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DPM Podcast

How To Get The Raise Or Promotion You Know You’ve Earned (with Sally Shaughnessy from Aten Design Group)

By 23/06/2021 September 2nd, 2021 No Comments

Galen Low is joined by Sally Shaughnessy, Director of Project Management at Aten Design Group, a digital agency based in Denver, Colorado, delivering full service web projects for public sector and non-profit clients. Listen to learn how to get the raise or promotion you know you’ve earned.

Interview Highlights:

  • Sally Shaughnessy is a tireless and driven agency leader in the marketing and technology space. Since the early 2000, she’s been leading full service web projects for local, international brands, public sector organizations, and nonprofits. [1:03]
  • Sally is the Director of Project Management at Aten Design Group, where she coaches, manages, and mentors a team of project managers to deliver impactful business outcomes at healthy margins. In her spare time, she’s an avid camper, dedicated New England Patriots fan girl, prolific content creator, and volunteer at Bella Boutique. [1:20]
  • Bella Boutique is a nonprofit that transforms self-image, removes barriers and increases inclusion by providing no cost formal gowns and tuxedos to teens in financial need. [1:39]
  • Sally grew up outside of Boston. She lives in Denver now. She grew up in a really sports focused family. She always really admired coaches and leaders and the way that they inspire and direct and guide teams. And so, she infused a lot of sports analogies into the way that she works. [3:44]
  • She referenced Bill Belichick and his management style. She also referenced the coach in San Antonio. He’s a prolific leader and has his own really unique, but wildly impactful style for the San Antonio Spurs. Even if you don’t play sports, the messages are still relevant in making sure that everybody is clear on what their role is and how they contribute and what the end goals are. [4:25]
  • Sally has been in the workforce since 2002. She started actually on radio. She went to school for radio and television broadcasting, and she always wanted to work in the music industry and be either a radio news anchor or work in news or do something like that. And so she did that for a long time after college. [6:46]
  • She worked in radio for a long time, but she wasn’t told in college that radio doesn’t pay well and it’s wildly competitive. While she had a passion for it, she knew that she needed to find another job. [7:21]
  • Sally started working an office job at a Titanium Distribution Company. She learned a ton about metals and it was a really interesting place to work. Her job was to make sure that all of the deliveries, all of the orders that the clients wanted made their way through their doors and got to them on time. Eventually, she moved into the world of marketing and advertising. [7:38]
  • Sally is always up for an adventure. And that adventure led to an eight year career with Digitas, a global ad agency. She worked in their Boston, Philly, and Atlanta offices and she loved it. [9:03]
  • Eventually, Sally moved to Denver. She worked for the Integer Group, which is another wonderful network ad agency and then she made her way to the Aten Design Group. They are headquartered in Denver, but they have fabulous teammates all over the country. [9:16]
  • Sally leads the PM team at Aten. They are focused on building digital solutions for the public sector, nonprofit clients, amazingly impactful organizations, higher-end clients like Stanford University and Human Rights Watch, and the Guttmacher Institute. [9:34]

“Just because you’re trying to break into a different industry doesn’t mean that you don’t already have a great foundation to do so.” — Sally Shaughnessy

  • There was a nerve-racking time when Sally was assuming the role of director of PM at Aten. She had very limited formal management experience, she had mentored and contributed to the growth of junior PMs in the past. That doesn’t make her nervous, but assuming the management role, being responsible for somebody’s livelihood, their performance reviews, things like that. It was a little daunting, but when the opportunity presented itself, she seized it. [14:55]

If the opportunity is presented in front of you, chase the adventure. Figure it out as you go, and be brave about that.” — Sally Shaughnessy

  • Sally contributed to the success of teams in different ways and she coached and mentored in her job at Integer. She was brought in to train print project managers, how to do digital. [16:20]
  • There’s a pretty well-known stat that says that men will apply for jobs that they are not at all qualified for, but they’re confident that they will figure it out. And women will only apply for jobs that they feel a hundred percent qualified for. [18:56]
  • Make sure that your resume stands out as much as possible and that it doesn’t sell yourself short. If you need to work with a resume writer, Sally strongly suggests it. If you have any questions about how you’re representing yourself on that resume, definitely get some guidance. [21:27]
  • Get the raise, get the promotion, whatever it is that you’re looking for, whatever growth means to you. There are some things that, unfortunately asking for a raise for a woman, there’s a little bit of a different guidance where things like be straightforward, leave emotions out of it. Don’t use words like I feel like I’ve earned this, I believe this. Just state the facts, and be straight forward. And let it sit, let there be dead air for a little bit and be confident. And so you have to take it from there. [25:01]
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion in leadership positions. Even younger generations right now, if you look at the way they interact with each other and the emotional intelligence that teenagers have right now and college students have right now with each other, they’re the next generation of leaders. [26:19]
  • Managers are not mind readers. You have to create a dialogue and good managers will ask questions to solicit these types of conversations around where you want to go. [28:47]

“Sometimes your manager won’t have the solutions for you, but your manager can help facilitate the solutions that you yourself already know about.” — Sally Shaughnessy

  • Digitas had a really wonderful practice. When you were hired, you were given your departmental core competencies. It was a slide deck that essentially showed you the corporate ladder of all of the different project management roles and different levels from junior up to executive. And so it had examples of what it looked like to be meeting expectations at every level. So everyone at Digitas was equipped to know what was expected of them today. And how they could get to tomorrow. [31:01]

“Even just the scales of learning and where you feel like you’re at, can help you make your case for asking for a raise or promotion.” — Sally Shaughnessy

  • You have to put your ego at the door to be a good manager and help people grow. [36:56]
  • If there are a lot of people that have earned a position, but there’s only one spot here. Could there be adjunct opportunities elsewhere that could be created to reward and recognize a really talented team member that you don’t want to let go of. The tough reality is that sometimes people will leave because those opportunities don’t exist and that’s unfortunate, but that’s just going to happen. [39:13]
  • Do not sell yourself short. If there’s a salary band, do not ask for the low end of the salary band. Always reach higher than you’re willing to settle for. Do not put your best or your lowest offer out there first. There is no reason for you to do that because you think that you might disqualify yourself. Again, know your worth, but know what you will agree to and what you will walk for. [42:55]
  • If the company you’re working with is not willing to negotiate, negotiate for other things. There are other non-cash ways to negotiate benefits. You can negotiate for a different type of retirement contribution. You can negotiate for extra PTO or maybe more health benefit coverage. There are ways to increase your overall benefits package outside of negotiating cash. [44:04]

“Asking for a promotional raise and being told “NO” is not the end of the world.” — Sally Shaughnessy

  • Sally’s advice to somebody about advocating for themselves in their role is “Do your homework, be bold, know your worth, keep emotions out of it. Don’t compare yourselves to others, focus on your path. You can’t get anything if you don’t ask.” [55:13]

Guest Bio:

Sally Shaughnessy has been a digital project leader since the early 2000s with experience ranging from global ad agencies to smaller start ups. She currently leads the PM practice at Aten Design Group, a digital agency based in Denver, Colorado, delivering full service web projects for public sector and non-profit clients.

