More money blues

I see peers at other institutions, even my own, making more money than me. When I look to private sector, they all seem to make more money. What do you suggest if I want to increase my salary?

We all want more money. And grass is greener on the other side of the fence. No one can blame you for wanting your share of the pie. But don’t expect it as an entitlement and don’t think it will satisfy your need.

More money is often illusory. The more we make, the more we tend to spend. What do many do when they get an increase? They buy a new car, a bigger house, more stuff. When that happens, the increase in take-home pay is often negated. So if you want more money, make sure you know why?

All of that said, I’ll toss it back to you. What are you going to do?

A few things I would suggest:

  1. Make a plan for your career path. Look at a 5-10 year horizon. Your career should be treated like an investment, with a long-term view. Think of where you are, where you want to be. Do  you have the education, the training and requisite skills? If not, make acquiring them part of your plan. (See Stuck, To What Degree) Then start taking steps to get there. If your first response is that you can’t afford to pay for more school, you’re thinking short-term. If you invest, say $25,000, for a graduate degree, that investment may pay off handsomely if you’re looking at a horizon more than ten years.
  2. If you remain in your current organization, in your current role, chances are that you might advance, but big leaps in salary will not be easy. If that’s what you want, it often requires migrating to a new role in a new organization. If you can land a job offer elsewhere, you usually have more room to negotiate.
  3. Learn and use project management skills. We have more initiatives and change management processes than we can handle. We ALWAYS need players with these skills (hard and soft skills). Those who demonstrate abilities in this area will often get pegged for advanced roles within the organization.
  4. Read the book Your Money or Your Life. I did. It fundamentally changed how I look at money and wealth. It may help you rethink 1) why you are chasing more money and 2) put a premium on the value of your time.

Next week… ‘Why do I have to leave my organization to advance?’

CIO Skills

The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results, the trio of authors argue that CIOs’ leadership and people skills are the biggest determinate of their success—or failure. by Graham Waller of Gartner Executive Programs.

1. Commit to Leadership First and Everything Else Second. Gartner and Korn/Ferry’s research reveals that the highest performing CIOs are effective because they embrace the idea that everything they need to accomplish will be achieved through people, by people, and with people. They don’t pay lip service to that idea. They live it. They lead.

2. Lead Differently than You Think. A high-performing CIO is an incredibly complex and creative thinker. Yet when the time comes to lead, they don’t rely on their superior “smarts” and analytical skills to come up with the best possible solution. They act collaboratively.

3. Embrace Your Softer Side. Effective CIOs manage the paradox of gaining more influence by letting go of control and allowing themselves to be vulnerable. In turn, that vulnerability enables them to create deep, personal connections—connections that provide the ability to inspire people both inside and outside their organization.

4. Forge the Right Relationships to Drive the Right Results. This skill may not be surprising. High performing CIOs spend a greater percentage of their time and energy managing relationships that exist sideways: with internal peers, external suppliers, and customers. They purposely invest in horizontal relationships which form the foundation to drive extraordinary results.

5. Master Communication. The best CIOs know that their colleagues—especially the people who work for them—are always watching. These executives understand they are always on stage. They take advantage of that situation by constantly reiterating core messages and values. Through their focus on clarity, consistency, authenticity, and passion, they make sure their message is not only understood but also felt. They want to communicate a feeling that compels people to take the right actions.

6. Inspire Others. In exchange for a regular paycheck, most people will give an adequate performance. But they will only give their best work if they believe they are involved in something greater than themselves. The best CIOs provide a compelling vision that connects people to how their enterprise wins in the marketplace and that their contributions are meaningful and valued.

7. Build People, Not Systems. By developing people all around them, these CIOs increase their capability and capacity to deliver results. They also know that leaving behind the next generation of leaders is the best thing they can do for the organization—it will be their lasting legacy.

Where are the Women in IT?

Why are women outnumbered in IT? Are there characteristics of the job and the role that drive women away? And what might we do as IT organizations to address it?

Research suggests that IT employment for women of younger ages is good, but qualified and highly educated women between the ages of 30-45 tend to leave the field.

Could it be the work-life balance? Or the male-oriented IT culture? We need to address both areas if we are to attract and retain qualified women professionals.

Women have work-life balance pressures during the stage in life when child-rearing. Working long and sometimes irregular hours conflicts with family routines. Unless there is a flexible partner at home with the children, this is a real challenge for working moms.

Working in a male-oriented, male-dominated IT environment can also be difficult. It produces what Sylvia Hewlett, co-author of the Athena Factor, calls ‘antigens, because they repel women.’

  • The machismo of the IT culture
  • Prevalence of sexual harassment, off-colour humour, innuendo and more
  • Isolation in teams of men
  • Lack of women mentors and role models
  • An environment that involves risks and high profile ‘saves’
  • Work-life imbalance…Long hours and nights. Not friendly toward parenting.
  • IT is evolving too quickly to step off the career track for a year or two.

Read more at Work Life Policy


What’s it mean for us?

Start with an assessment of the IT culture in your organization. Talk with people, share ideas. Is it a mutually-supportive environment? Is there collaboration or competition? Are there behaviours that are accepted within the IT group that are unacceptable elsewhere in the organization? Collect and assess the feedback. Identify areas you’d like to see improved.

Other strategies to consider…

  • Form a network of women in IT. Encourage mentoring and professional development, within and beyond the IT environment. Address behaviours in the workplace that are unacceptable. If you cannot talk with your superior, talk with someone else. But talk.
  • Advocate for flexible work shifts and/or job sharing
  • When employees want to take parental leave, help them with a plan to keep current while they are away. Make materials available; have someone watching for key documents that will help the person get back up to speed quicker. Give them the time away, and then give them ramp up time when they are back.  If a particular training is needed, get it to them right away, before they become re-immersed.
  • Promote women in management and leadership training programs. Provide opportunities for project leadership in visible and meaningful organizational initiatives.
  • Talk with the Computer Science and Management Information Systems students. Help them look for opportunities to apply their technology and human skills. It will help them in the long run.

We need more women in this field. They provide balance to the IT culture. Our work is more about building and leveraging working relationships with our multitudes of clients.

A good place to start is this upcoming event…

Girls Talk Tech
November 16, 2010
Saege Bistro, Spring Garden Road
RSVP to wits@cs.dal.ca by November 9

Brochure:  girlstalktech_nov16_20101