Tag: Corporate-America

Working for “the Man?” I AM the Man Now.

Working for the man has it’s advantages. There’s usually more structure. You usually have health insurance, maybe a 401k or even your own little office. Sometimes you work with some really cool people- maybe at times mentally underdeveloped, but still rather pleasant people. It’s usually scheduled the same- day in and day out. You develop a routine. You become part of somebody else’s machine. You probably wake up, do your morning routine, grab your coffee, walk in and say hi to people, sit down and check your email, and start the grind.

But working for somebody else can also have a dark side. You are subject to the whims of whomever controls the company. In some situations, this can be downright dangerous- especially if “the Man” you work for is corrupt, immoral, unethical, unintelligent, moody, foolish, shady, dishonest, and any other host of adjectives that could be used to explain a bad leader. You will probably never be compensated what you are really worth. You’ll never truly know 100% what your future is, because you are not the one actually making those decisions. You are forfeiting your right to call your shots. And if you decide to do that, you had better trust the one who is calling the shots for you. Otherwise, you’ll never truly be happy. And somebody else’s lack of judgment will likely end up *your* problem to deal with in one way or another.

Since stepping out on my own, I have developed a deeper sense of self and a deeper sense of purpose. Being “the Man” has both a greater sense of responsibility, and greater sense of freedom. It’s make or break it, and nobody else can mess this up for me even if they try. And try they may. But iff it breaks, I have nobody else to blame. And if it works, I’m not feeding the fruits of my labor up to somebody else. I reap what I sow.

There’s no shame in working for somebody else, but I personally have found greater sense of pride now that I am back to running my Phoenix Web Design, SEO, and Web Marketing Company, MCP Media. Fortunately in my years of being corporate, I had enough successes under my belt that the moment I stepped out on my own, I had a ton of business just waiting for me. My transition has been easy because opportunity has been knocking the entire time. So easy in fact, that I’m not sure why my sense of loyalty prevented me from being my own man for so long. I guess you can chalk it up to experience.

That experience has proved invaluable. I’ve learned that once you accumulate a critical mass of knowledge on how business works, there are some things you just never do the same. And taking a “jobby-job” is probably one of those things. If you are critical to a business’ success and you are thinking of working for somebody else, get a work contract. Don’t just become an employee. Be very clear on the rules of engagement. You must trust the person or people you will be working for. If you don’t, it will not be worth the money in the long run. Profile your BOSS first. This person will be responsible for making decisions about your future. You might think YOU are responsible, but that’s not really the case when the buck stops somewhere else. And above all else, LOVE what you do. If you take a job just for the money, you’ll go home each day a little less happy than you would if you felt good about what you did all day.

As for my previous experience in corporate America. the jury is still out on how I feel about it. Most of it depends on how the company handles itself now that I am no longer an employee (i.e. honoring my severance, which has still not yet been paid) but I can say this, I am glad I did it and I am glad it’s done. Because now I can move forward and BE the MAN, instead of being subordinate to the “man”.

And as the man, I can tell you this. I take the responsibility seriously. If you have a boss you believe in, one that truly cares about who you are and tries to put you in a position to succeed, then it might be the perfect stepping stone into becoming “the Man” yourself. As I expand, I will be the man giving ten fingers to launch people toward their own goals. I will do what I can to make sure when people talk about their experience working for me, they say ” He’s the man! ” instead of ” He’s ‘the man’ “.


Corporate SEOs: Time to Give Yourself a Raise

Salaries for Corporate SEO Professionals vary drastically. So how do you know you’re getting paid what you deserve? Let’s explore a few ways to look at it, and at the end of this post, a one size fits all solution to bring to your higher ups for getting that raise!

First, let’s look at profitability. As a marketing guy, you probably have a pretty good idea how much is spent on promotions, and how much revenue your company generates from it. You might even be privy to information about fixed operating costs. In the best case scenario, your company even posts it profitability. If the company you work for is a cash cow, you can probably use profitability as a good selling point on getting an increased salary. ESPECIALLY if you can track it directly to your own individual efforts.

Let’s say your company nets 100 million annually, and you drive 30 million in profit while only spending a few million. There’s probably no good reason you should be making 50k yearly. If you work for a smaller company or a start up, chances are good you’re not producing hundreds or tens of millions in net revenue. In this case, check out the trends in your specific industry, and especially your company’s profit.

If there’s a big upside on the horizon, but little money going around at the moment, here’s your move: Sit tight at a lower salary for a while, but talk to your boss or CEO and plant the seed. Let them know you are OK with working at a lower salary temporarily, because you intend on helping to grow the company and to reap the benefits when that growth happens. From that point, track your performance (you should already be doing this anyways). If your company turns a corner and starts posting larger profits, and you have been doing more than your share, it’s probably a great time to remind your boss or CEO about your previous conversation and try to schedule a meeting.

