1) Not Negotiating
…the overarching theme to successful job negotiations is to be respectful and reasonable at all times. Be sure to keep this guiding principle before you, and then jump in. There is some truth to the adage that you get half of what you ask for, and none of what you don’t.
2) Not preparing effectively for the job negotiation
…Preparation involves knowing your minimum needs and your alternatives to the negotiation (another offer in the wings, staying put at your current job, unemployment, etc.). In addition, you should do your homework and know a lot about the company, their business, and their style of negotiating (in part by talking to as many insiders as you can both before and during the interview process)…
3) Talking about numbers (that is, negotiating) too soon in the process
…don’t jump the gun by either putting your own numbers on the table first or by getting too far in the process without written confirmation of the details.
4) Paying too much attention to the base salary number at the expense of other issues
…Focus on a good balance between the long-term gains (career building, relationships and/or family needs) and short-term gains (salary, bonuses).
5) Not explaining why you want what you are requesting, and not framing it to seem fair
Remember that you will want to provide a rational justification for every one of your requests. Not only does it make you seem more reasonable, but it may help the hiring manager justify the concession to other inside the firm, or finding another way to meet the underlying interests.
6) Asking for too much “just to see”
Remember that the company you are dealing with is looking at you as a potential colleague in addition to negotiating your contract, so pay attention to the impression that you are making.
7) Missing details by not listening carefully or by getting overwhelmed
Make sure you place your full attention on everything the other side is saying, and are not thinking ahead to the next question you want to ask. Take a break from the negotiation any time you feel emotions getting the better of you, or feel your attention waning for any other reason.
8) Sending unclear signals
Remember that you are in sales from the moment you send your resume until the day you start the job. Part of what you need to sell is your enthusiasm for the job and the company. Don’t fall into the all-too-common trap of letting your negotiating nerves come across as indifference about the job.
9) Giving too much information to a headhunter or other intermediary
Two general strategies will help you use a headhunter most effectively: 1) as much as possible, proceed offer by offer without giving absolutes about where your actual cutoff values are (that is, the minimum you would take); and 2) maintain a direct line of communication with the hiring manager even when going through a headhunter. This way, there is a “backup” channel of communication in case things do not proceed smoothly through the headhunter.
10) Lying or misrepresenting yourself in any way
This strategy could work for you, but it could also backfire and have some pretty unpleasant consequences.
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
Join over 151,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.
TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A guide for women, men and bosses
Manterrupting: Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man.
Bropropriating: Taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it.
We all remember that moment back in 2009, when Kanye West lunged onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, and launched into a monologue. “I’m gonna let you finish,” he said as he interrupted Swift as she was accepting the award for best female video. “But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”
It was perhaps the most public example of the “manterruption” – that is, a man interrupting a woman while she’s trying to speak (in this case, on stage, by herself, as an award honoree) and taking over the floor. At the VMAs it might have counted as entertainment, but ask any woman in the working world and we all recognize the phenomenon. We speak up in a meeting, only to hear a man’s voice chime in louder. We pitch an idea, perhaps too uncertainly – only to have a dude repeat it with authority. We may possess the skill, but he has the right vocal cords – which means we shut up, losing our confidence (or worse, the credit for the work).
We might have thought we were just being paranoid. But thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton business school professor Adam Grant (a man!) we can feel just a little less crazy when we mentally replay those meetings gone wrong. In a new op-ed in the New York Times, they point out the perils of “speaking while female,” along with a bevy of new research to prove that no, this is not all in our heads. (Disclaimer: I edit special projects for Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, LeanIn.Org. Though I did not edit her Times op-ed.)
Sandberg and Grant cite research showing that powerful male Senators speak significantly more than their junior colleagues, while female Senators do not. That male executives who speak more often than their peers are deemed more competent (by 10%), while female executives who speak up are considered less (14% less). The data follows a long line of research showing that when it comes to the workplace, women speak less, are interrupted more, and have their ideas more harshly scrutinized.
“We’ve both seen it happen again and again,” Sandberg and Grant write. “When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea.”
My friends have come up with terminology for it: Manterrupting. Manstanding. (Or talk-blocking, if you want the gender-neutral version.)
And the result? Women hold back. That, or we relinquish credit altogether. Our ideas get co-opted (bro-opted), re-appropriated (bro-propriated?) — or they simply fizzle out. We shut down, become less creative, less engaged. We revert into ourselves, wondering if it’s actually our fault. Enter spiral of self-doubt.
But there are things we can do to stop that cycle: women, men, and even bosses.
