Death of an Employee

Stop Selling Your Soul to the Corporation and Create the Life and Career That You’ve Always Wanted

Joel Davis
Boundary Press Temple Terrace, Florida www.boundarypress.com

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Death of an Employee. Copyright © 2009 by Joel Davis. Manufactured in the United States of America. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing by the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. This material may not be used in whole or in part for presentations, training classes or seminars. Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information contained in this book, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or inconsistency herein. Any slights of people, places or organizations are unintentional. All names have been changed to ensure confidentiality. Published by Boundary Press, located at 5004 E Fowler Ave., Unit C-115, Tampa, FL 33617. Visit our Web site www.deathofaleader.com for additional and up-to-date contact information. Davis, Joel Death of an Employee: Stop Selling Your Soul to the Corporation and Create the Life and Career That You’ve Always Wanted ISBN: 978-0-9791397-0-3 Edited by Judy Moore and Marjorie Bulone. Cover Design and Book Layout by Toné Mojica. Image consultation by Carol Hemmingsen. Production coordinated by Toné Mojica.

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Interview Process
Before we move on, let me lower your expectations. Despite all the motherhood and apple pie on the Web site, most companies do a terrible job of interviewing people and then getting them on board through a newhire orientation process. According to our surveys on just the interview and hiring process alone, just 7 percent rated it outstanding, 39 percent rated it adequate, 23 percent rated it good, 23 percent rated it terrible and 8 percent rated it bad. Continuing on our little journey, you now have a great résumé, a network of recruiters helping you learn how the hiring game is played, you’ve networked into the target firm, and you’ve secured an interview or series of interviews for one week from today. Now what? Well, you need a strategy to differentiate yourself during the interview process. Here is how you do it! Frame Your Mind: Don’t forget you’re a consultant (who really, really wants this position, but you need to be in the consultant frame of mind). This will be one position on a long journey, so it’s not the end of your life if you don’t get it. You have other firms that desperately want you. In short, you’re confident and competent.
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Now, as a consultant, you’ve been trained to be very observant, to ask good questions and to do solid research, analysis and thinking. The questions come below, and the research and analysis have already been done. So now, as you have phone conversations and, ultimately, face-toface interviews, you need to be very observant. “Why,” you ask? Well, to paraphrase one of my favorite cartoons, “Be very, very quiet, we are hunting culture.” Be on the look-out for the following as you start your journey through the interview process: 1. How do they handle terminations—for cause and not for cause? This is the single most important factor in determining a firm’s true culture and I will cover it in detail shortly. 2. Do people answer their phone professionally? 3. What’s the lobby like? How were you greeted? 4. Are the interviews on time, or are people always running late? 5. Are the people energized or exhausted? 6. Are people smiling? Do they seem happy? 7. Do the people walk with a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency? 8. Is the office space—both inside and outside—well maintained, clean and professional? 9. What is on the walls, in the common spaces, as well as in people’s offices? 10. What does the break room/cafeteria look like…feel like? Are people using it? 11. Were your interviewers prepared for you? Had they read your résumé? 12. Were the interviewers’ desks cleaned and clear or cluttered? 13. As you enter and leave the building, what did you feel? 14. Is this a place you can work in for the next “X” years? Will it enhance or detract from your life plan and the energy required to make it a reality? Frame Your Questions: As a consultant, you need to take all of the industry, market, channel and firm-specific research you did and develop a list of questions that will clearly show anyone present that you get it. In addition to any industry, market, channel, firm questions you may come up with, here are a few sample questions to ask during an interview that will differentiate you from all the other candidates:
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1. I noticed in reviewing the company’s financials and press releases, that revenue is up but profits are down. What are the main drivers of this? How could our department and my role specifically help improve corporate profitability? 2. Based on my research, it seems that some of the problems the company might be facing are “1, 2, 3.” Would you agree? 3. What are the top three opportunities ahead for the company? 4. Who are your top three competitors? How are they doing in the marketplace from a revenue/growth perspective? Profit perspective? 5. What keeps you up at night? 6. What one thing should the company start doing? Stop doing? 7. How well aligned are the company’s objectives with our department’s objectives? 8. How well aligned are our compensation plans with the company objectives? 9. How well aligned are the other department’s compensation plans with ours? 10. How would you describe the culture here? Knowing what you know now, would you join the firm? 11. If I get the position, what would be my three biggest challenges in the first 90 days…180 days? 12. Is this a new position, or did someone else have it? Where did they go? How many other people have had this position in the last five years? 13. What’s the new-hire orientation and on-boarding process like? Perhaps, if I’m hired, I could document my experiences and help improve it? The list of questions can and do go on and on and on. Remember, you aren’t trying to interrogate the person interviewing you. You won’t be able to ask all of these questions in just one interview. You need to make sure you ask them in a conversational versus a confrontational manner. But you do need to make sure you get answers to the most important questions. A good way to segment these questions so they aren’t so overwhelming— and another key differentiator for you as a candidate—is to segment the questions by the person (and their department) if you’re being interviewed by multiple people. For example, if you’re interviewing with a
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sales/marketing person, develop a list of three to six questions that are relevant to them. Do the same for finance, HR, legal, etc. Your interviewers need to be approached with a different set of questions that are unique to them. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate you are prepared, understand how business works and can hit the ground running if they hire you! So, what’s the point to asking all these questions? The answer is simple. Candidates love to talk during interviews but, to me, the true sign of intelligence and preparedness in a candidate is the quality of questions they ask! Ask smart questions, get the interviewer talking and sharing information, and you’ll build a relationship and gain some form of control over the interview. You can then guide the interview to highlight your strengths, avoid weak areas and, if all else fails, add one more person to your network! Frame Your Plan: If you really want to blow your interviewer away, bring a rough90-Day Plan already completed and just hold on to it. If the interview goes exceedingly well (and maybe if you’re tanking the interview, you can use it as a last resort), you can go ahead, pull it out and position it as follows: “I would like to share with you a very rough 90-day plan I put together. Clearly, I would need your input on it, coaching and recommendations, but I wanted you to see how serious I am about succeeding in the position and to give you a little snapshot on how I think and plan.” I’ll share an example of a 90-day plan shortly. Based on our surveys, only about one third of people create a 90-day plan—and it’s usually after getting the job. In my hiring experience, I can think of only one or two people who ever came in with a 90-day plan in 20+ years. So, this can and will be a great differentiator for you. Frame Your Life: Ah, the piéce de resistance! Your life plan comes to the rescue yet again! Remember, according to our surveys, nearly 70 percent of people don’t have a life plan in writing (and I really don’t believe it’s that high because when I’ve asked people to show me one, they all of a sudden have a pressing matter to attend to). My personal experience is that 98 percent of people don’t have a life plan in writing. In either case, you’ll clearly differentiate yourself from literally everyone else, by having this handy, again, just in case you need it. Back to the surveys, 80 percent of people who have plans in writing fail to integrate it
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into their time management system. I had one very impressive candidate show me her time management system and how she was able to ensure all the work would get done in a timely manner. Needless to say, she got the job! After your interviews, make sure you send follow-up thank you notes via e-mail. Some people recommend hand-written cards, and that, too, is fine, but it’s hard to reinforce key messages about why they should hire you on a small thank-you card. The e-mails you send should be a selling document explaining why they should hire you, why you’re excited about the position, what you can bring to the table immediately and announce your commitment to work on any weak areas the interviewer brought up during your interview