Sally thrives on helping makers do what they do best and mentoring other PMs to excel in the world of client service. And, when she is not retooling a roadmap or gathering site requirements, she also sits on the board of Bella Boutique, a unique Denver non-profit providing free prom gowns and tuxedos to teens in financial need.

Photo Of Sally Shaughnessy

“As far as negotiating for salary, be prepared and know what the role is worth, and what you’re worth and be able to talk about it.”

— Sally Shaughnessy

Resources from this episode:

Related articles and podcasts:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Read the Transcript:

Galen Low

No sooner, have you finished pressing the hangup button in zoom, then your body lets out a huge involuntary sigh. You’ve done it. You built your case, you demonstrated your ambition, and you made the formal ask for that promotion that you’ve been working towards. Now, all you have to do is wait for an answer.

You feel good, but somehow still a bit sick to your stomach. I mean, what if the answer is no? Or what if the answer is yes, but your peers don’t think you deserved it. Are you even ready for the big job? What if you get it? And it turns out to be nothing close to what you wanted. If you’re familiar with this emotional Whirlpool, when thinking about asking for a raise or a promotion, keep listening. We’re going to be diving deep into tips and tactics that are going to help you advocate for yourself and unlock career opportunities in the digital world.

Thanks for tuning in. My name is Galen Low with The Digital Project Manager. We are a community of digital professionals on a mission to help each other get skilled, get confident, and get connected so that we can deliver projects better. If you want to hear more about that, head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com.

Hey everyone. Thanks for hanging out with us on the DPM podcast. My guest today is a tireless and driven agency leader in the marketing and technology space. Since the early 2000, she’s been leading full service web projects for local, international brands, public sector organizations, and nonprofits.
Today, she is the Director of Project Management at Aten Design Group, where she coaches, manages, and mentors a team of project managers to deliver impactful business outcomes at healthy margins. In her spare time, she’s an avid camper, dedicated New England Patriots fan girl, prolific content creator, and volunteer at Bella Boutique.

A nonprofit that transforms self-image, removes barriers and increases inclusion by providing no costs formal gowns and tuxedos to teens in financial need. Today, she’s going to be lifting the lid on the dark art of asking for a promotion or raise with specific tips and trade secrets for those working in digital.

Folks, please welcome Sally Shaughnessy. Hello, Sally.

Sally Shaughnessy

Hi Galen. So happy to be here. Hi everybody.

Galen Low

I’m super excited for our conversation, Sally. I always love chatting with you. We were just chatting backstage, backstage about how we could just go on and on for hours if left to our own devices. So, we’ll try and keep our conversation reined in and tight for all your listeners, but just so you know, probably it will lead to some form of part two.

And I think the testament to this, here’s a testament to this. So, what you might not know about Sally, members, uh, in our community know this, but Sally has earned every badge under the sun, on our DPM members forum, just by virtue of the value she creates. She’s just always spinning ideas, having good thoughts, giving good advice.

And she’s creating all this value for our community on a day-to-day basis. And yeah, she’s like racked up the like generals, uh, chest plate of metals in our, in our forum and just not, not by trying, just by being Sally.

Sally Shaughnessy

Can I get that in real life? I’d like to wear that around.

Galen Low

I think we should really do that.

There was this a walking challenge that somebody has shown me and they literally, they send you physical metals. If you walk the equivalent distance of like the Grand Canyon, I guess, end to end, and you get this thing that you can put on the wall or wear on your chest, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with it entirely.

But, uh, I think it’s something that we should look into. We will look into it. Uh, also Sally, I love the content you create. I love how you write. And one of the recurring themes that I always notice in your musings is this love of American football and in particular, the New England Patriots. Um, can you tell us a little bit about how that passion came to be and how it impacts or has impacted the way that you’ve built your career?

Sally Shaughnessy

Sure. Um, so I grew up outside of Boston. Uh, I live in Denver now, but once you’re a Boston sports fan, you’re always a Boston sports fan. I grew up in a really sports focused family. Uh, so we all grew up playing team sports and so I’ve always been around teams, right? And so I’ve always really admired coaches and leaders and the way that they inspire and direct and guide teams.

And so, um, yes, I do infuse a lot of sports analogies into the way that I work. Um, but I think that it’s totally applicable. I mean, you, everybody’s there for a common goal. Um, you can easily translate, um, coaching guidance to corporate leadership tactics. Um, I’ve referenced Bill Belichick and his management style.
I’ve referenced, um, the coach in San Antonio. He’s a prolific leader and has his own really unique, but wildly impactful style, uh, for the San Antonio Spurs. It really does, even if you don’t play sports, the messages are still relevant on making sure that everybody is clear on what their role is and how they contribute and what the end goals are.

Um, and how great leaders get you there and so that’s why I love sports and I unabashedly referenced sports in my guidance to teams and other PMs.

Galen Low

And I like that. It’s such good lateral thinking a, just to like pull ideas from something that’s not, let’s say Digital Project Management. Um, but also just like, yeah.

Thinking through and like witnessing, um, some of these strategies at play, like, uh, my other equivalent, although not sports is like home and garden network, right? You’re watching those renovation shows and you’re like watching this like 30 minutes of a project and you get to kind of see it all, you know, and, and, and, and a game arguably.

Uh, is, is, is like that as well, just watching all of these strategies in play, uh, unfold and watching, you know, these teams work together really tightly and really collaboratively. Like it’s all, it’s all in real time, and it’s a great inspiration for, for us project managers. For sure. All right. I promise to keep our conversation RainDance, so let’s get into it.

Let’s talk about one of the most feared and anxiety ridden things that we are forced to do in our adult lives, or most of us are at least, uh. So let’s talk about this whole notion of asking for a raise or a promotion and knowing that you’ve earned it. And just to kind of put this all into context, Sally and I are recording this at a time of uncertainty, in the middle of the global pandemic.

Uh, so we’re going to be zeroing in specifically on the digital industry, and thing about the digital industry is that arguably it’s one that has both benefited from and has been completely disrupted by the pandemic. So, we’re going to use that as a lens today, but at the same time, we’re really just kicking it in terms of how to advocate for yourself in your role in the digital industry.

So before, before we dive in, I thought maybe you could give our listeners a little bit of background, a little bit of history on your career, where you got your start, what you do now, and maybe just some of the major stepping stones in between.

Sally Shaughnessy

Sure. Um, so I have been in the workforce since 20, uh, 2002. So it’s been a long time.

Um, and I started actually on radio. So, I went to school for radio and television broadcasting, and I always wanted to work in the music industry and be either a radio news anchor or work in news or do something like that. And so I did that for a long time after college. Unfortunately, so I was a radio news anchor, radio news reporter.