Know That We’re All a Little Bit Sexist — and Correct for It
The reality is that we all exhibit what scholars call “unconscious bias” — ingrained prejudices we may not even know we have. (Don’t think you’re among the culprits? Take this Implicit Association Test to be proved wrong.) When it comes to women, that bias is the result of decades of history; we’ve been taught that men lead and women nurture. So when women exhibit male traits – you know, decision-making, authority, leadership – we often dislike them, while men who exhibit those same traits are frequently deemed strong, masculine, and competent. It’s not only men who exhibit this bias, it’s women too: as one recent study found, it’s not just men who interrupt women more at work — it’s women too. But acknowledging that bias is an important step toward correcting for it.
Establish a No-Kanye Rule (Or Any Interruption, for That Matter)
When Glen Mazarra, a showrunner at The Shield, an FX TV drama from the early 2000s, noticed that his female writers weren’t speaking up in the writer’s room – or that when they did, they were interrupted and their ideas overtaken — he instituted a no-interruption policy while writers (male or female) were pitching. “It worked, and he later observed that it made the entire team more effective,” Sandberg and Grant wrote.
Practice Bystander Intervention
Seriously, stop an interrupter in his (or her) tracks. Nudge him, elbow him, or simply speak up to say, “Wait, let her finish,” or “Hey, I want to hear what Jess is saying.” The words are your choice — but don’t stay silent.
Create a Buddy System With a Friend
Or, better yet, if you’re a woman, create a buddy system with a friend who is a dude. Ask him to nod and look interested when you speak (when he’s interested, of course). Let him to back you up publicly in meetings. Seriously, try it. It’s not fair, no. But dammit, it works.
Support Your (Female) Colleagues
If you hear an idea from a woman that you think is good, back her up. You’ll have more of an effect than you think and you’ll establish yourself as a team player too.
Give Credit Where It’s Due
Yes, everyone wants credit for a good idea. But research shows that giving credit where it’s due will actually make you look better (as well as the person with the idea).
Women: Practice Assertive Body Language
Sit at the table, point to someone, stand up, walk to the front of the room, place your hand on the table — whatever it takes. Not only do these high-power poses make you appear more authoritative, but they actually increase your testosterone levels – and thus, your confidence. In some cases, it may actually help to literally “lean in”: in one study, researchers found that men physically lean in more often than women in professional meetings, making them less likely to be interrupted. Women more often leaned away — and were more likely to be interrupted.
… And Own Your Voice
Don’t undermine your authority with “I’m not sure if this is right, but—.” Speak authoritatively. Avoid the baby voice (leadership and authority are associated with the deep masculine voice, not with a softer, higher pitched tone). And please, whatever you do, don’t apologize before you speak.
Support Companies With Women in Power
We know that companies with more women on their corporate boards have higher outcomes and better returns. Teams with more diverse members perform better too. But having more women in power may actually encourage women to bring their ideas forward. In one study cited by Sandberg and Grant, researchers looked at the employees of a credit union where women made up 74% of supervisors and 84% of front-line employees. Shocker: women here were more likely to speak up, and be heard.
If all else fails, you can always learn how to talk really, really loud.
Jessica Bennett is a contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of gender, sexuality, business and pop culture. She writes regularly for the New York Times and is a contributing editor on special projects for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett.
Read next: A Better Feminism for 2015
Make a weekly appointment to go over your notes
“Write this down—it’s going to be on the final exam,” said no boss ever.
Note-taking is an unsung challenge of moving from school to the workplace—we’re in a completely new environment, with totally different reasons for note-taking and different needs for how we’ll use our notes later on, yet most of us are relying on the methods we used in our high school history class.
And while it’s rare that anyone will lose a job for not taking notes on something, the small, ongoing effect of bad notes (or skipping notes completely) can really hurt your career. How many times have you had to email your boss, a colleague, or a client asking a question about something she talked about in a meeting the other day because you forgot it? That’s hurting that relationship—not to mention everyone’s productivity. (Side note: Here are a few more things that bosses really don’t like.)
On the flip side, taking notes is an incredible way to show respect to people. It shows you’re listening and that you think what they are saying is important. Your notes serve as your guide to doing your job better, too; you can easily refer to the important information you need to succeed whenever you need it, without delay.
And a secret bonus, taking notes actually makes you smarter. When you have a collection of thorough, thoughtful notes all in one place (that you actually revisit from time to time), you start to see connections between things you otherwise wouldn’t have seen and have information that other people don’t retain. This is how you’ll get great ideas, form new connections, and become the kind of innovator and leader who makes things really happen on your team.
All in all, taking notes is a really subtle, but powerful, way to make yourself more successful—but very few of us get any guidance on how to transition our note-taking style to work at work. That’s why today I want to share with you a quick-start guide to taking amazing notes in your professional life.