Offer Letter Negotiation
Congratulations, baby, you got the call and they’re going to make you an offer! Well, depending on your personal situation, you have three options: 1. Take whatever they give you and be thankful (I’ve been here, so I know exactly how this feels). 2. Negotiate on some points with the intent to sign an enhanced offer quickly. 3. Create scarcity to get the best possible offer from this firm or another firm. First, let’s review the elements that may be in your offer letter: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Start Date Sign-on Bonus Salary or Hourly Wage Incentive plans Stock Options Health Benefits 401K, Profit Sharing Relocation (when applicable) Expense Offset—car, cell phone etc Severance/Termination Package Offer Letter Expiration Date

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While giving you a primer on negotiating in general is beyond the scope of this book, I do want you to realize that not everything is negotiable— even if you’ve made them fall in love with you through the interview process. So here’s a good game plan for you. First, listen to what they have to say in its entirety. Don’t respond or say anything until they’re completely through their entire offer. When they’re done, ask them to email you the offer in writing, so you can review it, talk it over with your family, etc. If you have to take the offer, due to hardship conditions, get it, review it with your family, sign it and fax it back—or, better yet, if they’re local, drive over and hand it to them! If you’re going to negotiate for a better offer, but you still feel good about the company and plan to move forward with them, follow the path recommended below. At the end of this section, I’ll explain the creating scarcity approach that happens rarely in a career, but it does happen. Once you have your offer in writing, read it carefully. Make sure what was said to you on the phone is in the written offer—you’d be surprised how many times this isn’t the case. I have personally received offer letters that had errors in them, additional clauses and fine print that dramatically altered the offer itself, so beware! Assuming the offer is consistent with what was discussed on the phone; write down your wish list of what you would like the offer to be—point by point—on the offer letter itself. Think about the value you bring and come up with at least one to two solid reasons why each one of the items on your wish list is reasonable, logical and valid. Think about things the company told you—the problems they have, positive comments made by interviewers, anything and everything you can remember that will help you negotiate a better offer! Next, jot down the items you can be flexible on and things that might not mean too much to you. Review the offer again—did you learn anything during the interview process that would weaken the company’s position on any of these points? For example, if the workload was piling up, and they were out of compliance with some regulation, the start date would be very
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important to them—but you might not really care if the start date was that week or another one. Again, jot this down! If the offer is out of whack, you might also go back to the hiring manager and soften him/her up a bit by saying how excited you were about the position until the offer came through far below what was discussed during the interviews. If the hiring manager has fallen in love with you (as a candidate, of course), then he/she will go back to HR and let them know they’re going to cost him/her a great hire because of their low-ball offer and they need to work with him/her to figure something out quickly! Armed with all of this information, schedule a time to discuss the offer over the phone with the HR person or hiring manager. Thank them for the offer and tell them that no matter what happens, you were impressed with the people you met and the company itself. No matter what happens, you want to stay in touch and maintain a relationship—because you never know if you can be in a position to help them in the future—or vice versa. Now, what I love about this approach is that it’s totally classy and professional. You’ve taken the high road. You’ve also just communicated that you’re not desperate and they need to get the proverbial pencil sharpener out if they want to land such a fine catch as you! Remember this: The one time, and I mean the only one time, you will ever have serious, significant negotiating leverage with a company is when you’re on the outside and they want you badly. Once you’re in, they think—wrongly by the way—that they have you. Further, the disease of familiarity hits you, and all of your little faults are amplified a thousand times and you slowly but surely become just another cog in the machine. You will forever have to live with cost-of-living raises at or below inflation. Your promotions are never more than five percent because “that would blow our internal equity scales” (this is HR speak for: “We know you are a star performer and clearly in the top ten percent of the company. However, there are other people that have been here a long time, work hard and don’t cause us problems. So we don’t want to upset them right now by giving you the raise you deserve). Come again? While you’re on the outside, you are that shiny new untouchable toy that the company just has to have! So work it! Go through your offer, point by
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point, calmly, explaining what you would like and the reasons why. When you’re done, follow it up with an e-mail to the HR person and the hiring manager. This e-mail is yet one more selling document for you, so treat it that way. Be prepared to give in on the points you’re prepared to give in on but, always, always, always, get something in return. Below are some other strategies to upgrade an offer and to counter standard HR objections. Remember, this is only a partial list! Start Date: If they need a quicker start date, ask for a signing bonus (or a signing bonus increase) for the lost revenue you might have to give up from lost incentives, options, vesting, etc. Sign On Bonus: If they’re not offering a sign-on bonus, calculate any lost sick time, option vesting, lost incentives, etc. Ask them to make you whole. Obviously, if you’re not employed, this will be rather hard to do! Salary Or Hourly Wage Issues: at the end of the day, it typically comes down to money. But here is a little-known fact that many first-time job seekers aren’t aware of—every position in a firm has multiple grades or levels and there is a minimum, average and maximum pay level for each grade or level. One way, therefore, to get the higher pay you want is to convince them to raise the job level/grade so you can get the money you want without blowing their internal equity scales. Incentive Plans: Ask for a six-month guarantee at 100 percent, since you’re entering the company and have no idea about the company’s current momentum (or lack thereof). If you can’t get an increase in salary, ask for a higher incentive amount or percentage. Stock Options: This is hard to negotiate with all the new regulations (SOX specifically), unless you’re giving up a lot at your current company. If so, then you need to calculate what you’re giving up and ask the prospective firm to make you whole. Health Benefits: There’s not too much room here to negotiate, but see if they’ll do something to help during the first 180 days as you change plans and work back through deductibles.
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401K/Profit Sharing: Not much you can do here, unless you’re giving up a lot at your current company. If so, then you need to calculate what you are giving up and ask the prospective firm to make you whole. Relocation: There’s a lot of room here to negotiate. You’ll need to do cost of living comparisons, and there are a lot of sites on the Web for this. Have your facts in hand, e.g., state taxes, property taxes, schools, housing, gas, etc. Three I like are www.cityrating.com, www.bestplaces.net and www.relocationessentials.com. Try to get the relocation package extended to at least six (if not nine) months of temporary living and rental car expenses. Make sure all relocation payments are grossed up so you pay no taxes on them. If you have to sell your house, they need to pay the points and any closing costs on both sides—when you sell and when you buy. Some of the larger firms will offer to buy your house if it doesn’t sell within one year, so try to get this if you can. Ask the firm to pay for 60 days of a relocation consultant to help you learn where things are and to scout out where you would like to live. Make sure your family can come out and visit you ideally twice a month, but at least once a month—and vice versa—when you do the traveling. Expense Offset: While this is getting rare, it does exist. Try to get a car allowance that covers the cost of your auto, mileage, deprecation, etc. Sometimes, you’re actually better off just doing the straight mileage route. Most firms pay for cell phone and BlackBerry devices, so make sure that’s part of the package as well. Severance/Termination Package: Remember what I mentioned earlier: The one time—and I mean the only one time—you will ever have serious, significant negotiating leverage with a company is when you are on the outside and they want you badly. It is now, at the time of the offer letter, that you’re also negotiating your severance package. Kind of sick and twisted isn’t it? Anyway, find out if the firm has a standard severance policy for your position level. Find out how it works. Many firms will provide 90 days of severance for every year of service, but there are many ways to do this. If you are relocating, try to get the severance package to be at least six months long, otherwise you could literally be stuck in the middle of nowhere with such a short runway (e.g., 90 days) that your options will be extremely limited.
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Offer Letter Expiration Date: There’s usually not a problem here, but you need at least 48 hours if not a week to decide. Ideally, two-to-three weeks is perfect. Remember, not all of these items will be in your offer letter; it all depends on your experience and the position you’re applying for. At least now you have a bigger and better picture of the process than I did when I started my career!

Creating Scarcity
This strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. The opportunity to make yourself scarce happens in a career when you have more than one competing offer for your services. Clearly you’re a hot commodity, and everyone wants you. Since there’s only one of you and many of them, you’re in essence a scarce or rare jewel and, as such, let the offer letter bidding begin! I wouldn’t advise you to get a competing offer and bring it back to your current employer and demand a raise. I’ve seen people do this, and sometimes they actually do get the raise—but literally end their career at the company in the process. The company, put between a rock and a hard place by you, will acquiesce to your demands, but won’t trust you any longer and will remove you from any promotion/advancement track. I find it ironic that it’s okay when the company puts you in between a rock and a hard place, for example, with wage and bonus freezes, off-shoring, and outsourcing, but it’s not okay when you do it to them. Assuming you have multiple offer letters, it’s time to play them off against each other in a professional manner. The best way to do this is to follow the approach I’ve already outlined. You’ll tell each firm what your ideal offer looks like, point by point. If one firm says no and won’t budge on your offer, and the other firm gives in on every point you asked for, then your decision should be pretty easy. What typically happens, however, is that both give and take with you on different points and the money may be very close—with one firm giving you a signing bonus and another giving you a better base salary. So if you have two offer letters that are very close, how do you decide?

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Appendix 2 – Order Form
Name __________________________________________________________________ Organization _____________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip ____________________________________________________________ Phone ___________________________ E-mail _________________________________ Payment Methods: 1. Go to the Web site for fastest service and best pricing 2. Credit Card 3. Check. Do Not Send Cash. Credit Card Type: VISA Mastercard AMEX Credit Card # ____________________________________________________________ Credit Card Security Code (on back of card) ____________________________________ Expiration Date __________________________________________________________ Signature _______________________________________________________________ Books Death of an Employee Death of a Manager Death of a Leader Subtotal Shipping Charge 20% Discount if You Buy All 3 Books in the Series Grand Total Attention Corporations, Colleges, Universities, Charities! Quantity discounts are available for bulk purchases of individual books or the entire series for educational or training purchases, fund raising, gift giving, etc. Special books, booklets or book excerpts can be customized to fit your specific needs. Motivational presentations, seminars, guest speaker, panel moderation, training and management consulting engagements can also be provided at your location or off-site anywhere in the world. To discuss these or other opportunities, please contact Joel Davis at 813-401-1329; jdavis@deathofaleader.com. For more information, don’t forget to visit our Web site: www.deathofaleader.com. All mail correspondence and orders should be sent to: Boundary Press Inc. 5004 E Fowler Ave, Unit C-115 Tampa, FL 33617
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Price Per Copy 19.99 24.99 29.99 $5 per book $15 discount if you are buying all 3 books

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