I love talking to people. Um, I love talking to strangers. I’m a big person, uh, for networking, um, shocker. Uh, so, um, I worked in radio for a long time, but what they didn’t tell me in college was that radio doesn’t pay well and it’s wildly competitive. And so while I had a passion for it, um, I knew that I needed to find another job if I was ever going to move out of my mother’s house.

So, uh, I actually started working an office job at a Titanium Distribution Company. So I learned a ton about metals and really interesting place to work. But again, I’m part of a team of, uh, different personalities, right? They’re salespeople, there’s a warehouse workers, there’s admins, there’s a FedEx and UPS, big rig truck drivers.

And my job was to make sure that all of the deliveries, all of these many projects, these orders that the clients wanted made its way through our doors and got to them on time. And so being a reporter, you have to manage multiple personalities to solicit the information that you need to build your story.

And so you have to get creative managing different personalities and interviewing people. Same thing applied at the Titanium warehouse, where I needed to navigate a whole bunch of different personalities to achieve the goal, which was to get this product out the door. Um, and then eventually I moved into the world of marketing and advertising.

Uh, it was a really cool move because someone recognized in me that I was creative and I liked makers and musicians and artists, and they said, you know what? You’re pretty organized. You’re great at seeing the forest for the trees and managing groups of people. Why don’t you work in advertising and be a project manager?

And that way you’ll still get to be around creatives and makers, but you’ll help them be successful. And so, I said, sure, why not? You know, I’m always up for an adventure. And that adventure led to an eight year career with Digitas, uh, national, uh, global ad agency. I worked in their Boston, Philly and, uh, Atlanta offices and I loved it.

Uh, eventually I moved to Denver. I worked for the Integer Group, which is another wonderful ad agency, network ad agency out here in Denver and then I made my way here to the Aten Design Group. We’re headquartered in Denver, but we have fabulous teammates all over the country, couple international folks.

And I really love what I do. I lead the PM team here at Aten. We are focused on building digital solutions for public sector, nonprofit clients, amazingly impactful organizations, uh, higher-end clients like Stanford University and Human Rights Watch and the Guttmacher Institute. I mean really impressive folks, making a humongous difference in the world and we love being a part of that difference that they’re making. And so I have definitely found a home here at Aten, I love it. Um, and I love coaching and mentoring PMs. I love being able to define the PM practice here, along with my other team leads. It’s a really exciting, uh, opportunity and a really fantastic agency. Um, yeah, that’s a bit about me. I mean, I just.

I love bringing people together to devise solutions for groups that have problems, right? I love connecting, whether it’s personal or professional. I love meeting people, hearing about what makes them tick and if they have a need, I might have someone who has a solution. And so that’s really like what makes me tick?

Galen Low

Nice, and I think therein lies tip number one, which is that your value is made up of all the things that you’ve brought with you along the way. So you’ve took things from radio and broadcast. You took things from your Titanium job and it funneled you, and it created the value that you’re bringing today at Aten.

So, I like that, that is, that is value in how, how it builds up in a cruise. And, uh, and, and, and, and yeah. What, uh, what, what folks are worth the sum of all their parts?

Sally Shaughnessy

100%. I think people miss that, especially folks that are trying to leave industries and break into different ones. You think that you’re, you know, working in restaurants and now you want to go to real estate.

You know, you have been in customer service for a whole long period of time. What do you think real estate is? And so a lot of people forget that skills are transferable. Just because you’re doing, you’re trying to break into a different industry doesn’t mean that you don’t already have a great foundation to do so.

Galen Low

For sure. Um, and one of the things that I wanted to zero in on, you mentioned you’re leading a team now. You are their sort of career manager, mentor, coach guide. Um, and because we’re talking about promotions and raises, I wondered if you might have a really good example of someone on your team who has really earned their promotion or raise.

Sally Shaughnessy

Yeah. So I, you know, there’s a great example and a big theme that I’m sure you and I will talk about today, which is if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. And so I will, there’s an example of someone here at Aten who has an incredible passion for something specific. And that person was in a role in, and, and didn’t know, um, you know, just because this, this particular passion area was not something that Aten had a dedicated space for. And this person thought that, you know, maybe they’d have to leave Aten to, to get that, right? And I’m sure that that was a really frustrating place to be because Aten’s wonderful place to work. But if you just don’t see, um, you know, that future or that growth there, it can be really, uh, you know, a challenge to think about. So this person, this teammate, um, went to leadership and just said, listen, I’m really passionate about this thing. And I think that Aten could benefit from it, but it just doesn’t exist today. And I’m really nervous because I think I might have to leave to do this thing.

And because they had the courage to speak up and ask and just say like, Hey, is it possible to try this? Aten created an entire new department around this thing. And so now we have an entirely new service offering to accommodate. And so again, it’s, if you don’t ask, you’ll never receive, right? And so you can’t trust that the system will just find you and reward you and trust that things will happen for you. You have to make them happen for yourself. And so, now, because someone spoke up about this really interesting idea, we have an entirely new accessibility and QA department. And so we’re better off for that.

Galen Low

I love that. What a great story in terms of just, um, a good outcome for that individual, but also a great outcome for an organization as well.

Sally Shaughnessy

A hundred percent win-win.

Galen Low

And that’s the value of good people. Very much so, um. That’s, that’s a pretty ballsy move. I must say, right? Being able to say, Hey, I’m at this point where I’m going to stay or I’m going to go, um, and if I’m going to stay, this is what I need. And just being able to advocate for that. That’s, that’s very, very cool, but probably incredibly nerve-wracking.

Sally Shaughnessy

Incredibly nerve wracking, but you know, you think about folks like Brené Brown, right?

She’s, she’s a great resource for understanding that bravery and courage takes vulnerability. And so you have to be vulnerable and speaking up and saying like, Hey, what I have today, isn’t necessarily what I want or need tomorrow. Is there any way that we could talk about something different? And you’re putting yourself out there, you’re advocating for yourself, but that is absolutely vulnerability. And so you have to embrace that. Um, but it really does. It requires the vulnerability. It requires transparency and honesty to grow.

Galen Low

And, and speaking of vulnerability, if I can ask her a personal story, um, you know, we talked about your career history and, you know, you made changes along the way. You’ve, you know, arguably climbed the ladder along the way.

Uh, I’m just wondering, what is the most nervous you’ve ever felt when making a case for your own raise or promotion along the way?

Sally Shaughnessy

Um, I don’t know about making the case for, um, my own raise or promotion, but I will say that there was a nerve-racking time when I was assuming the role of director of PM at Aten. I had, um, very limited man at formal management experience, I had mentored and contributed to the growth of junior PMs in the past.

And so I felt comfortable and I love coaching and I love training and things like that. That’s, that doesn’t make me nervous, but assuming the management role, being responsible for somebody’s livelihood, their performance reviews, things like that. It was a little daunting, but when the opportunity presented itself, I seized it.