1. Know When to Take Notes at Work
Not every situation at work calls for note-taking, but there are certainly times when I would highly recommend pulling out your pen and paper. In general, my advice is always to err on the side of taking notes and just decide later whether or not you need to keep them, but here are some of the key times when you’ll want to jot some things down:
Whether you’re the boss or the employee, taking notes shows you’re taking the time seriously. It’s also a good time to make note of personal details like your manager’s spouse’s name, which is good stuff to remember to help you form a more meaningful relationship with people at work.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what’s going on during a big brainstorming or problem-solving session that you actually don’t retain anything when you walk out of the room. Make a point to take notes, even if you’re participating a lot, to ensure you hold on to critical information.
Bringing a notebook is always a good idea so you can record every detail a client or customer needs. Better to have too much information and pare it down later than to miss out on something really important.
Meetings With Your Mentors or Contacts
Even a simple coffee meeting should be recorded. Show the person you value his or her time and expertise by writing it down; plus, if this is a rare meeting, you’ll want to make sure you remember everything since you might not get time with this person again soon. You can also use your notes to follow up in a more meaningful way—like sending a valuable link or article related to something you discussed in your meeting.
2. Find a Note-Taking Style You Love
There are no rules when it comes to how you take your notes. There’s no proof that any style works any better than another style—the best kind of notes are the ones that will make sense to you later, whatever they look like.
Here are a few of the most popular note-taking styles that you can try out to find what works for you.
This is the most traditional kind of note-taking. You start at the top of the page with the main meeting topic, and then continue your list down with sub-heads as other topics come up.
Leave space between sub-heads as you go, since the meeting may circle back to a topic (or you may have questions or new ideas you want to record), and you will want to have space to add information without making your list sloppy or confusing.
You can also create headings for things like action items, to-dos, decisions made, and any important resources or tools you need to hold onto, so you can have a really actionable list to refer to later on.
If you’re a visual thinker, try a mind map. Start by writing the topic of the meeting at the center of the page. From there, draw branches out to every key topic discussed.
For example, you might write “Kickstarter launch” at the center of your page, and then draw branches out for topics like “press outreach” and “launch day timeline.” Continue drawing branches out for subtopics (getting increasingly detailed), and at the end you’ll have a visual representation of the meeting’s most important points.
A Trail of Breadcrumbs
This is the most intensive form of note-taking, but it’s incredibly effective. When you employ this strategy, take notes as if you are going to give them to someone who wasn’t there in the meeting.
Write down every topic as it comes up, and then record every point raised related to that topic. You don’t have to write every word that’s said; use short phrases, and pay special attention to things like specific tools or resources.
This is a great strategy for people who get anxious during meetings, since it’s keeps your hands busy. As long as you make eye contact from time to time, no one will mind you taking such thorough notes.
3. Organize Your Notes So You Can Revisit Them Later (and Become Amazing)
One of the biggest struggles people have with note-taking is keeping their notes organized in a way that they can actually revisit in a valuable way later. Note-taking on its own isn’t enough to improve retention or understanding—you have to actually revisit your notes and cement the information in your mind in order to make it valuable.
This means that if your notes are all over the place or completely disorganized, you might as well not be taking them at all. Here are some of the best ways to keep your notes organized and to make the time you spend with them truly valuable for moving your career forward.
Always Keep Your Notes in the Same Place
The easiest way to keep your notes organized is to keep them in one place. No more typing some things into a Google doc and keeping a random pile of sticky notes on your desk. While there are many options for this, paper is ideal so that you’re not keeping a screen in between you and the person you’re meeting with.Plus, actually writing things out with your hand helps with retention.
So, invest in a notebook—one that you love, that you’ll take with you everywhere, and that has the versatility you need for the many situations you’ll need to take notes in.
Keep the Same Format
Above, we went over three of the top note-taking styles that work well for professional settings. Find the style that works for you and stick with it; this will make skimming over your notes later much easier.
Whichever style you choose, write critical information at the top of every page—the date, meeting attendees, and meeting topic on every page of notes that relates to that meeting—so it’s easy to track.
Make a Weekly Appointment to Go Over Your Notes
It’s hard to find time to revisit your notes, even if you want to, with the constant stream of things that demand your attention and are a higher priority every week. So set a recurring meeting on your calendar to go over your notes once a week. Even 15 minutes is enough time to look at what you recorded.
When you go over your notes, write down any questions you have or any open issues that still need to be resolved. This is also a good time to prepare for any upcoming meetings you have. Write down questions you want to make sure get answered or any important information you think you’ll need to have on-hand.
How much more could you accomplish if you always had the right answer at your fingertips? Consistency is the key to success; the more small, good habits (like great note-taking) that you can develop, the more you’ll be able to grow every single day. This week, try taking notes in every meeting and see if it makes it any easier to have good ideas fast or to get more done.
More from the Muse:
Money's career expert Donna Rosato explains when and how it might be a good idea.
