The Salary Question

Last week I blogged about an interview I had, well I made it to the second round. Based on what they told me the interview process will likely only be two rounds. I assume it is down to myself and likely 1-5 other candidates.

I am going into this interview fairly confident. I know my stuff, I am smart, talented and extremely hardworking, they would be lucky to have me.

There is one question I am dreading though; it is the question I always dread and stumble on.

The salary question; “How much are you hoping to earn?” “What do you think a fair salary would be?”

I hate that question with a passion, especially when I am going in blind.

When the job posting has no salary range attached to it and they’ve offered no information of that sort, it’s a crapshoot on what to say.

I don’t want to go too high because that could decrease my chances of getting the job. At the same time I do not want to go too low and totally undercut what I could be making.

I have an idea of what I would like to make and what I think I am worth, but I hate vocalizing that. Also do I give a range or a hard number?

I love the work I do, I love the profession I chose and would rather money not get in the way of me getting or doing a job. At the same time though, money is a necessary evil in life, I need it to pay my bills, pay off my debt and pay for the wardrobe I began purchasing for these interviews and hopefully this job.

I’m just uncomfortable with the asking for money ‘thing’. I know it is ridiculous and it is part of life but money talk has made me uncomfortable for as long as I can remember, I think because it was usually the source of family blowouts growing up and honestly still is to this day.

I like to think I have a good relationship with money, but it has some dark history that comes along with it.

Does anyone else hate this question or am I alone in wishing this question would not come up in interviews?

My Dream Job

The phrase “dream job” has for some reason always thrown me for a loop. People ask me what my dream job is and I blank, or ramble on in a wishy-washy kind of manner.

I don’t know why defining my dream job trips me up so much. Maybe I’m afraid if say it out loud someone will take it from me, which is ridiculous because if I don’t say it out loud, no one is taking it from me, but I am keeping it from myself.

I think part of it is that I often been told that my dreams are unrealistic or childish.  For a decade now (since high school) my focus has been on finding a career and job that I love. I do not want to be one of those miserable people who dreads going to work on a daily basis and who lets their dislike of their job negatively impact every other aspect of their life. I want a job that makes me happy, but others have told me that I need a job that makes me financially stable. I don’t see why I can’t have both.

I want to be the person that looks forward to waking up each morning and going to work. I want to be the person who can’t help but brag about how great their jobs is. I want to enjoy the work that I do and feel like it is making a difference or helping someone else to be or do the best they can.

That’s what I love about technology, it has the potential to help people be or do the best they can. Technology has the power to bridge gaps and connect people in ways previously inconceivable. It is not the technology itself though, it is how people use the technology that gives it power.

I’ve had a computer in my house my entire life. I’m 26 (almost 27), so I’m not part of the generation where this fact would be the norm. My grade 8 graduation class prediction (by my class) was that I would be a computer programmer.

Well that didn’t happen, I fell in love with media and journalism in high school and followed that path to Brock University where I studied Popular Culture. While I was at Brock I met a 3M Award winning Professor named Barry Joe who taught classes on Computer Mediated Communications, which in 2003 was something still relatively new. It may not have new, but it was still somewhat ‘niche’ it hadn’t grabbed a hold of the mass market yet.

These classes combined the two things I loved the most, technology and communications. This was the path I saw my career heading down, I wanted a career in digital communications. During my post-secondary career, at both Brock and Fanshawe I was an advocate for Virtual Educational Environments. I believed that digital communications in an educational setting helped to elevate the academic experience. The traditional education model was Professors Lecturing or Dictating information to their students. Digital environments helped to collapse the educational hierarchy and allowed students to take control over the direction of their education. Digital environments offered students freedom, which gave them the confidence (often through anonymity) to ask questions and present ideas that they were otherwise hesitant to verbalize in a real life classroom

So what is my dream job?

Social Media Coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays would be great, but since that probably isn’t in the cards (at least not yet) my dream job is:

  • A job where I can help others (or a company/organization) achieve their communications goals through the use of technology (website, social media), and possibly traditional communications.