I felt qualified enough, but maybe not a hundred percent qualified for it, right? But I knew in myself that I would figure it out, right? And so that’s always been a mantra of mine and is just figure it out. If the opportunity is presented in front of you, whether it’s doing something really crazy and fun on a vacation or a really great job opportunity, chase the adventure. Figure it out as you go, uh, and be brave about that. So I will say that that was scary and daunting, but it’s been, I will say wildly transformational for me personally. It’s really become a big passion of mine and it’s changed and the trajectory of my career, right? I have been, um, a straight project manager for all of my, for all of my life.

I’ve contributed to the success of teams in different ways and I’ve coached and mentored in my job at Integer, I was brought in to train print project managers, how to do digital. And so that was a really exciting thing, but this was the opportunity to really help the organization, craft project management practice, process, to grow the team, to curate skillsets, and then to help grow, um, grow and mentor those folks.

And I have loved every second of it. And so that that’s really exciting for me. Um, but I will say it is a terrifying thing to ask and need growth and change. And, but it is so, so important. Um, I referenced earlier, you can’t trust the process. There was, um, there was, uh, a leader, I think it was over at Microsoft years ago.

Um, five, five years ago, I think at this point who got completely raked over the coals for a comment that he made. Saying that employees and especially women needed to just, when it came to promotions and raises and growth, they just needed to trust that the system would recognize them. And, uh, HR managers and growth, uh, you know, growth coaches totally, you know, um, criticized that move and that statement.

And that person ended up walking it back and saying that was insensitive and wrong. The, you have to embrace change and you have to ask for it and seek it for yourself. And that means making a case, a business case for yourself, knowing your worth, knowing your skills and asking for it, um. And making sure that you are in a, in a position and have the relationships and have the communication, um, avenues, uh, to be able to ask for this.

So I, I will say that it wasn’t, um, a scary moment in terms of asking for it. It was more, um, me moving into this role was, um, scarier because I, I didn’t feel a hundred percent qualified. I knew that I had it in me and I just needed to roll up my sleeves and figure it out, which I have. Um, and that is terrifying, but in a, in a good way.

Galen Low

Right, yeah. And I, and I think maybe that’s like therein lies one of the secret ingredients, which is that you, you’re never gonna feel a hundred percent ready to take on that role. Um, but you have to feel confident in the fact that you will figure it out and you have what it takes to, uh, to learn it on the fly and to tackle some of those things that you aren’t sort of quite there, uh, there yet at, um, yeah. You’re never going to feel a hundred percent ready.

Sally Shaughnessy

You know, Galen there’s, um, a pretty well-known stat that, uh, that says that men will apply for jobs that they are not at all qualified for, but they’re confident that they will figure it out. And, um, there’s a terrible stat that women will only apply for jobs that they feel a hundred percent qualified for, right? So, um, that is, that holds women back that’s I attribute that that’s why women, there are fewer women leaders because we wait too long. We wait too long to ask for promotions. We wait too long to apply for jobs that may feel like a reach or a next step, because we feel like we’ve got imposters.

We’re afraid of imposter syndrome. Or we feel like we haven’t earned it yet, or we’re not there yet. And so that is a huge, huge factor in why there aren’t so many women leaders. Obviously we need allies to bring us up, but look, and look in the mirror, right? And, and I think women need to take, take a page out of the men’s playbook and say, you know what?

I think I can figure this out. I’m 60% of the way there. I’m I’m 70% of the way there. I’ll figure that 30% out. This is a great job at a big pay bump, and I deserve this. And I think that that is something that a lot of women need reminding of that. You know what? You may not be 100% qualified right now, but I’ll tell you an overwhelming amount of those applicants applying for that job are definitely not qualified for it, but they’re going to try and they’re going to try to figure it out. So why not jump in that pool with them?

Galen Low

Fair, fair enough, but nothing hazard. I think hasn’t did nothing, nothing gained. I’m probably getting that saying completely wrong. Um, but yeah, just putting it out there and I mean, I’m, I’m reading ahead now, but, uh, I think it’s relevant because I think it’s, you know, uh, it’s a double-sided coin, so, um, I think that’s really cool.

Absolutely. Go out there, advocate for yourself. Don’t wait until you’re a hundred percent, you know, ready and, and, and, uh, and feel like you’re a hundred percent ready to do the job. Uh, but on the other side, do you think that the response is the same for hiring managers when they see, you know, let’s say, uh, less, uh, sort of equally qualified candidates.

One is a man. One is a woman. And do you think that it’s still, especially in digital something where a hiring manager will go. Oh, well, she’s, she’s really stretching, but this guy, you know, maybe he can figure it out. Do you think that’s still just culturally embedded right now still?

Sally Shaughnessy

I think that there’s an emerging concept of unconscious bias. For sure. Um, unconscious bias exists and it’s gender, it’s culture and it’s unfortunate. Uh, it really is a, it’s a big problem. And so you do want to make sure that your resume stands out as much as possible and that it doesn’t sell yourself short. If you need to work with a resume writer. I strongly suggest it.

If you have any questions about how you’re representing yourself on that resume, um, definitely get some guidance. And if you can’t, uh, retain a resume writer, ask for feedback. Your personal network, people you admire, people that are in leadership, people that are hiring managers. Make sure that you’re representing yourself as much as you can so that you can stay competitive. Um, but at the end of the day, just apply for the job. You just be bold and just throw your hat in the ring.

Galen Low

Love that. And yeah. What you mentioned about unconscious bias, like we’re, we’re, we’re making good steps. We’re not, we’re nowhere near being where we need to be in my personal opinion, but, you know, I am seeing good steps.

Like for example, I think it was a nice first step to, uh, uh, some in some, uh, some hiring managers when they get their stack of resumes, it doesn’t have the name on it. So they can’t really kind of suss out. The, you know, the sexual gender of that person and it doesn’t become the initial bias, which is, um, anyway students.

It’s good. Good to see some of those practices and those innovations taking place.

Sally Shaughnessy

Especially in tech, there’s such a gender gap in tech right now, um, with software engineers, especially, um. We need more women. We need more persons of color in tech, in development. And so I do see that there are honest and genuine efforts, uh, by HR organization, by HR departments to create the diversity that is so sorely needed.

Um, and so I will say you’re right, we’re making progress. We’re we’re not there yet.

Galen Low

Absolutely fair. Yeah. Yeah. Far to go, even in a progressive industry like digital. I wonder, I wonder if maybe we can kind of just start digging into like that sort of personal and emotional side and kind of revisiting that vulnerability.

Um, why do you think it’s so hard for anyone and then maybe some specific groups? Why is it so hard to ask for a raise or promotion?

Sally Shaughnessy

I think at the out of the gate, I think people have a hard time selling themselves, right? People often forget that you are your own brand. Um, and it might, and maybe asking for a raise, feels a little arrogant or, um, you know, a little, uh, braggadocious if you will to say, you know what, I’ve earned it, look at all that.