Talk to a guy before you name your number in salary negotiations.
This is the fifth in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.
The latest Census data shows that women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by our male counterparts. You’d think we’d be livid.
But in fact, while many of us are angry about this inequity in a general sense, several studies have shown that women are not all that upset about being underpaid on an individual basis. The research shows that women report the same levels of satisfaction with pay as their better-paid male colleagues, even when controlled for occupation and position in the food chain.
Academics call this (frankly depressing) phenomenon “the paradox of the contented female worker.”
Those in the ivory tower have been attempting to explain this since social psychologist Faye Crosby coined the term some 40 years ago. But one recent study of Texas attorneys published in the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal offers a plausible—and interesting—explanation.
Survey participants tended to base satisfaction with their salaries on the salaries of those people who were similar and proximate, says the study’s author H. Kristl Davison, an assistant professor of management at the University of Mississippi. “So essentially what happens,” she says, “is that women choose other women who are also lower paid as references and then end up with a lower sense of entitlement to more money.”
In other words, we are undervaluing our work because other women are undervaluing their work. And so the vicious underpayment cycle continues…
So how do you break that cycle, at least where your own lovely pocketbook is concerned?
The clearest implication of the study is this: When setting your expectation for pay for a job, don’t base your desired number on anecdotal evidence from your female peers.
Instead, start by gathering data from sites like Payscale to find out the average pay for the field, position, and location, regardless of gender. But—since women’s lower pay will be figured into these averages—also ask higher-level men in your field for their input.
“Asking male mentors can be very advantageous,” says Davison, “because it offers the perspective on what males are paid and because males talk about pay more than women do.”
You could say something like, “Bob, I’m going for this job as associate marketing director at a Fortune 500 company and they’re asking me for my salary requirements. I’m not sure what to say for that size of a company and wondered if you had any thoughts?”
(While mentioning a figure can help anchor the conversation in actual negotiations, avoid doing so here, since what you want is the other person’s uninfluenced opinion.)
And then when the interviewer asks for your salary expectation, you can say, “It’s my understanding from my research that jobs of this level pay in the neighborhood of $96,500,” or “I consulted my former boss Bob Smith, who’s now a V.P. at your competitor Quadroodle, and he told me the going rate is $96,500.”
(Note: Using a specific the number can make you sound more authoritative—so avoid rounding off too much.)
In a world where women all too often punished for being too assertive in salary negotiations, framing your argument around benchmark numbers and using a high-level ally to bolster your case can help you walk away with more money and your likeability in tact.
And that is the ultimate glass-ceiling breakthrough.
More from this series on Money.com:]
- The 10 Commandments of Salary Negotiation
- How to Tell If Now Is a Good Time to Ask for a Raise
- The Best Answer to the Question, “What Are Your Salary Requirements?”
- The Ultimate Millennial’s Guide to Negotiating Salary
More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:
If you're itching for a career change in 2015, here are some fast-growing, high-paying options that have yet to hit the mainstream.
Good news, job seekers: employment opportunities look bright in 2015. Staffing levels are expected to rise 19%, according to ManpowerGroup’s annual Employment Outlook Survey. Robust hiring gains are forecast for the “usual suspects,” says Payscale.com’s vice president Tim Low—namely retail, healthcare, and technology. But peel back those broad categories, and you’ll uncover high demand for unique talents and skill sets and a bunch of new jobs you may not even know existed.
“As we shift away from conventional jobs and move forward into the information economy, there are a growing number of opportunities for workers to transfer skills in seemingly unrelated fields,” says Stephanie Thomas, researcher and program director at the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University.
Additionally, job titles are becoming more diverse, says Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst at Glassdoor, an employer review website. “Employers are looking for innovative ways to do business and are therefore [allocating money] to brand-new positions,” he says.
So if you’re itching for a change in 2015, here are some ways to break into these high-paying, still-under-the-radar careers—all of which are growing at a rate far greater than the 11% national average.
1. If you’re an: executive assistant or medical administrator, consider becoming a… NUCLEAR MEDICINE TECHNOLOGIST
What it is: Don’t let the title scare you off; the position only calls for a degree from an accredited program, so no med school required. This health care professional operates specialized equipment including computed tomography (CT) scanners, gamma cameras, positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, and other imaging tools that physicians and surgeons use to diagnose conditions and plan treatments.
How your skills translate: Attention to detail and good interpersonal skills—already at the heart of your current job—are crucial. Nuclear medicine technologists must follow instructions to the letter when operating equipment; even a minor error can result in overexposure to radiation. A background in math and/or science is a plus.
Why it’s growing: “Jobs are developing rapidly at the intersection of health care and technology,” says John Reed, senior executive director at IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology.
