it. My boss, my colleagues, and my company can not give it to me. I need to reach for it every day by making the time to breathe, to mini-meditate and to remember a greater sense of purpose. That’s my real responsibility — and it’s a big job.

*Name has been changed to protect anonymity. For additional book reviews, see previous LYJ posts: http://lyjnow.wordpress.com/category/book-review

At a recent all day retreat with the always wonderful Tama Kieves, I determined the immediate next step for me was making a list of what energizes and restores me versus what drains me in order to create more spaciousness in my life. Especially during the winter months, it can be easy to get caught up in a hamster wheel of activity. I’ve found I lose touch with what’s most important as a result. Getting clear about each of these categories has given me a sense of calm and peace, and greater clarity on when to say yes or no.

If you currently feel worn out or like you’re not sure how to get re-inspired, I encourage you to make your own list.
To help you get started, here’s a sample of what’s on mine.

Rumi (the cat)

Rumi knows how to restore.

What Energizes or Restores Me

  • Yoga
  • Going to the gym during work hours
  • Bike rides
  • Rumi (my cat)
  • Watercolors
  • Sleep
  • Meditation
  • Going for a walk
  • Tea
  • Sitting in a coffeeshop journaling or reading
  • Hot baths
  • Writing
  • Talking to a beloved friend in a heartfelt way
  • Nature
  • Inspiring workshops or retreats
  • Reading good fiction

Now for the list of what zaps energy and takes away from a sense of flow or creativity. 

What Drains Me

  • Staring at the computer all day
  • Over-checking email or the internet
  • Too much Twitter
  • Certain work tasks and details that don’t necessarily need to be mine
  • Being over scheduled
  • Messiness
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Self judgment
  • Comparison to others
  • Days without exercise or healthy eating

I know for myself the more time I spend in the energize and restore space, the better I can reflect and make positive choices about the future and, perhaps more importantly, enjoy the present. My next step is printing out these lists so I can regularly remind myself in periods of lots of activity where I need to slow down and make time to energize and restore. What about you? What energizes and restores you, and what is doing the exact opposite?

I learned a favorite new tool when it comes to interview preparation and am amazed I haven’t done this myself for job interviews. Here it is for when you are vying for your next new position:

Create a spreadsheet. (I personally like Google Docs spreadsheets because you can open them anywhere). In column one, pull out bullets from the actual job description on what the company states it is looking for. In your second column, state what skills, experience or qualifications you offer that directly speak to the job deliverable. You may end up using more than one cell per job item.

Job Prep SpreadsheetFinally, provide specific examples that illustrate your relevant background for each deliverable. When the time comes for your phone or in-person interview, you will have already thought through systematically the company’s areas of greatest concern.

This process does not replace your other interview preparation which will include talking to people at sister companies who do the same type of role and practicing out loud your responses either alone or with a friend. It will allow you to more confidently enter into the interview having thought through step-by-step what you offer complete with specific examples. This will go a long way toward getting the job.

WordCloud lawyer black whiteAna is a lawyer in her early 30′s who was stuck in a well-paid yet unfulfilling and demanding job in a corporate law firm. Here’s how she successfully transitioned to a more satisfying legal position by the close of 2013.

1. How long were you actively jobseeking?

Almost a year and a half. I was employed at a law firm which paid me well but where I was unhappy and unsatisfied. It may have taken me longer to do the switch as I was also working long hours at my law firm job and was under a lot of stress while at work.

2. What was your job search strategy during this period?

Emails to networks/friends to ask if they knew people in the field I was interested in, coffee dates with acquaintances and networking happy hours. For me, the in-person networking worked best. When people met me in person, I was able to articulate with words, voice and body language why I wanted to change paths. I found that was very powerful. It took me a lot of time and practice to feel confident about relaying my “job search message”, but more interaction with new faces and networks made me better at it.

Changing jobs from corporate law to “law-related fields” or otherwise was not an overnight shift. There were a lot of questions at first and it often felt daunting. If you know exactly what your next step is then this part may not be so difficult for you. If you were like me, its possible that your “message” to others will change slightly each time as you grow and learn from self-reflection and conversation with others where you want to go.

3. How did you ultimately come to obtain your current new job? (Through a friend, cold application)

Through in-person networking. I became involved with a cause and attended their events. I requested coffee dates with people whom I knew had influence in the hiring process. I relayed my passion and enthusiasm for their cause by showing up to things important to the group and making sure the right people knew I was there and that I was a talented professional.

4. What do you think were the secrets to your success?

When going out to meet others, I kept in mind what I wanted people to know about me. I tried to make myself the most interesting person I could be each time. If I felt really boring that day (if I just wrote a 10 page discovery brief why would anyone care about that?) I would only discuss 1 or 2 things about my job that I actually found engaging and that I was truly proud of. The pride in my work and in myself showed on my face even if I was explaining that I was looking for a change from my current job. I stopped discussing the negatives and what I hated.

