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Background

I work for a company that provides IT services to other companies (outsourcing) as a systems analyst. I'm assigned to a corporate project that requires me to work with the people from the client's corporation, not the people from my own company. Hence, I have limited points of contact with my own company. My manager resides in a different city from mine. We never met in person and only chatted a couple of times via hangout/skype calls. What's more, she knows very little about my project which is evident by the fact that she advertised the tasks associated with my position to be a lot different than they actually are when she recruited me (interview over the phone). In short, she has no clue of what I'm working on and is unable to get that information from anyone other than me since she has no contact with the corporation I'm working for.

What I want

A raise. I feel that I deserve one knowing that I developed my skills substantially over the last year and adapted to my daily tasks even though I was misinformed about them. Going to details about my achievements and tasks is pointless in this discussion - let's just assume that I deserve a raise.

Questions

  1. How do I approach this yearly review knowing that my manager has a severely limited understanding of what I'm doing?
  2. I'm assuming that I'll have to explain to her the nature of my job in order to talk about my achievements for the past year. How detailed should be my description?
  3. When do I ask for a raise? At the beginning, middle, end of the review?
  4. How do I bring to her attention that she advertised the position incorrectly? Not to indicate that I'm mad bout it, but rather that I adapted to the conditions.
  • 1
    I don't think you should mention anything about them advertising the position incorrectly- but I've never been in this type of situation or even close to it, so you should probably wait on advice from someone more experienced. – DCON Jul 4 '17 at 8:37
  • 2
    You should only possibly mention incorrect advertisement of position in a mild,non judgmental, way and only to bring up that "despise adversities given the difference in actual position than the expected one, you did your best to adapt and develop your skills substantially to satisfy the customer". ie dont mention she doesnt have a clue, rather that the position had changed (and greater if thats true) responsibilities, which could be due to a matter of things not necessarily herself not properly understanding the job description. – Leon Jul 4 '17 at 9:32
  • If you do decide to mention the incorrectly advertised position, discuss it in terms of what technical skills are required to execute it in its current form, this is a good transition into the ask for a raise "This position has expanded from only widget flipping to now include fidget whipping and digit tipping. Developing these skills in this short of a time frame has been challenging but I feel has made me a more valuable employee..." – Myles Jul 5 '17 at 14:42
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tl;dr

For any interview or meeting you have, remind of the other people point of view. In this situation:

  1. she doesn't know you either, but (should) cares about how you feel on your project and how satisfied the customer is with your work
  2. salary raise may be part of a template. If not, ask her when this talk takes place in your company (may be on annual review individually, or end of year for a global company raise planned on january)
  3. bonus give yourself the opportunity to be the top consultant of your company sent to this customer, offering your help identifying prospect, future opportunities etc...

Please let me answer this question with what your manager wants. I used to be in her role a few years ago (or at least working as manager for an outsourcing company,so close to her role).

How do I approach this yearly review knowing that my manager has a severely limited understanding of what I'm doing?

It doesn't matter your manager has no idea what you are doing. Indeed, she is not in charge of your planning for example. What she wants to know is

  1. how happy is the customer with your work
  2. how happy are you in this position

I'm assuming that I'll have to explain to her the nature of my job in order to talk about my achievements for the past year. How detailed should be my description?

Not necessarily very detailed. Of course she has to care on what is your job on a large scale and how you improved during the past year, but please remind she may not have a technical background. Going deeper and deeper into such details is, in my opinion, useless and time-wasting. Does you company set meetings with the customer and your manager? These meetings may be the good place for talking about project progress, future of the mission and so on. I used to ask for such meetings with my customers three times a year. Doing so, I got material for annual reviews.

When do I ask for a raise? At the beginning, middle, end of the review?

If you ask this question, I assume this is the first time you are going through a yearly review with this company. Don't worry too much about, she will probably come with some template to fill, and will talk about (at least) the following points:

  1. how went the past year
  2. how you coped to this specific customer/project
  3. what you are expecting for the year to come (from both customer and employer sides)
  4. salary

She will introduce the agenda at the beginning of the review, and if you think an important point (like salary) is missing to her agenda, please tell her. There is nothing worse for an annual review than ending it without all matters adressed. Specifying to her at the beginning that you want to talk about your salary will avoid her to escape the discussion at the end ("I am sorry but time is running out, may we discuss this point later?").

How do I bring to her attention that she advertised the position incorrectly? Not to indicate that I'm mad bout it, but rather that I adapted to the conditions.

Your manager wants to know how her customer works, in order to be more precise with the next people she will send. Put it in a constructive way. You said she doesn't know you? Fine, let her remind of yourself as the guy whom gave her some much useful information about customer organization, tools used, and so on. You may insist on how well you adapted, but you will get some "good job!" answer, not a 15% raise. If you want a significative raise from an outsourcing company, you have to become more than just the guy working for BigCorp Inc. Offer assistance on identifying future prospects, selecting future coworkers from what she finds because you know the team (and team leader) better than her, etc. As @gazzz0x2z said in his comment, this is a huge bonus for you to come in a review with some info like "they mentionned project %%%%% that will require 5 people with £££££ skill, starting end of october...". Doing so, you are overperforming from your company point-of-view, and this deserves a raise or at least a cash bonus for any signed contract you helped on. It is usual in Europe to have a bonus scheme in place for such action, like co-opting future employees or giving in-site valuable business intelligence.

Hope this helps, and I wish you good luck with this annual review.

  • You're spot on with the template. I got one and it contains all of the points you mentioned except for the salary. How exactly would you go about bringing it up? It sounds weird in my head when I imagine me saying "Hey Manager. About the agenda you sent me. The salary portion is missing. What's up with that?". – DanteeChaos Jul 4 '17 at 10:30
  • @DanteeChaos you can ask what the policy is in your company about salary talks. "AFAIK, yearly reviews usually adress salary, but I don't see it in the template. Is it different here and if so, when will we talk about my salary?" Some companies group salary raises on january 1st. So negociations will occur in nov./dec. You may not had one last year because you were here for only a few months. – le_daim Jul 4 '17 at 11:29
  • Spot on also on manager's needs. That you work beyond expectations for the customer is not her problem. That you bring her valuable commercial info on how to sell more man-days to the customer is the most important things to her. "Ah, they mentionned project %%%%% that will require 5 people with £££££ skill, starting end of october..." is exactly what she wants to hear. Not "I was overperforming". Even if it's true. – gazzz0x2z Jul 4 '17 at 18:20
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How do I approach this yearly review knowing that my manager has a severely limited understanding of what I'm doing?

Since your manager won't have much knowledge of your work/achievements over the last year you need to show them to her. To do this document up your key achievements, where possible back them up with any positive feedback you have from other coworkers or people from the client.

I'm assuming that I'll have to explain to her the nature of my job in order to talk about my achievements for the past year. How detailed should be my description?

There will be an element of this I'd expect but don't focus on the details of what you do - instead focus on what you have achieved for the company and what business needs your work has served. This is what your manager (should) care about.

When do I ask for a raise? At the beginning, middle, end of the review?

There's no "right" answer to this as it will depend on the manager in question, certainly I would aim more for the middle rather than the beginning. Give yourself chance to impress them before you potentially put them on the defensive by framing it in the context of asking for a raise.

How do I bring to her attention that she advertised the position incorrectly? Not to indicate that I'm mad bout it, but rather that I adapted to the conditions.

I'd probably steer clear of this area unless it feels natural in the conversation - if she's asking about an example of your adaptability or overcoming a challenge or something along those lines. Otherwise you are making an implicit criticism of her and that's not a good tactic for getting someone onside! If you do discuss it then at all costs avoid saying "you advertised the position incorrectly", and where possible avoid negative connotations like "incorrectly", instead refer to the position as being "different from what you expected before starting"

1

First and foremost, from the employers view: When you work for an external client it does not matter so much how your skills developed etc. if they can´t up sell this to the client. What matters is how much turnover you generated and how satisfied the client is.

If you have a good working relationship to your supervisor from the client´s side, you could maybe ask him for a short letter of recommendation?

Second, make a short list with bullet points of the main tasks you did that where´t in the original job description. Don´t bother with explaining the details, if not asked for, but be prepared to list you additional accomplishments.

Then, going into the meeting, first take the review, and thank for critique not matter if you agree or disagree. Maybe after that, you can state that client is happy and what your additional tasks where. Just state what you are proud of and what you adapted to - if they want to update the job description or not is not for this meeting-

Last there should be a section about both your employers and you own future goals. That´s where you should clearly state you expectancy of a raise. State it matter-of-fact that this is what you think you are worth and don´t get into discussions about economics. If you have a marked-value and you don´t get paid that, you have so called "opportunity-costs" just to work there and nobody sane expects you to carry those costs for a long time.

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