Education requirements: 2-year associate’s degree and 1- to 4-year accreditation program. For more information on requirements, check out the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), or use this state-by-state map for a list of accredited programs in your region.
Average salary: $71,120
Projected job growth through 2022: 20%
2. If you’re a mechanic, handyman, or computer repairer, consider becoming a… MEDICAL EQUIPMENT REPAIRER
What it is: Someone who installs, maintains, and repairs patient care equipment. However, given the sensitive nature of medical technology, specialized repair skills are required. These can be obtained through an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering; workers who operate less-complicated equipment (e.g., hospital beds and electric wheelchairs), meanwhile, can typically learn entirely on the job.
How your skills translate: Troubleshooting, dexterity, analytical thinking, and technical expertise—skills already in your toolbox—make for an efficient medical equipment repairer.
Why it’s growing: The increasing demand for health care services assures rapid growth for this specialty.
Education requirements: Typically a 2-year degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering. Go here for information about obtaining a certification for Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET).
Average salary: $44,180
Projected job growth through 2022: 30%
3. If you’re an IT specialist, computer programmer, or Web developer, consider becoming a… DIGITAL RISK OFFICER
What it is: To prevent data breaches—and better protect sensitive client and customer information—employers are beefing up their cyber security forces. A digital risk officer proactively assesses risks and implements security measures.
Why it’s growing: Recent hacks at Sony, Target, and Home Depot have put more companies on high alert. “Regardless of industry or size, if you have sensitive client information, you have to look carefully at what your security threats are,” says Cornell’s Thomas.
How your skills translate: Your analytical mindset, computer savvy, and problem-solving skills apply to the core responsibility of a digital risk officer: outthinking cybercriminals.
Education requirements: 2- or 4-year degree in IT and digital analytics certification. You’ll likely start as an information security analyst and need to complete a risk assessment training program as well.
Average salary: $153,602 for a chief risk officer, according to Payscale estimates.
Projected job growth: The field is so new that specific data isn’t available, but by 2017, one-third of large employers with a digital component will employ a digital risk officer, reports IT research firm Gartner.
4. If you’re a nutritionist, rehabilitation counselor, or athletic trainer, consider becoming a… HEALTH-AND-WELLNESS EDUCATOR
What it is: Previously outsourced, many companies are now hiring in-house specialists to offer health-and-wellness advice and services, says Brie Reynolds, director of online content at FlexJobs.com, which saw a spike in job postings for this position. The educator works with employees individually to assess personal health issues and create strategies tailored to each person’s needs.
Why it’s growing. Health improvements made by employees not only curb insurance costs but also boost job satisfaction, a key ingredient to retaining talent. Some employers are tying financial incentives to health-and-wellness achievements—discounting health insurance premiums for employees who lose weight, quit smoking, or lower blood pressure, among other behavioral changes.
How your skills translate: Pure and simple, you’re a “people person.” Your ability to connect with individuals and motivate them to make behavioral changes will come in handy when promoting healthy living strategies to workers.
Education requirements: 4-year degree and health education specialist certification. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing has information on requirements and eligibility.
Average salary: $62,280
Projected job growth through 2022: 21%
5. If you’re a management consultant, consider becoming an… INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST
What it is: Companies hire industrial-organizational psychologists to improve work performance, job satisfaction, and skills training. This person is responsible for managing and developing a range of programs, including hiring systems, performance measurement, and health-and-safety policies.
How your skills translate: Your ability to assess an organization’s structural efficiency will serve you well in your new job. Like you, an industrial-organizational psychologist must work well with corporate clients to identify areas for improvement and increased profitability.
Why it’s growing: While not new, this lesser-known job tops the BLS’s list of the fastest-growing occupations. Chalk it up to its track record of success; surveys show the position effectively boosts work performance and improves employee retention rates.
Education requirements: Master’s degree. Check out Careers in Psychology for more information.
Average salary: $80,330
Projected job growth through 2022: 53%
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the equipment that nuclear medicine technologists can operate. They can operate CT and PET scanners but require additional certification to operate MRI equipment.
Emily Hughes may not have placed first at the Olympics like her big sis Sarah, but she’s quickly on the rise in Silicon Valley
Nine years ago, Emily Hughes was at the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, Italy, skating before millions of TV viewers. Today, Hughes is in the trenches at Google working on Google Fiber, the company’s ambitious ultra-high-speed Internet initiative.
This 25-year-old former Olympian joined Google as a business analyst in November, and it was her love of competition – and an extraordinary tolerance for risk-taking and failure – that helped her land the job.
“I think in sports in general, there’s a lot of transferable skills that you can bring to the workplace,” says Hughes, who moved from Great Neck, N.Y., to San Francisco to begin her new gig at Google’s Mountain View offices. “In skating, every day, you fall and you have to get up. And falling is a pretty obvious failure. I’ve definitely learned from everything I’ve failed at.”
