It's not performance review season, but I have a discussion coming up with my manager. Our org has grown significantly and we are hiring a lot(doubling size in a small company). My manager wanted to check with me on my current thoughts about my position at the company. This is an open ended discussion, but I'd like to know what topics I should and shouldn't talk about. Since we are growing I want to take this opportunity and smooth out my career progression.

Here is a list of subjects that I think I want to mention:

-my role is pretty mixed, as a result I'm multi disciplined but not specialized. I feel that its both a weakness and a strength. With only 3 years of experience, I find myself lacking in specialized topics. If I want to change jobs into a more disciplined role I find myself not experienced enough. I want opinions on what approach I should do and if I can/should focus on one topic.

-taking up more responsibilities

-migrating to a new company role that's relevant to me

-will changing titles come with increasing salary change?(not as likely, but I'd still like to ask, will it hurt to ask?)

Do these all sound like valid points? I'm concerned on the salary part, how do I tactfully approach that? I'd like to get a raise(who doesn't?) since I recently finished a relevant masters and I feel that I've definitely become more valuable than I was starting 3 years ago.

closed as off-topic by PeteCon, Masked Man, Richard U, Chris E, IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 30 '16 at 18:33

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Do these all sound like valid points?

The points you raised are all valid.

You would be well-served to think them through and come to a conclusion as to specifically what you want. For example, you talk about "new company role that's relevant to me". Do you have a particular new role in mind? Are you fully qualified for such a role? You talk about "more responsibilities". Do you have specific responsibilities in mind that you'd like to take on? You should.

Bring specifics to the discussion, and I suspect it will go more smoothly. Many managers (including me) don't like to have a "please tell me what I should do about my development path" discussion, and would prefer a "I would like this... how can I get there?" discussion.

It's certainly reasonable to ask for your manager's help in moving along your career path (that's part of their job). But ultimately, it's your responsibility and your resulting benefit.

I'm concerned on the salary part, how do I tactfully approach that?

It's right to be concerned.

You don't want to come across as asking if increased responsibilities and/or a new role will result in an increased salary, with the implied follow-on being "if not, I don't want more responsibility or a change in my role".

Go into the discussion assuming that more work will be rewarded. That way you are more likely to discuss it with the right tone.

I'd like to get a raise(who doesn't?) since I recently finished a relevant masters and I feel that I've definitely become more valuable than I was starting 3 years ago.

You could point out your increased value to the company, but of course you realize that finishing a master's degree doesn't imply increased value, nor does it mean you should get a raise. Concentrate on the things that benefit the company, rather than things that may benefit you personally.

And you can always ask "What should I do to get a [promotion/raise] here?"

  • thanks for the great advice. This has helped me a lot. I'll hold off on accepting for a bit to see if other have different insight. – mugetsu Aug 29 '16 at 22:22
  • @mugetsu, if the company is expanding rapidly, that is the perfect time to ask for and get a promotion that includes a pay raise. They need people with company domain knowledge to manage/lead the new people. I worked for a company where our department expanded from around 25-30 to well over 100 and just about everyone who was there before the expansion got a promotion if they wanted one. – HLGEM Sep 1 '16 at 17:26

Your questions are all valid and good points for your future. But as with any other "should I do this or that" topic, nobody but you can answer those questions.

In your first question, you mentioned your role is pretty mixed, which makes you spread out too thin to become experienced in any of the topics you are touching. You can ask to be assigned to fixed role where you can gain deeper experience but your experiences in the other fields are to be lost for the lack of a better term. The decision comes to this: The area you want to specialize in, how critical is it to the success of your company ? Can they give it up on the drop of a hat and go with something else ? Realistically speaking, the answer is always yes to that. I worked in organizations, some technologies looked rock-solid, but to be replaced in an instant in 2 years time. So, If you are goingto go the specialty route, hitch your wagon to a solid piece. Otherwise expect to be a subject of reduction in workforce (a.k.a. lay-off)

Taking up more responsibilities is almost always a very good move. In the future, it will look good on you, making your next employer think you are not afraid to take additional load and risks that come with it. If you are good handling those responsibilities, it is your fastest path to management, if you are to chose that as your career route. But more responsibility means less depth in knowledge in every area you touch. Which is not a bad thing but contradicts with your first question goal.

Migrating to a different company is totally your decision. Only you can decide if this is a good move or not. But with only 3 years experience, do not expect to be a senior level employee and bear the burden of lower salary, targeted for junior employees.

Does changing titles come with more money ? Good question. Complex answer: It depends. You might ask depends on what. Depends on if your role is going to have a larger responsibility. Are you taking extra load, above and beyond expectations ? More importantly, will your boss be looking at this with the same glasses you are. What might seem like a much bigger responsibility to you might be business as usual to him, which bears no additional financial compensation.

Being the closes to the situation, among all the people here, you need to measure your skill up to the needs of your company and personality of your bosses.

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