Arguably that would be an ideal position for me, but I wouldn’t mind a position that included that either or that included any/all of the following:

  • Communications Planning
  • Social Media Planning
  • Writing/Researching/Interviewing
  • Web Content Management
  • Event Planning
  • Graphic Design
  • Client Relations/Facilitation
  • Media Relation

In additional to these things I would really like to work with a company/organization that has a strong corporate culture. By that I mean work within a company where people know each other, interact with each other, help and support each other.  A place where people yes get their work done and are professional, but also know how to laugh and have fun. A company that is not only engaged internally, but engaged externally in  community initiatives or projects. A place that encourage continuous growth and development.

So if you know of any jobs that fit this description please feel free to comment below. Or if you have a job like this available, I’m your girl!

Job Hunting Blues

Today when I woke up I went through my usual routine. Check Facebook, check Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, check Twitter and check LinkedIn. A tiny part of me is now wishing I hadn’t checked LinkedIn. I went into one of the groups I subscribe to and found an individual in my field talking about how difficult it has been to find work in London. I felt bad for the guy and could relate. I’ve had a rough time finding permanent employment myself. I am extremely smart, hardworking and talented, but my resume seems to lack those years of experience everyone wants. I’ve gone to interviews and made it to final two and been told my interviewers were so impressed by my attitude, my energy and my ideas (which they planned on using), but that the other candidate had X more years of experience, so they hired them.

So I went into the discussion to maybe offer some support and understanding to the man struggling to find a communications job here in London. I entered the discussion and found people offering suggestions of positions to apply to, all of which he gratefully accepted or replied that he’d already applied to the position. One of those position was a position I applied to the other night and immediately tweeted “Just applied to a job that I really really want. Fingers tightly crossed on this one #fingerscrossed #jobs”

After reading the conversation on LinkedIn and creeping his profile I feel a bit deflated. This job is one that I’ve basically been applying to since I graduated. It’s the perfect job for me. It’s the right environment, with the right kind of people, doing the work I know and love. I am now painfully aware that I am once again up against at least one person with vastly more experience than me, as he graduated university before I even finish elementary school. I wish him the best and hope he finds something soon, as I know how hard it is and he is clearly more than qualified for a good position in the field.

Maybe this time for me it won’t matter that I don’t have the ‘years experience’, maybe someone will see something in my resume and be so impressed by my interview that they can’t help but hire me over the person with X years more experience. I know I deserve the opportunity, I know I am good at what I do. What I lack in experience I make up for in drive and ability to learn. I didn’t graduate at the top class for no reason, I work hard and learn fast.

I guess though if this job opportunity doesn’t pan out, there are still the other applications I sent out to positions that I thought sounded interesting.  Hopefully one of the cool job opportunities I have found will pan out, though I fear there are over qualified individuals lurking there too.

But I will remain positive! I am a great catch!

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For anyone interested in my background:

I graduated from Brock University in 2006 with an Honours Bachelor of Art in Popular Culture. I then graduated from Fanshawe College in 2008 with a post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations (CC&PR). I graduated from that program at the top of my class earning the London Life Student Award of Excellence, awarded annually at the IABC Virtuoso Awards to the student with the top GPA in the Fanshawe CC&PR program.

Examples of projects I’ve worked on:

  • Middlesex … We’re On the Way Tourism Guide 2010 (writer)
  • Me Inc. A Young Entrepreneurs Magazine (primary writer)
  • Middlesex Tourism Online Events Guide 2010
  • Middlesex Tourism Symposium 2010
  • London Chamber of Commerce Bell Comedy Auction 2008 ( Laff Your Assets Off)
  • Brock Blood Donor Campaign – with Canadian Blood Services (primary organizer)
  • Brock Residence Food and Clothing Drive (primary organizer)

I have also created numerous marketing materials for various businesses and organizations and run social media training for two not-for profits.

You can view my LinkedIn profile by visiting http://ca.linkedin.com/in/sarahcarruthers