As you may recall from the 2002 Winter Olympics, Emily Hughes is the younger sister of Sarah Hughes, the world champion skater who copped the Gold in 2002.
“I remember, I was 12 or 13 when Sarah won,” Emily says. “Every day, I saw her go to the rink, I saw her train and I thought, ‘I think I could do that too.’”
But the road to fame was a lot harder for Emily than it was for her older sister. In 2001, at age 12, she competed in the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, but then a couple of years later, Emily failed to make the U.S. team. In 2006, she was the first alternate to the Winter Olympics, and after Michelle Kwan withdrew due to a groin injury, she was named to the team. But she finished seventh overall.
Amidst injuries and illnesses, her ambition never waned. Hughes went on to Harvard, and in her junior year, she decided to take a semester off to train for the 2010 Olympics. She failed to qualify.
“When I didn’t make the Olympic team, yes, that was a failure in a sense, but there were so many other things that I’ve accomplished because of it,” she says. For example, she had more time to join organizations such as Harvard’s “Women in Business” club and take on leadership positions on campus.
Her setbacks, she admits, also forced her to think to herself: “What is the bigger picture?”
After Harvard, Hughes worked at Deloitte Consulting and the International Olympic Committee, but she never found her true calling. Then last year, a friend who worked at Google told her about life at the Internet giant, and Hughes was intrigued. Google Fiber delivers broadband service at 100 times what Internet users are accustomed to. The service first launched in Kansas City, Mo., in 2012 and now operates in Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, as well.
“Every time I talked to her, she just raved about Google’s culture and her work,” Emily says, referring to her friend. “Before that, I hadn’t really thought about working at Google. I used Google every day, but it wasn’t something that I ever thought, ‘Oh I could go work there.’”
Her friend passed on some information about Google Fiber, and she applied. Clearing a first-round interview, Hughes went through six hours of on-site back-to-back interviews, with only a lunch break– not unlike the times she used to scramble to find time for lunch in a jam-packed training day.
Certainly, Hughes possesses the most critical quality that Google seeks in its employees. “The No. 1 thing that you look for is passion,” says Jonathan Rosenberg, who wrote the best-selling How Google Works with Google chairman Eric Schmidt. “You want the kind of person who is constantly learning.” Google’s career website notes that the company looks for people who can show they’ve “flexed different muscles in different situations in order to mobilize a team.”
Flexing different muscles — well, Hughes is a pro at that. “With skating, constantly being corrected and told how to do something differently has helped me take constructive feedback better,” she says.
Hughes is simply the latest in a lineup of former Olympians working at Google. The company claims to employ at least 10. Athletes, in general, appeal to the Googlers who do the hiring because a sports background teaches you to handle criticism and adapt.
Game Theory Group CEO Vincent McCaffrey, who helps companies recruit student-athletes, doesn’t know the Hughes sisters, but he theorizes: “I would imagine Emily and Sarah have probably received a ton of feedback in their life — some of it very direct and even harsh. Employers want to hire young people who are able to take constructive criticism well.”
Global services firm EY has studied the link between sports and leadership in the C-suite. In a 2014 global survey of 400 female executives, EY found that 52% played sports at the university level. Those women, like Emily and Sarah Hughes, honed their time management skills while juggling schoolwork and training — an excellent path to consistent overachievement.
Indeed, growing up in Great Neck, Emily and her five siblings (Rebecca, David, Matthew, Sarah and the youngest girl, Taylor) were all overachievers. All six participated in figure skating or ice hockey.
Emily and Sarah credit their father for getting them into skating. John Hughes is a Toronto-born lawyer who played hockey for Cornell University and was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Emily recalls her mom, Amy, lining up all six kids in age order (Emily is second-youngest) and tying their skates at the community ice rink. Emily and Sarah, who started skating when they were about three years old, are different in personality — Sarah is gregarious with a big presence, while Emily is reserved and quietly personable — but as children, they were both “competitive in our own way,” as Emily puts it.
When 12-year-old Emily stood in the stands and cheered on her big sister for a Gold medal in Salt Lake City, she knew she wanted her own shot to skate on Olympic ice. “After that, I was like, ‘I want to be an Olympian too,” she recalls, adding, “A little bit easier said than done.”
Randy Appell, her chemistry and biology teacher at Great Neck High School, recalls teenage Emily dealing with her high-stress position. “The fact that her older sister had already won the Olympic Gold must’ve put an extreme amount of pressure on her. She may have felt it, but she never let it show.”
Sarah’s Olympic stardom landed her on the cover of TIME Magazine, and when Emily was heading to Turin four years later, she was cast as America’s great hope —another Hughes champion-in-the-making.