Next, get a good idea about how much others who perform your specific job function earn, especially in your zip code. Salary.com is your friend. There are some awesome charts you can print out and keep on file. Use these on the big day when you approach your boss or CEO. I just performed a quick search on Web Promotion Specialist earnings in my zip code. Do the same for your exact title, or closest match.

As a rule of thumb, hiring managers are usually comfortable hiring new professionals in the 25% to 50% range according to Salary.com. If you want to demand more than that, you better know your stuff inside and out, have some concrete evidence or prior performance, and have a darn good sales pitch prepared. Oh, and people love pretty graphs and / or pie charts. Make some from your previous job(s) and keep them on file.

Another more risky technique of getting a raise is to feel out the market for YOU. Even in economically repressed times, there are always companies looking for web gurus. If your boss or CEO isn’t very receptive to chatting about your eventual raise, look for a job. Get an offer, and present it to your boss or CEO with the opportunity to match (provided you want to stay at your current job). If they cannot match, you can always jump ship to the next company willing to pay more.

But be careful, this is a higher risk technique. Both companies could look at your differently, possibly negatively, if you play hard ball. Do not use this technique if you think you can make headway in the politically correct way, or especially if you are somewhat easily replaced. Nobody want a high maintenance individualist on their team.

Even if there are valid reasons that you cannot have a pay increase, there’s always title. Getting a better title sometimes is easy if you pitch the company that you won’t cost any more. The better your title, the more likely your next job will pay better. Especially if the company you work for is not a start up. (side note: Titles at start ups, very small companies, or family businesses don’t usually carry the same weight from a hiring manager’s perspective. I can’t even count how many times I have interviewed CEOs from their own web design firm or music label who are looking for an entry level position.)

And finally, here is your one size fits all solution. 60% of the time, it works every time (thanks Anchor Man). But be forewarned, this magic formula will ONLY work if you can provide results. You MUST drive more volume than your current level. If you do, you have a raise. And without further ado, here is your formula.

Take your current salary, and cut it an half. Take your current performance metrics (hopefully sales volume or profitability) and devise a pay for performance monthly bonus structure, which sums up annually to half of your salary. Make sure you have a few versions of your bonus plan just in case your logic is disputed, make sure you have accurate reporting already in place. You want this plan to be bullet proof before you present it.

Here’s an example of the plan in action. Let’s just say you drove 100k in directly trackable profit for your company last year and you are currently paid 50k. Why not change your salary to 25k with a 25% profit share for volume you are pushing through your channels? This would show that your new plan would pay you exactly the same as last year.

Now here’s the kicker… If you drive 200k next year, your performance means you got an automatic raise to 75k. If you post a cool million, you just made yourself 275k. If that happens, and you used this method of negotiation, I’ll gladly accept checks for 10% of your earnings increase, made payable to Chris Hooley. No seriously, I’m OK with it. Email me. We’ll talk.

“I want my salary cut in half, and a fair bonus ONLY based on my performance” is not a hard pitch. For top level execs, it’s easy to swallow because you cut your fixed costs and only pay out if you are earning more. It’s a win-win situation.

Before you schedule your meeting, have those pretty graphs and charts printed out. Have your Salary.com info on hand. Look good, get plenty of rest, and put on your salesman hat (the one with the extra charm and wit). Be confident. Then go in and tell your boss you want a paycut, and that you only want to be paid if you provide results.


Are you WITH Me or AGAINST Me? The Terrel Owens Factor

I like to think of Corporate America like it’s professional sports. Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance, and IT superstars are no different than professional athletes with year round free agency. Some demand a high salary, some are lunch pale hard workers who roll up their sleeves, some are loud and brash and can make or break any company depending on their mood.

Like Terrel Owens.

T.O. is one of the best receivers ever in the history of the NFL, but his constant demand for the spotlight and bad attitude when he’s losing was like a cancer to prior teams. He moves to another team that allows him to be himself and enables him to work the way he wants, and next thing you know he’s the role model in the locker room and he’s doing everything he can to help his team win. He’s a player that needs an organization to bend a little to make room for his ego, and rewards that organization if they do.

On the other hand you have an organization with strong and strict leadership that does not bend; the New England Patriots. They would NEVER hire T.O. because HE won’t bend to their will. But their system can make known malcontents (Randy Moss, Cory Dillon) successful and happy players who conform and become part of the team. And they win. Big time.

Corporate America is no different. Some organizations have such strong leadership, and such great vision, that employees work twice as hard to keep up the winning tradition. The scary thing is however, that some employees are so good at what they do that they can single handedly change a corporation and it’s future. And sometimes, there are employees who are cancer. It’s scary when you have a sueprstar like Terrel Owens who can propel your team to the highest highs, or crumble the foundation of the organization.

The question is how to handle something like that? Do you pamper him like Dallas (seems to be working, right?) or do you fire him and look for people who can conform? And think, do you want to face that guy on the field if you do let him go?