I’m awesome. Look at all the things I’ve done. But without that, that, you know, swagger, um, how do you prove that you’ve, that you’ve, [00:24:00] that you’re there that you’re ready, that you’ve earned in. Um, so I think emotionally, it’s really hard for people regardless of gender, um, to learn how to sell themselves well. Um, I also think that there’s a, it’s challenging to, you know, uh, the awkwardness of saying, of doing the pitch. And then maybe there’s some awkward silence and it’s just eating you up inside while you wait for a response, right? But, um, especially for women, right? We, we’ve been told that we need to, um, you know, there’s always the she’s bossy.

No, she’s a leader. Uh, you know, we, we fight those sorts of perceptions all the time. And so we need more people to embrace their accomplishments as they are objectively without gender bias or anything like that, so that people can really understand their worth, their contributions, their values, and package all of that, uh, to sell themselves and get to the next step. Get the raise, get the promotion, whatever it is that you’re looking for, whatever growth means to you.

The, um, there are some, some things that, you know, unfortunately asking for a raise for a woman, there’s a little bit of a different guidance where things like be straightforward, leave emotions out of it. Don’t use words like I feel like I’ve earned this, I believe this. Just state the facts, uh, and be straight forward. And let it sit, let there be dead air for a little bit and be confident. And, uh, and so you have to take it from there. I mean, that. Honestly, I think that that advice works for anyone, but there are scores of articles that say, women need to take a slightly different approach and talk about what your team, what your group, what your division has accomplished and your role in it rather than I’ve led this. I’ve done that.

Unfortunately, utilizing the, we’ve seen this amount of growth. Here’s how my work and my team’s work has. Underscored that or supported that growth, that scent, that seems to be the way that women are being told to approach the growth conversations.

Galen Low

And do you think we’ll reach a point where that shifts, that guidance shifts and it’s a little bit more, I guess, equitable?

Sally Shaughnessy

I would love to see that with more, um, with, with more of this move toward, um, equity, diversity inclusion. With more diversity, equity, inclusion in leadership positions. I do think that we will start. Uh, even younger generations right now, if you look at the way that younger generations interact with each other and the, the emotional intelligence that teenagers have right now and college students have right now with each other, they’re the next generation of leaders.

So I am optimistic that most people will, um, be a little bit more open-minded and have that. Uh, and, and we won’t have to play by these odd archaic rules, uh, for too much longer.

Galen Low

I just find it so fascinating that like something like language can just be imbued with our sort of cultural views that we have to sort of navigate around it in order to kind of course correct.

You know, this, this notion of, you know, being fact-based and, and not saying things like I feel because it’s going to be perceived a certain way until it’s not. And then it can sort of, you know, change. Um, and I’m with you. I have high hopes for the future leaders.

Which I think brings us to the juicy parts of our conversation. So let’s, let’s dive in, um, I think just tactically. I think a lot of folks and a lot of, a lot of our listeners will be interested in just like different ways to sort of prepare for this. So how would you advise someone on, on your team, for example, to sort of build this case for a promotion or a raise? What kind of preparation would you expect them to do?

You’ve talked about sort of market research, knowing their worth. You talked about sort of gathering some of the facts of how they’ve impacted the organization. What is the, what does the process look like for you?

Sally Shaughnessy

Sure. Um, so, uh, first and foremost, uh, embark on trying to have a really great relationship with your supervisor. Make sure that you can, um, at Aten we’ve been talking a lot about making sure that every employee can answer four questions.

Okay. So the first question is, do I know what is expected of me today in my current role? Do I, um, Do I know what growth looks like at Aten? Do I know how my role contributes to the success of the agency? And do I know how my supervisor or my HR manager is supporting my growth in my future at this company?
So, um, I would be, first investigate those four questions. Can you answer those right now? Um, and if you can’t, try to solve those problems. If you have a plan, but you haven’t yet shared it with your manager, do that immediately. You, again, managers are not mind readers. You have to create a dialogue and good managers will ask questions to solicit these types of, um, these types of cons or conversations around where you want to go.

Um, so understanding the, the salary band of where you think you should be and what your, what your financial worth is. Understanding what you contribute to the agency, um, and what you’ve done so far. So collecting all of that data and write those things down all the time. Keep a file, um, pro uh, projects that you’re really proud of.

What was your role in it? Um, Any good feedback that you’ve received off the cuff for asynchronously from your clients or from your peers, right? All of that stuff down to build your brand and build your case. Um, do other research around, um, opportunities, um, that you want to seek out. Are there any certifications?

Are there anything like that, but also be prepared for different things to negotiate on, right? So what does growth look like? Do you need more from your manager? Do you want more training outside? Um, be prepared to talk about what you want and how to get it, um, because sometimes your manager won’t have the solutions for you, but your manager can help facilitate the solutions that you yourself already know about.

So be prepared with the business case. Here’s what I’m doing today. Here’s what I’ve contributed. I see that I can contribute in these other ways. I’m wondering if I may be considered, uh, if I can consider growing in some ways that we haven’t yet talked about. And what does that look like? And if you come with a, with a, a conscious heart of knowing, like I have, I really truly have earned this. I’m here.

Um, then it starts a really good conversation. The other thing that I would recommend is, um, Investigating in, in core competencies, right? Looking at your job description and saying, yes, I am meeting or exceeding all of these things right now. That can also help you build your case so to speak. But if your organization has core competencies and I’ll dig into what that is, you can also look at that and say, I’m here and I’m meeting all of the needs of my current role.

I’m also stretching into the role in front of me. I can see that I’m already doing a lot of those things, right? [00:31:00] That can also state your case. So Digitas had a, um, a really wonderful practice. When you were hired, you were given your departmental core competencies. And what it was, it was a slide deck that essentially showed you the corporate ladder of all of the different project management roles and different levels from junior up to executive. And so it had examples of what it looked like to be meeting expectations at every level. So everyone at Digitas was equipped to know what was expected of them today. And how they could get to tomorrow.

And that was wonderful because that tool allowed everybody to say, look, I am already doing my job and half of what’s in front of me. So let’s talk about a title change. And so that’s a, that’s a really powerful tool to have, to be able to, to say, I’m ready. The other part is, um, thinking about the way that adults learn.

When you go from novice, to advanced, to beginner, to competent, to proficient, to expert, that’s a big deal. When you can say I’m a beginner. So I’m still understanding the rules of the road. Cool. That’s great. You’re, you’re there. Advanced beginner, you’re starting to be able to look to, you know, now you’re crawling and you can say I’ve got things under control, but I still need a whole lot of help.

I’m in observation mode. So you’re still in that junior realm, but once you start to get into competent and proficient, you’re, you’re starting to break away a little bit. Now you’re walking and you’re saying, you know what? I know what I’m doing. I know the rules. I know the tools that I have at my disposal, and I’m starting to understand the why’s of the decisions that are being made by other people ahead of me. And then you start to advance into, you know, proficient, expert. All of these things start to become intuitive, right? So once you start to advance up that ladder, then you start to understand like, All right, I’ve gone from managing small projects to large projects.