Her seventh-place finish at the Olympics that year was disappointing, but it was not the thing that would define Emily Hughes. She had other assets — her brain and her passion to succeed — to fall back on. She remembers her dad always emphasizing that she is a “student-athlete” and that “student” always comes first. Her parents never gave her or Sarah breaks on studying, even when they were training five hours a day. And given the choice to enroll in the regular chemistry class or an honors course, Appell recalls, Emily insisted she take the advanced class.
“I always brought my books everywhere,” she says. “I was going to every competition lugging this backpack around, or you know, doing homework in the car on the way to the rink. It was always important to keep my grades up.”
As for Sarah, who is now 29, she found a new path from the Olympics too. She’s executive vice president of business development at the Kingsbridge Ice Center, a $350 million project to build the world’s largest ice skating complex in the Bronx.
Both sisters refuse to have one-dimensional careers.“I was always impressed by how tough Emily was when we were younger,” Sarah says. “She would kill herself working, working, working, but somehow, she always found some time to have fun.”
“To accomplish big meaningful things,” Sarah adds, “you need to be focused but allow enough distractions to make it a fun and worthwhile journey.”
Resolved to increase your pay in 2015? These steps can help you scoop up a better-than-average bump.
A few years ago, you might have been grateful just to have a paycheck—even if it wasn’t as fat as you deserved. Today, you finally have the upper hand again when it comes to asking for a raise.
You can thank the rapid improvement in the job market in the last year for that. Unemployment is expected to drop to 5.4% by the end of this year, and 57% of companies say they are worried about retaining workers, up from 20% in 2010, according to PayScale.com’s Compensation Best Practices Report.
That’s putting pressure on employers to boost compensation: 82% plan to increase salaries for current employees this year, up from 73% last year, according to CareerBuilder’s latest jobs forecast.
“Workers should be feeling pretty good about their chances for getting a raise this year,” says CareerBuilder’s Mary Lorenz. Music to your ears, right?
The average worker should see a salary bump of 3%, according to estimations from Mercer’s 2014/2015 U.S. Compensation Planning Executive Survey. But those who are top performers or have in-demand expertise could see their paychecks rise even more. The average boost for the most valued employees will top 5%, according to Mercer.
To go from a so-so raise to a big bump up, here’s what you need to do:
Get on Your Boss’s Calendar
Don’t wait until performance-review time, typically in the spring, to ask for a raise. Not only will you have more competition from coworkers then, but budgets will already have been decided—which will make it harder for your supervisor to get you more cash even if he or she believes in your cause.
Assuming you and your company have had a good year—the latter also being a must—schedule a meeting with your supervisor ASAP before your window for the year closes.
Sure, even the most confident of workers may find it intimidating to call a meeting with the boss and ask for more money. But the odds are good that your boldness will pay off: A recent PayScale survey found that 44% of people who asked for a raise received what they asked for, and 31% more still got a raise, just less than they requested.
Collect Some Evidence
In the meantime, to help make your case, gather accolades from the past year.
Pull together emails of praise from higher ups, ask happy customers or clients to write testimonials for your work, and make a list of your major accomplishments, quantifying them as much as possible. Bottom-line-focused supervisors will especially want to hear about how you’ve boosted revenue or cut costs.
Put a Number On Yourself
“It’s important to go in with a number in mind,” says CareerBuilder’s Lorenz. “You should know your value and be able to go in with an idea of what you think you deserve and be ready to explain why.”
Your ask should be based around what others are getting, since you’ll shut down the conversation fast if you request a boost that’s out of the ballpark.
Start by seeing where your salary falls compared to others in similar jobs with the same skill set and years of experience, using sites such as PayScale.com and Glassdoor.com. Keep in mind that top performers may earn 10% to 15% more than these averages.
Put your findings in perspective by determining what’s realistic at your company. If you have a manager you’re close with, a higher up mentor, or a friend in HR, ask for insight on salary ranges for people at your level or on how much the company is budgeting for raises this year on average. If you’re a top performer and can prove it, you should feel comfortable asking for more than the average.
Make Your Ask
You’ve got your proof and your number, so you’re ready, right? Not quite. Ideally, you’ll want to do a run through of the conversation with someone, since practice will make you more comfortable when you’re in the moment.
You might start the conversation something like this: “Hey Jane, my department had a really great year in 2014, and I was hoping to get your feedback, talk about ideas going forward, and discuss my compensation.”
Then, dig into your successes. Since your boss may not realize all that you’ve accomplished, you should make him or her aware by pointing out a few key highlights from the “to-done” list you made. You could say, “I don’t know if you’re in the loop on everything I’ve accomplished this year, so I just wanted to point out of few of my biggest successes…” Bring up the testimonials where relevant.