5. What advice do you have for jobseekers out there?

This can be a fun process or a drag – so try to make it fun. It can be an opportunity to reinvent yourself (how do you wish people saw you?). The phrase “fake it till you make it” was a constant during my job search year. In general – overestimate your abilities and underestimate your inexperience. If you’re like most women – then you will actually be describing reality. If you join with others who are also looking to make a change, you will also have emotional and educational support. I found the self-searching (what color is my parachute and other readings from the LYJ class) very helpful.

Many lawyers are skilled in necessary and desirable things: research, analysis, meticulousness, negotiation, strategy, writing, etc. Outside of the corporate law environment, it’s the soft skills that workplaces also need: dedication to a cause, teamwork abilities, commitment to an organization/company, management skills. Your hard skills should no doubt be reflected in your resume, but when meeting people in person play up your creative and innovative side and things that can’t necessarily be put on paper. How did you problem-solve in a time-crunch? Manage a complex task with a 4-5 person team and achieve a desired result? Give an example of your good intuition/good ethics and decision-making ability.

LYJ (Love Your Job) is pleased to offer an annual career workshop for women attorneys contemplating a change. Our last workshop was held in December 2013. Email us to be added to the email list for future workshops. Registration is now open for LYJ (Love Your Job) Search five-week class in NYC and Washington, DC. Read additional Secrets of My Success blog posts for advice on how others navigated their job search.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is not just a song by the English punk band The Clash. It’s also a question many people ask themselves when it comes to demanding or unhappy work situations. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Recently, I received the following question from a LYJ (Love Your Job) Search alumna: “I‘m contemplating quitting without having another job. It’s for a number of reasons, but I was wondering what you think about that.”

I believe there is no easy or right answer to the stay or go question. I’ve seen people do both. Even in this economy, I’m not one to definitively say you’d be crazy to quit your job. At the same time, it’s not a decision to be made in a rash moment or after a bad day at work. Here are some questions to ask yourself when sitting with this decision, which I hope will allow you to confidently choose what’s right for you:

1. One of the biggest questions is, of course, a financial one. Plain and simple – what is your financial situation? How long would you be prepared to be without a job? Could you handle 6 months or 1 year+ if your next opportunity or freelancing is not coming easily? If the answer is no to the latter, then you’ll need to think long and hard about whether it’s wise to quit your job without having a new one in place. You may be better off hustling and focusing on getting a new job first before giving notice. If you have enough saved, can cut back on expenses, or are confident you can line up freelance or consulting work, then this will not be as strong a consideration.

2. Can you handle the psychological toll of not having a job? Finances are not the only consideration: there is also a psychological adjustment. If you are burnt out from your current non-stop job, or from a bad boss, chances are you’ll need a break after you quit. Once you’ve recharged and adjusted to your newfound freedom, the reality of not having a fixed schedule and structure to your day will set in. You also will no longer have the “identity” that went with that particular job. This may be a huge relief but it can also involve an adjustment to your new blank slate. Are you someone who can cope with this type of change? Make sure you think it through and perhaps talk to those who have gone through it and come out the other side. This question is not to be taken lightly. Explore your other options first if the psychological toll of being unemployed will be too great.

3. How will you create structure during this period? What is your support system and accountability? Setting up structure and a support system before you leap into the unknown can help you be more confident with your decision. Remember that jobseekers often have to fight off a “desperate” vibe after awhile of being unemployed. It’s part of why it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. That said, plenty of jobseekers with the right qualifications and ability to market themselves get jobs without being currently employed. Figure out how you will create weekly structure for yourself and who or what you’ll need to help you through this period.

4. How long have you been in your last few positions? If you’ve been in the same role for some time, any resume gap would not come into play as much plus you can potentially take on consulting to fill in a gap if that becomes an issue. If, however, in your past two jobs you stayed an average of six months and are ready to leave again, you may want to think about staying until at least the one year mark because future employers will surely start to question your job-hopping, even when there are good reasons for it. Not everyone agrees on this point so ask neutral parties in your field of choice how your resume reads and for ideas on avoiding a gap. You can also make sure to use only years on your resume and skip the months.

5. Are you staying in your field or trying to make a career change? It may be easier to bounce back if you have already established yourself in your field and have a broad network to rely on to open doors for you. An established professional brand will be helpful. Career changes can take longer than expected so if you quit your current job hoping to transition to an entirely new area without having already put in the legwork involved, be sure you’re realistic about your expectations.

6. What does the current market look like for your field and skill sets? How in demand are you? While you’re deciding, it could be good to reach out to a few recruiters in your field, just to understand the market better. If recruiters are not an option for you, then talking to professionals in your field of interest will help you understand the market for your skill sets better.

7. What would make your current position tolerable in the short-term? There may be things to negotiate for before you take any giant leap. Is there anything at all that would make a difference? More money? Better title? Change of responsibilities? Flexibility with time/hours/less time for the next six months, etc.? Would you want to be in a PT or consulting role? We are at our most powerful when we’re truly willing to walk away, assuming you are valued by your employer. If you make the decision to leave, the sky’s the limit in terms of what you could potentially ask for. Worst case – your employer says no and it’s no big loss since you were planning to leave anyway. And if the answer is still no in terms of what you’re looking for (there’s nothing that could change in terms of the job, it’s simply time for a change), then that’s good information.

There’s no right or wrong. I once quit a job after 9 months and, looking back, I wish I had stuck it out and made it better since it took me awhile to land on my feet – I did land though.

Give yourself some time to think this decision through. Ironically, an earlier post, How to Decide If a Job Offer is Right for You” offers an approach and questions that are also useful with this process.

Dana WeissmanDana Weissman loves her job as Director of Programs at the Writers Guild of America, East. She has worked in the nonprofit/arts world—specializing in cultural communications, audience development, and business development—for 12 years. Dana directs all member events and programs for WGAE including elections, seminars, workshops, panel discussions, social events, screenings, film festival outreach, and the annual WGA Awards competition and celebration. She’s also worked at the 92nd Street Y, The Educational Alliance, and Care2.com. A graduate of Arts & Business Council of New York City’s Arts Leadership Institute, she is a founding member of Emerging Leaders in New York Arts and the co-founder of the Tufts Alumni Nonprofit Roundtable. Dana recently joined WFUV Radio’s Community Advisory Board. Here’s her career advice and what she has to say on loving her job.

1. What do you love about your job?
My favorite part of my job is getting to interact with writers all of the time, having writers as “clients.” They are, by and large and by definition, witty, talkative, interesting, industrious, funny, wacky and intelligent. I get to help them fill in the holes in their lives or, at least, their careers. And that makes us all happy.

I’m also extremely fortunate to have interesting and cool colleagues, especially my supervisor, whom I adore. She complements my style perfectly while making me better where I need to be better. We’re a great team.

2. Did you always know this was the job or career path for you?

Actually, I quite fell into my current role; but as we Jews say, it was bashert, meant to be. I have a background in publishing books, magazines and websites, on the writing/editorial side as well as in publicity. I’ve made a living as a writer, just like our members, although I wrote for publications and guidebooks, rather than scripts. But I think that helps me get them and what they want or need. The bulk of my experience has been in audience development for artistic organizations, community outreach, and programming. Plus, I’ve been a TV/movie geek forever. Now I get to geek out for a living.

3. What are the most important lessons you have you learned along the way?
Trust your gut. Be yourself. Don’t burn your bridges. Dress for the job you want, even if it isn’t the one you’ve got. You are more important than your job. Those are some good ones.

The toughest bosses are the ones that, in the end, will have been the most responsible for your career success. So the tears suck, but if you’re lucky, they’re worth it. This is also something I try to remember in managing others, which is hard, because we all want to be liked. That said, I’m pretty sure I’m not about to make anyone cry.

It’s better to have a mindset geared toward diversity in everything you do, than a diversity component. For example, include women and people of color wherever possible on every panel or article. Don’t have a panel for black filmmakers, or women in comedy. Don’t ghetto-ize those who are already disenfranchised.

4. Tell us about a defining moment for you related to your work.
I hit a rough spot during the recent recession, along with most people out there. Since times were tough, I decided to accept an opportunity that was a bit of a stretch – a tech sales position, but one in the social service sector. The money promised to be great and I thought, I can do this for a few years, until the economy turns around.

Right before I was set to begin work, I started having some serious anxiety about the decision. I couldn’t sleep. I had a gut feeling that everything I’d worked for thus far was about to be chucked out the window. What I learned is that, at least for me, the “short term” decision can mean short-changing myself, in a lasting way. As I said before, trust your gut. That job was the worst, and I cut my losses (i.e. quit) almost immediately, because I didn’t want to waste the company’s time and money. I don’t think the CEO appreciated it, but it would have been much worse if I’d stayed in a place I didn’t belong. Everyone would have lost. That said, everyone has to pay their dues. You need to start somewhere. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone of that. I think younger folks are starting to realize that, unless you’re at a small mom-and-pop, you’re not going to run a department right out of school. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but it’s a crucial one.

5. What advice do you have for people looking to find work they love, in your field, or any field?
Finding your dream gig is like dating. It is preferable to have many jobs before you settle on “The One.” So, despite what my answer to the last question might have suggested, I do believe that there’s value in playing the field. Set out with the following formula:

A. What effect do I want my work to have on the world?
B. What are my skills?
C. What do I enjoy doing?

Find an opportunity that combines your answers to these questions, and try it! The worst you can do is learn something.

As a follow-up to my previous post where I encouraged you to delay talking about money, let’s pick up with the next step in the salary negotiation process. It’s so important to do your homework on market standards and identify an appropriate salary range.

The first way to do this is by tapping your network. When you meet an individual for an informational interview, you might consider posing a question like:

  • What kind of starting salary range might I anticipate if I were to enter your field/company?
  • Given my skills and experience, what’s a typical salary range I could expect to earn in your field/company?
  • What do you find is a common entry-level/mid-level/senior-level/executive salary range for colleagues in your field?

The second technique is to use online salary resources as a reference tool. Some potential resources include:

Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be better equipped to align the market rate with your own personal salary range and to ensure that you don’t shortchange yourself in the negotiation process.

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