I should probably talk about a title change. We should probably talk about a promotion because maybe that junior project manager doesn’t need so much help anymore. And it just happens organically through osmosis, through training, um, through observation. Through shadowing all of that good stuff. And so even just the scales of learning and where you feel like you’re at, um, can help you make your case for, um, asking for a raise or promotion.

The biggest mistake you can make though, is showing up to those conversations unprepared.

Galen Low

A hundred percent and there’s, there’s so much there that you just laid down. Um, I love that notion of sort of gathering your wins. You’re going to forget them at the time that you go to ask for your raise or promotion, unless you kind of have them in pocket.

I love the core competencies thing, because I think one of the things that, you know, I don’t know what the title of this podcast is going to be when we publish it. But one of the things we talked about with just knowing that you earned it. And you, you hear all this talk in any organization where, you know, so-and-so, they got promoted because whatever they did that one thing or somebody liked them a lot.

Um, and yeah, talkers are going to talk, but you know, if you know, in your heart that you actually met all of those core competencies and it’s clear, then, you know, in your heart that you earned that next step. And then the other thing you said that I think is huge. It’s just that notion that. Having some competency in the next step is massive.

I don’t like it. I think a lot of people have this misconception, sometimes that the promotion is to start doing something that you haven’t been doing ever before. You’re going to climb into the next rung of the ladder and do this new job that you have, you know, that you’re a beginner in. And I think no organization is going to see value in that.

They’re going to see value in the fact that, you know, you’ve got your sea legs. You’re pretty self-sufficient, you may not be the best at all of the things. But you have competency there. You can climb the ladder into this next role or climb sideways to a different role and perform, and it’s not going to be disruptive to the business.

Um, and I think that’s like a great way to just to look at it. Um, and then just that, that conversation of just starting that conversation. Like sooner rather than later, not just kind of like, you know, waiting for the Jack in the box to pop out. Can I get a raise? Uh, it’s kinda, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a longer conversation, especially when you have a great relationship with your career manager or, you know, HR, um, that it’s something that you can get in front of them and let them start to plan to, and not put them on the spot about like, Hey, I’d like to do something different. What do you got for me?

Sally Shaughnessy

Right. I mean, I go back to your relationship with your direct manager. You should be having regular touch points with your manager and talking about things like this. Your manager is there to help facilitate growth for you. And so this is an honest, candid conversation. I can recall having recently, having a conversation with someone on my team and I said, okay, let’s talk about growth for you.

What do you want out of your career? Where do you see yourself and revisiting some of those like, you know, candid interview questions and I jokingly, but very honestly said, this is your chance to tell me if you want my job. And then she said, I do. And I said, great. So let’s start talking about leadership opportunities to demonstrate that you are getting into that and you’ve, you’ve earned the leadership roles.

And so that way, you know, we can facilitate for that person, projects, or initiatives or, you know, little exercises that she can then use to advocate for herself when the time comes. And that takes a good strong manager too, to understand that you’ve hired strong people who are ambitious. We’ve all been in their shoes.

We want to grow, right? And, and not be so threatened by the folks that work for you and instead foster and nurture that growth and give the opportunities for people to step up and step into your role because I mean, I’m not done growing. And so, you know, there needs to be somebody else who also wants to be a director of PM, right?

Because you know, I’m still mid career too. So I still have a long way to go. I’m still growing and I’m still figuring out my path. So of course I want somebody who to, you know, come up to my level now. So of course I want to help that person get there. You ha you know, you have to kind of put your ego at the door to, uh, be a good manager and help people grow.

Galen Low

I really liked that. You sound like a very good manager. I must say it for the record.

Sally Shaughnessy

You know, people that report to me make it easy.

Galen Low

Fair enough. I mean, you raise a really good point in terms of growth. I know we talked about earlier, not everybody wants to grow along the same path and some people will grow into where there wasn’t a path before.

Um, but I guess two things occur to me. Uh, one, there are fewer and fewer positions as you, uh, as you climb the ladder. Uh, in a way, and you know, if five people on your team want your job, only one of them is going to get them. Um, and potentially four of them won’t get it and we’ll have to do something else.

So at what point as a, as a career manager, are you actually kind of, advising people, either laterally and so you set of other roles that might be outside of project management or the even tougher one where you know that they’re growing and you’re helping them grow, but they’re going to grow straight out of the organization to a different organization.

Like, how do you, how do you sort of walk that line? I guess?

Sally Shaughnessy

Yeah, those are really tough questions and a really important one. I mean, it really does come down to the size of your organization and where your organization wants to go. It’s easier to help grow a lot of people into leadership or leadership, or, um, just higher-level positions. If your agency is also looking to scale, right? So if there’s the promise of a bigger agency, then there’s the opportunity for a bigger ladder or more diversity around the positions. And, um, but you know, at some points you do have to understand that some people may get the title and that’s just a tough, a tough call to make as a manager.

But as long as you’re lining people up with the work that they want to be doing, that makes them feel challenged, that makes them feel like they’re growing. Um, then I think that that’s, that’s the best job a manager can do. The titles, that ladder all of the other things that goes back to what I was saying earlier that maybe the title isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t skill build, right?

Just because there’s a ladder, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a tree with branches and going other directions instead of just straight up. You can go up, but you might veer off the current path and create a new path. And so that would be my suggestion is if there are a lot of people that have earned it, but there’s only one spot here.

Could there be adjunct opportunities elsewhere that could be created to reward and recognize a really talented team member that you don’t want to let go of. The tough conversation? Um, the tough reality is that sometimes people will leave because those opportunities don’t exist and that’s unfortunate, but that’s just going to happen.

We’ve been talking, um, you know, with HR specialists and if you look around, it feels like a lot of people are talking about 2021 being the year of churn. We’ve all been on lockdown restriction for a long time. And we’ve been sort of, you know, uh, unfortunately like boxed in, in some ways, and now people want to branch out and they want, you know, their jobs are something that they can control.

And if somebody can’t go on vacation, but needs a variety or something like that, then you know, some people are tempted to start looking for other jobs. And so as much as you want to keep people, there is the reality that sometimes you’re just not able to, um. And good managers will do everything in their power to retain good talent.

Um, and I would just suggest to people that, to be honest with themselves, their boss in HR possible to just say like, I don’t, I don’t want to leave. So let’s talk about what I can do to stay.

Galen Low

I really liked that. And I liked something you said earlier about, uh, sort of understanding the growth mindset of the organization you’re in.

So, and, and for, you know, somebody looking to, uh, sort of ascend, uh, or grow into different roles as well as career managers. I’m just thinking about what does the organization think about growth, because is it going to be okay? Well, there’s going to be other regional opportunities to do the same job in different sort of countries, in different on different continents.

Is there an opportunity? Is the, is the company planning to grow more so that it can kind of create these tiers? Middle tier is underneath, you know, where maybe you only had, you know, a one layer and then a manager, and maybe you’re going to have two layers now, like two layers of managers to kind of scale and operation.

And I think a hundred percent 2021 could be the year of churning and it’s already, you know, it’s job seekers market right now. Um, but partly I think, you know, something to think about is that some of these organizations pause their growth plans because they had no idea what was going to happen. And now things are starting to go again and everything looks exciting.

But another thing that might look exciting is exactly where you are because now they’re kind of firing up the engine again and they might start creating those tiers and there might be these different opportunities. And they probably have to operate their business differently. So what better time to you know, have that conversation like your example of the, uh, accessibility and QA practice? You know, there’s going to be new practices spinning up. There’s a lot of opportunity, um, and it may or may not require a shift to another organization.

Sally Shaughnessy

Right. I mean, for, you hope that it doesn’t. But you have to be okay that, that sometimes it will. And you just hope that you provided, uh, you know, a great launchpad, a great training ground for somebody to find their, their wonderful next step.

Galen Low

Oh, I wonder if we can broach the topic of negotiating salary. Um, everyone does it differently and I’m sure everyone’s positions differently. Everybody’s sort of salary band is different. Um, but when it comes to negotiating salary, do you have any top tips and, and in particular, how can some of this negotiation been done?

Just using that lens of what we were talking about, how the experience could be different for men and women. Particularly in the issue of negotiating salary, um, you know, what are some of the, what are some of the best practices and tips, uh, in digital that you can share?

Sally Shaughnessy

I mean, out of the gate for, for women specifically, do not sell yourself short.

If there’s a salary band, do not ask for the low end of the salary band. Always go, reach higher than you’re willing to settle for. Do not put your best or your lowest offer out there first. Um, there is, there is no reason for you to do that because you think that you might disqualify yourself, um, again, know your worth, but know what you will agree to and what you will walk for.

Um, and so that is, that’s my advice there. As far as negotiating for salary, again, be prepared and know what the role is worth and what you’re worth and be able to talk about it. Um, but also understand that, um, and also don’t be afraid to counter. Don’t accept anybody’s first offer. Um, there, I will absolutely say that, um, uh, you know, as a hiring manager, I will not offer my, you know, I expect people to negotiate. That’s, I’ll say that. I fully expect people to negotiate, negotiate. And quite frankly, if they don’t, that tells me something about them and I’m a little disappointed when they don’t. Um, and so, um, I will say that as well.

The other thing is if you, if your company’s not willing or if you’re, um, the company you’re working with is not willing to negotiate, negotiate for other things. There are other non-cash ways to negotiate benefits. You can negotiate for a different type of retirement contribution. You can negotiate for extra PTO or maybe more health benefit coverage.

There are ways to increase your overall benefits package outside of negotiating cash. Um, but I will say that negotiation is a little bit of a volley. And so again, make sure that your first offer is not what you need because there may be a counter, right? So overreach and then be able to bring it back to something that is mutually beneficial to everybody, but don’t be afraid to, to negotiate, um, understand that while you want a job, they need an employee. And so, um, you also just make sure that this is a two way conversation.

Galen Low

And I think that non-cash thing is something that is massive, that a lot of people forget. Even though it kind of is that thing, you’re like, Oh yeah. But I think in the moment we’re thinking of like how much money do I need to live the life that I want to live.

Um, and we forget that that’s also like the life we want to live is also made up of vacations or retirement eventually, or, you know, massages and, and, and going to physio or something, you know, like, uh, like there’s other ways to be compensated.

Sally Shaughnessy

There are other ways you could even, if they’re not willing to negotiate for a raise right now, or if you’re looking for a new job and they’re not willing to meet you at the, the, um, what you need right now. You can also negotiate for a stepped or a phased, uh, raise, right? So maybe you’re asking for a promotion or a raise and it’s just not going to happen right now. Get an in writing that you can talk to them in three months or six months. Create a marker that says, okay, if I can do this in three months, then we’ll talk about a raise or, you know, um, timing is also something we should talk about when you’re asking for a raise or promotion.

Let’s think about making sure that you’re doing it at a time where it might be a well-received message and not a, well, we can’t talk about this right now. We’re in the middle of a reorg or we just lost a big client. Why are you asking for a raise right now? Think about timing. Think about how your message is going to be received.

Um, and so if it’s not a good time and you can’t hold and you can’t put off, maybe say, I recognize that this isn’t the best time and, but maybe, you know, we could, I just want to put it out there that I’m looking for this. If it is, if we can’t talk about it right now, can we talk about it in three months?

Can we talk about it after the next time we land a new big client or, you know, we grow X amount. Um, those are all negotiating tactics to say, if it can’t happen today, when can it happen?

Galen Low

I like that. My I’m I’m thinking of, I drive my wife nuts because I will signal when there’s a hole in, you know, when there’s a space in the next lane. I won’t signal when there’s no space to tell people that I’d like to go into the lane.

I’m like, Oh, there’s a space now. So I signal and I switched lanes and it drives her nuts because why would you signal right when you, you know, when you need to change when there’s space, like, why would you wait? The whole point of a signal is to like, Raise that flag and say, Hey, listen, I’d like to go over here now.

And what can we do about it? Can we make some space? Some people will. Some people won’t. Sometimes the time is right. Sometimes it’s not. Um, but if you’re not starting the conversation, I love that it’s not necessarily just, again, it’s not that Jack in the box, I’d like to raise now, sorry that we had the worst quarter, uh, you know, on our books ever.

Uh, but uh, you know, can, can I have some money? But it’s like, Hey, listen, I am in this personal path. And the organization’s on this path. And, you know, how can we start talking about what this looks like? Uh, one question I had for you is just when you’re doing that, uh, like, is it in the contract? Is it sort of a handshake? Is it, you know, get it in, in an email, what protects you so that an organization can actually honor that or will actually honor that three months down the road?

Sally Shaughnessy

I’m old school, get everything in writing. You know, um, you know, having a conversation is great, um, but if you don’t receive something in writing from the person that made the agreement with you in a few days, follow up. Follow up in email, follow up in writing somewhere that says we talked about this.

We agreed to this and I will set up a, you know, a reminder in three months or six months or whatever it is, or I have agreed to do X so that we can talk about Y uh, after it’s completed. Uh, so definitely get it in writing if you are not agreeing to something today.

Galen Low

I like that the accountability is, you know, it it’s shared. Um, but if you’re advocating for yourself, well, you’re advocating for yourself. Um, you know, holding that accountability to follow up and, and make sure that it’s, you know, the deal that you, that you negotiated and not just hope for the best and leave it in the hands of the powers that be. That’s a very cool mindset.

Um, One thing I wanted to come to because, you know, we talk about how it’s this dreaded moment, right? Asking for a raise we’ve now, you know, broken it down a little bit. There’s there’s steps and it’s not necessarily this big sort of one climactic moment. Um, but at some point there is a decision and what if that decision is no? Sorry, we’re not going to give you that. Is it time to move on? Like, is it, is it sort of unrecoverable awkwardness or is it just kind of something that happens?

Sally Shaughnessy

Well, I think, I think the answer to that lies in what happens after the no. Is it no, full stop? Is it no, but let’s talk about it again in three months. Is it, uh, no, not right now, because we still haven’t seen XYZ from you. Um, I think the answer lies in what, what the follow-up is. Is it a no, because you need to grow more? Okay. If so, are those growth areas? Do you agree with them? Um, and, and if you agree with them, then go ahead. Now you’ve got a plan. Now you have something that says, okay, so it’s a yes after these things. Great. Okay. Handshake, let’s move on. And get that in writing.

Galen Low

Boom. There you go.

Sally Shaughnessy

If it’s a no, this is just not a priority to the organization or this just doesn’t exist and it’s not going to exist? Then maybe you might need to think about, um, finding somewhere that has that opportunity for you.

Um, I think that, you know, it really does depend on, is this a negotiate? Is the conversation over? If the conversation is over, then yes. You need to understand whether or not, what you’re left with after the, no is, um, a sustainable environment, a sustainable job. If somebody says no, we can’t give you a promotion right now.

Are you going, are you going to be happy in this job in six months, 12 months, 24 months? And if so, stay. If, if the no means that you cannot, um, that it is just, it’s not an attractive opportunity for you long-term, then yes. I would probably say that you’ve, you’ve hit your, your endpoint and it’s probably time to start looking.

However, if it’s a no, but it’s an actionable no, then that’s really encouraging, right? Like maybe now they know that you’re ambitious. Now they know that you’re looking to stay. And that you want to grow within the agency. So keep the dialogue going about what it’s going to take to get there.

Galen Low

And I love that sort of overall it’s like it is a mindset, right? Um, you know, on the one hand, all you’re doing is advocating for yourself. No big deal. On the other hand, you have to be ready for what the answer is and plan accordingly and understand what you’re willing to stay for and what you’re not willing to stay for and whether you’re going to be happy. Usually in my head, when I asked it, I was like, do you just, you know, like cower in shame, runaway with your tail between your legs and you have to quit because you’re so embarrassed because you asked for a raise and they said, no, but actually, um, Eh, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll trigger that answer that shows that growth mindset of the organization.

Oh, okay. Yeah, no, not yet. You still have these things to do and it’s clear and you get it in writing or we’re in a point where, you know, we, we, we, we aren’t, we aren’t gonna create that, you know, new departments, um, it’s, it’s, it’s a long way off and just understanding what to do with that information, whether that’s means you stay or that you go, um. But overall, just kind of like understanding, is this sort of existential moments?

Um, yes, it’s, it’s very positive in a lot of ways, right? If you get your raise, your promotion, that’s that, you know, uh, you know, off you go, you, you kind of get what you want and we all like winning. Um, but also this existential moment of like, okay, I need to evaluate where I’m at, because you know, if not this, if not this raise, if not this promotion, you know, then where, where, where does that leave me standing? Um, in terms of the sort of life I want to craft for myself or the career that I want to build.

Sally Shaughnessy

Right, right. And just know that you are never stuck, right? Um, there’s never an, stuck is a mindset and you can get out of it easily. And so trust your instincts, do your research, understand your own boundaries and just go from there.

Um, you know, asking for a promotional raise and being told no is not the end of the world. Depending on what comes out of it, um, the action item is maybe on you, maybe on them.

Galen Low

Very cool. Um, one thing I wanted to return to that you mentioned, we, we kind of talked about it. We talked a little bit about deferred raises.

Um, but I was also wondering about, I’m wondering how you feel about promotions with no raise. Is it still valuable or is this just another one of those tricks that like keeps the glass ceiling where it is?

Sally Shaughnessy

Is that a thing?

Galen Low

I think it is, you know, you become a senior or something or, you know, vice something, but you just keep the same salary because, you know, in some ways maybe that is the answer from the, from the organization saying, we can’t afford to, you know, do X or Y for you right now, financially, but we’re willing to make you a senior vice president of, you know, this corner of your world.

Um, so that at least, you know, you feel good about it. You know, it shows, well, it shows growth on your CV. Um, we can do that for you. Or is that kind of like a trap?

Sally Shaughnessy

I think I have personal opinions on that as it relates to my personal, uh, you know, my personal growth, but I think what maybe go back to what motivates you?

Are you motivated by a title change? If so, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Uh, if you’re motivated by money, that might not work for you. If you’re motivated by recognition and, uh, you know, accomplishments and things like that, then maybe the title change with no bump does help. Um, but I think that’s a personal choice.

Um, I won’t make a generalization about the organization. It’s easy to say that, I don’t know that that is in the employee’s best interest. Um, because you know, you’re a little bit behind the eight ball negotiating for a salary at that level somewhere else, if you need to. Um, but off the cuff, I think that’s a personal decision.

It really is. And it, I it’s related to what motivates you and how that works for your path.

Galen Low

I love that. I love that. Very cool. This is all really valuable. I love our conversations. I would do this all day. Again. We could go on and on and on, but I figured I should sort of make it a sane length for, uh, for our listeners.
Maybe just to wrap up, if you could sum all of this up in one sentence, what, what advice would you give to somebody about advocating for themselves in their role?

Sally Shaughnessy

Absolutely. I would say, do your homework, uh, be bold, know your worth, keep emotions out of it. Don’t compare yourselves to others, focus on your path. And you can’t get anything if you don’t ask.

Galen Low

Beautiful. There it is, summed up in one sentence. Hope you all enjoyed this conversation. Sally. Thanks so much for joining us. It’s always great having you, so happy to have you on the DPM experts team. And this was a lot of fun. Thank you.

Sally Shaughnessy

Thank you so much, Galen. I love you and the DPM community. Thanks for having me.

Galen Low

So what do you think? What would you do differently to secure the promotion or raise that you deserve? Tell us a story. Have you ever asked for a raise or promotion and gotten more than you expected? Have you ever had the conversation goes so wrong that you just had to quit? Let us know in the comments.

And if you want to learn more and get ahead in your work, come and join our tribe with DPM membership. Head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com/membership to get an access to our experts forum, mastermind mentorship groups, our library of mini courses, our live mentorship sessions, Ask Me Anything sessions with a variety of experts, eBooks, templates and more. And if you like what you heard today, please subscribe and stay in touch on thedigitalprojectmanager.com.

Until next time. Thanks for listening.

Galen Low

Galen Low

I am a Client Services Professional and Agile Delivery Specialist with progressive experience driving human-centered digital transformation in government, healthcare, transit, and retail verticals. I manage large, cross-functional teams and executive-level relationships within boutique agencies and large consultancies to drive tangible business outcomes and strategic growth. A few of my specialties: digital strategy, agile web application development, project management, human-centered design, design thinking, innovation & growth, digital government, career coaching, professional development.

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