There’s some thinkbait for you execs and CEOs who have stars in your corporation. Is your team strong enough to do without your star? Can you afford to pamper your execs who deliver on a consistent basis? Is it even worth it? Do the rules change when somebody is that important? Is ANYBODY that important?


Bulldozer with Ballerina Shoes

Today’s advice for you corporate climbers is short and sweet. Be a bulldozer with ballerina shoes. If you KNOW you are right, you KNOW your decision is best for your company (and yourself) then you can’t accept a “no” right? Problem is that egos, agendas, and personalities can sometimes cloud a company’s decision making ability. And as a good get-along-guy or get-along-girl (which is what you need to be to get anything done in executive management) you must understand how important it is to keep people happy… or better yet how to NOT piss people off. Sometimes you need to dance.

Sometimes it’s tough when your decisions face opposition. But when your decision is right, you need to push forward. There IS no “no”. Become a bulldozer with ballerina shoes. Dance around what you can, roll over if you have to, but push forward no matter what stands in your way.


Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!

A wise man once turned me on to the theory that all movies ever created can be categorized into 7 different plot types. This got me to thinking… perhaps there is some taxonomy that can be applied to every decision related to business, and maybe even life.

Suits and schmoozers listen up, this is for you. Corporate America, pay attention. Here are your instructions for the rest of your climb up the ladder…

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.

Simple.  But it isn’t always just black and white. No true leader can only lead. True, a leader must have the courage to hold the torch. But it’s more than that. A good leader must be smart enough to follow, and humble enough to get out of the way when it makes sense.

Just ask yourself, are your business decisions are based on fear instead of opportunity? Get out of the way. Do you fancy yourself a good leader, but you are losing ground? Follow. Got something burning inside? Lead.

People like to be led. People like to lead. People don’t like to be led by people who can’t lead, and people don’t like to lead people who can’t be led. Seems simple enough, right?

If you’re a true leader, lead me in the right direction and I’ll be right there following.  If you are a follower, come follow me and I’ll push you as far as I can.  If you are neither, just get out of the way and watch trails blaze.


The New Face of Corporate America: KISS MY CORPORATE ASS!

Fast paced change has been the M.O. of the past few decades. As the internet expands and practically consumes media markets, those who once were the undercurrent have become the drivers.

Corporate PunkThe MTV generation is taking over. Major corporations are now being infiltrated by a nihilistic, voyeuristic, and sometimes brash new breed of executive management. Hackers, crackers, punks, and rappers are growing their roots into Corporate America, and it’s a hostile takeover.

Collecting CoinsApproaching life and business like a video game, Generation XY was programmed to collect coins. Arbitrage and market imbalances are no different than cracks or exploits in old school Nintendo and Atari games to these new execs. Movers and shakers in their mid to late 20′s liken replacing the old regime of Corporate America to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s just another cultural shift to desensitized YTMs (Young Tech Males).

But this point of view isn’t just for the boys.

“It’s gone from ass kissing, to kiss my ass.” says Rae Hoffman, a well known Internet marketing consultant. “If you’re good at what you do, you can play by your own rules and not those set up by a prehistoric establishment. The teenager who spent ten hours a day trying to beat Bowser to save the princess is the same adult who will spend ten hours a day finding ways to beat a search engine. As a teenager, they were called a slacker. In today’s technology ruled world, they’re called your boss.”

Corporate PunkWearing a suit is the new punk” said a Business Development Director for a multi-billion dollar corporation who chose to remain anonymous.

Anybody can grab a skateboard, get some tats and a mohawk or die their hair black and pretend they are a rebel, but this takes balls. It’s the ultimate middle finger.

Conservative old money entrepreneurs have been eyeing up this generation with envy for years. Initially considered a fad (see Hackers, 1995), the trend of leveraging technology by “power users” has turned into somewhat of a corporate shenanigan. In the late 90s, Corporate America began invading places like defcon to find the best and brightest “network security experts”. Many cyberpunks quickly found themselves at high paying corporate jobs, others saw jail time, while others faded into obscurity.

Rage Against the MachineEmbracing change and pushing that envelope is the core of the “Cold War Baby” generation. It’s no surprise that they are currently shaking up most formal institutions, especially Corporate America. Social activism and dark overtones powered much of the media they grew up consuming. Music like Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and Gangsta Rap was the soundtrack, while movies like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Gleaming the Cube, Revenge of the Nerds, Boys N the Hood and The ‘Burbs were popular favorites.

It’s no wonder why this new type of executive has their middle finger up while creating the next neologisms.

The social and economic impact of “corporate punk” hasn’t been determined. At best, the rebellion is just social expression and their forward thinking nature will carry us past our predecessors. At worst, we will have a coup de tats of major distribution channels by 21st century digital graffiti writers.

At this point, all we can do is speculate, but we must embrace the change in the business world or we’ll end up dinosaurs losing ground to a possibly more evolved breed: The Corporate Punk.



Copyright © 1996-2010 Chris Hooley's -ThinkBait-. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress