Y’all. I feel like I need to re-introduce myself. It has been a hot minute since I sat down to write something for y’all and I am sorry! Life has been non-stop for the last month for me and maintaining the blog has been on serious pause. On top of full work weeks, I have either been on the road or I have had people in town every weekend. Just this last weekend I had my lil bro, bestie from Hendo, her boyfriend and their dog all up in my house. It was GLORIOUS. Chaotic. But GLORIOUS. I am now getting ready to leave for Charlotte on Friday to go shower J with lots of bridal love!! Her Mom is throwing a Bridal Brunch (aka an excuse for all of us to get day drunk on mimosas. OH HAPPY DAY!). J texted me yesterday to tell me that her Mom ordered TWENTY. BOTTLES. OF CHAMPAGNE.
We will have a full recap of the weekend at the beginning of next week but make sure you follow us on insta so you can keep up with the shenanigans that are bound to happen this weekend!
So… I am going to switch gears for this post. Recently I have been discussing the happenings of my love life. Well… it is challenging to discuss the happenings when there are no happenings. For real. I have not gone on or even thought about going on a date over the last two months. Kind of hard to plan things when you’re never here on the weekends.
Instead, I am going to talk about my job and the fact that I have my annual review at work next month. Just the words “annual review” make me feel so many nerves. Honestly, I should not feel nervous because my boss kicks ass. My review last year was an absolute breeze. You know what he said?
“I only have one thing for you and that is you can never leave.”
UMM AIGHT. Easiest review EVER.
Have annual reviews always been this easy for me? HECK NO. In my first job, I did not like my boss and he did not like me. My review got re-scheduled at least 5x and when we finally had it, I only got a .75 cent raise. I was like “cool. thanks???”
I take a lot of pride in how I prepare leading up to an annual review. I like to have at least 5 questions ready to go with the most important ones being:
What am I doing well? What can I improve on?
This year’s review is going to be a little different for me as I have a number of topics I want to discuss with my boss. A lot has happened over the last year, some good and some bad. I can give specifics for all the “bad” pieces and I do think they need to be brought to his attention but in a constructive way. Unfortunately, sexism is still alive and well in the workplace and I have experienced more than I ever thought I would over the last year. As women, how do you respond to this when it happens in the moment? Of course we want to stand up for ourselves but how do you do that professionally and in front of your boss? Here’s a story for you:
In December of last year, I scheduled a meeting with some people we work with to discuss a current project. My boss was going to be late due to a scheduling conflict and I honestly thought the discussion would be light until he arrived. Boy was I wrong. One of our sales guys biz partners asked me a question that completely caught me off guard. I do not want to go into too many details about the question due to a NDA (non-disclosure agreement). I told him that I would need to speak to my boss about it and he dropped it so I thought that door was temporarily closed. Well, it immediately re-opened when our other sales guy sat down. As soon as I heard that “I needed time to think about it/talk to my boss” he slammed his fist on the table and started berating me. He told me that we don’t have time to think about it and that a decision needs to be made now.
One of my consultants stepped in to try and be the mediator because he saw the sheer look of panic on my face. I couldn’t even reply to this guy without tears welling up in my eyes. The sales guy would not let it go and just pounded me with questions and made some real jerk remarks to me. Thankfully my boss showed up and my consultant immediately pulled me to another table and told me to breathe. My face was beat red. My eyes were glazed over with tears wanting to fall. My boss had no clue this happened because the sales guy’s demeanor changed the second my boss showed up. My boss thought that me and the consultant were discussing other projects. Once this meeting was over, WE ALL WENT TO LUNCH TOGETHER. I sat at the end of the table and the only time I spoke was when I ordered my food. I got a great salad but I could not eat a single bite. I was so upset at how I was just blatantly and in my opinion, strategically, attacked. My boss could sense something was off. After lunch I got into my car, called my Dad and immediately started crying. I have not cried that hard in a very long time. My Dad told me to talk to my boss but not to cry. At first I was like ok I can get myself together enough to not cry because they always say “not to cry at work”. UGH EYE ROLL. But I thought about how many instances where our sales guy has made a sexist remark to me or degraded me because he thinks I am just an “assistant” and I told myself it was time for my boss to understand how much he has affected me. I asked my boss to meet and I cried. I cried in front of him, I told him what happened, I asked him to limit my role with the sales guy as much as possible and that I will be more diligent in pointing out the remarks in the moment. I now keep a journal and anytime he makes a remark, I jot it down so I have proof.
Talking about the sales guy will not be necessary during my annual review BUT he has caused me to shift my thinking. I sought out a mentor. I am reading female personal development books. I know this guy will NOT adapt to me so I need to adapt in a stronger, more powerful and professional way. Complaining about him is not going to change anything so I need to focus on what I can change and that is my workplace demeanor around him.
Because of all this crap with our sales guy, I plan on asking for a title change during my review. My current title is “Client Services” and I rock the shit out of this aspect of my job but holy cow do I handle way more than this. Client Services is maybe 20% of my job. Still a large percent but after some reflection with my DC bestie, she pointed out that my title may be steering people to think that I am solely customer service which leads people to think that my ideas and suggestions don’t mean as much. Harsh, right? But it is the truth. This has been one of my struggles over the last year. I know my ish and I do a damn good job at it but the way I am being presented and framed to others is more of someone they have to DEAL with instead of someone they have to WORK with. When my DC bestie said this to me, the light bulb went off in my head.
As a young, attractive, smart female in a male dominated field, it is really challenging for me to hold my own and gain the respect I deserve. I have sought out help and guidance from three different badass females that I know here in Wilm. I am so appreciative that they take time out of their busy schedules to help me navigate these murky and sometimes sexist waters. They all agree that a title change to something like “Project Coordinator” or “Project Manager” would definitely help me.
An annual review is not an opportunity for you to vent. It is an opportunity for you to talk about what has happened and be pro-active about fixing them.
Here are my tips for having a good Annual Review
TIP #1: If your company does not have an Annual Review form, create one for yourself that includes notes from the last year, questions and talking points
TIP #2: Ask GOOD questions/have at least 5 questions on your sheet
THE WRONG WAY
“OMG. Bob is such an asshole. I can’t work with him. What am I supposed to do?”
THE RIGHT WAY
“I find myself struggling to get the details I need from Bob. Do you have any insight on how I can communicate more effectively with him in order to get what I need for certain projects?”
TIP #3: research the average salary of someone in your position and bring the research with you to your meeting. If you are below the average, pitch to make the average price or higher so you can negotiate down.
TIP #4: actively listen. do not sit there while your boss is talking and think about the next question on your sheet because she/he might be answering it for you without you even asking!
TIP #5: highlight your accomplishments and/or your teams accomplishments. your boss probably has a good idea as to what you have done over the last year but if there are three major things that you think slipped past them, talk about it!
Hopefully this will help you in preparation for your annual review! Please do not ever hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. Now go out there and be the #BossBabe that you are!!