Talk not only about your achievements but also about what you are going to tackle next. Your boss is more likely to reward you if you’ve got a plan for what you will do for the company, not just what you did.
Have a Plan B
The best outcome is a permanent boost in your salary. But if that’s not possible, ask for a bonus. One-time rewards, including spot bonuses and project completion bonuses, are on the rise as more companies worry about retaining employees, the WorldatWork Survey of Bonus Programs and Practices 2014 found.
Spot bonuses typically range from $2,500 to $5,000.
Be aware that income taxes can lop off up to 40% of the bonus, so ask if your company will “gross up” the reward so you actually get the whole amount.
Be Ready to Jump
You’re not always going to get what you want. If budgets are tight or layoffs are looming, your manager’s hands may be tied.
So you may have to leave to get that raise. But the good news for you is that even in good times, the biggest pay jumps come when you switch to a new job.
Job switchers simply have more leverage when negotiating salary, especially since the number of employees voluntarily quitting is at its highest since April 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quits rate measure.
That leaves employers with a lot of empty positions to fill, and they are showing their eagerness to put bodies in these slots: The average wage growth for job changers rose from 4.3% at the start of 2013 to 4.5% at the end of 2014, according to a report by the Kansas City Federal Reserve.
So whether you stay or go, the chances are good that you’ll make more money in 2015.
More on financial resolutions:
Your boss's decision to grant—or deny—your request could be influenced by a lot more than your performance.
Perhaps you’ve resolved to make 2015 the year that you finally get a big bump up in pay.
If so, you’ll first have to clear the biggest hurdle standing in your way: You.
Less than half of working Americans ever even ask for a raise and close to 30% are uncomfortable negotiating salary, according to a new study by Payscale.
It may help you feel more confident to go after what you want if you know the odds are generally in your favor. Of people who have put themselves out there to request better compensation, three quarters saw their paychecks go up: 44% received the amount they asked for and 31% got an amount that was less than they asked for. (Hey, that’s still something!)
That Payscale study also broke down the likelihood that those who ask shall receive based on annual salary, job, degree level, college major and state of residency.
You’ll have the best shot if you…
Once again, it’s good to be rich. The higher your annual salary, the more likely you are to have asked for a raise and the more likely you are to have received the raise you requested.
Individuals earning $150,000 or more a year were the most likely to see their employer match the exact raise they requested, with a 70% success rate. Only 8% of these high-earners saw their request for a raise go unfulfilled.
Meanwhile, only 25% of those earning between $10,000 and $20,000 saw their incomes increase by the amount they asked for, while 51% had their request for a pay raise denied entirely.
Somewhere in the middle? The good news is that if your annual income tops $70,000, you have at least a 50% chance of getting the pay raise you request.
Unsurprisingly, those who work in higher-paying jobs also have a better shot at having their compensation wishes granted.
Chief executives were 76% successful in getting the exact pay raises they wanted. First-line supervisors in the construction trades had their requests granted 62% of the time. Other high-wager earners such as financial analysts and electrical engineers rounded out the top five professions most likely to receive a requested raise.
Those with jobs that commanded lower annual salaries tended to have their requests for raises denied more frequently. Nursing aides and orderlies have the worst chance of getting the raise they want followed by security guards and cashiers. Below are the top five and bottom five occupations for getting a wage increase.
While the level of education a person has obtained didn’t have much impact on their willingness to ask for a raise, it did affect the likelihood that their wish would be granted.
Those with post-graduate degrees were most likely to be successful in their requests, though success rates were highest for those with an M.B.A. (55%) and a law degree (59%).
Go figure that attorneys are good at negotiation.
Surprisingly, English language and/or English literature majors were the most likely to have asked for a raise (51%)—call it their way with words. Their requests paid off 49% of the time.
Those who studied public administration and social services were the most lucky in terms of receiving, getting what they wanted 56% of the time
Those whose college majors tended to land them jobs in the public sector, such as homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and other protective services were least likely to have asked for a raise—perhaps because these jobs typically have set pay structures. Workers who came from these majors who did ask were only met with a yes 18% of the time, giving them the lowest success rate.
Alaska residents are the most likely to push for a raise, with 53% of the population having requested one (and they’ll need it to offset those heating bills). Residents of Rhode Island come in second with 51%, followed by Oregonians and West Virginians, with 48%. Dwellers of Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Idaho tied for fifth with 47% advocating for a raise.
South Dakotans were least likely to ask for a pay increase, (31%), followed by residents of Arkansas (34%), Nevada (37%) and Nebraska (37%).
Alaskans’ assertiveness pays off, apparently, as they are also the state residents most likely to receive the pay increase requested. Delawareans were the least successful in their requests with only 32% getting the amount they were after. Below are the top six and worst six states for getting a raise request approved:
More from this series on Money.com: