Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 25 – the jobs and careers context 24

This is my 25th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-24.)

I actively began addressing the issues that I would consider in this series, after an initial orienting Part 1, with a focus on finding and landing a new job and on the initial new hire probationary period that would follow that. Then I turned in Part 24 to consider more general contexts and issues that call for negotiating and related supportive skills, and of types that can and do arise throughout an employment tenure with a particular business or other organization. And I offered an at least initial starter list of scenarios that can and with time will arise and for many if not most employees and regardless of their level or type of responsibility there: hands-on non-managerial, or senior executive or somewhere in between. One of the key issues that that starter list touched upon and explicitly so, was job change and both through promotion and vertical shift up the table of organization, and more lateral shift – which might or might not serve as prelude to promotion too.

To clarify what I am doing here, and with some specific feedback in mind that I have received from earlier postings to this series as I do so, my focus in this is on jobs and work opportunities that you would want and that you would actively seek out, and both for working with a particular employer and for advancing through the ranks there, according to your abilities and your desires insofar as you can shape what transpires there from your actions and from how effectively you can communicate them. To be more specific, I offered a separate series in this blog and in its Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development that does in fact address the issues and challenges of difficult and problematical work places and working environments, where an emphasis might be more on staying or leaving, but with open eyes and a deeper awareness and understanding of the possibilities that you might face. For that, see: Should I Stay or Should I Go? as can be found at Page 3 of that Guide, as its postings 416-458. And see in particular, in that context, that series’ Parts 2-11. Subsequent series installments as offered there, focus more on “should stay” possibilities, successively examining a progression of differing workplace possibilities that you might seek employment at, as starter resources for considering how they might be good fits for you. Parts 2-11 explicitly raise and address the at least perhaps “should go” side to all of that.

This noted, I turn to and repeat my Part 24 starter topics list for moving forward in this portion of this series:

1. Changes in tasks assigned, and resources that would at least nominally be available for them: timeline allowances and work hour requirements definitely included there,
2. Salary and overall compensation changes,
3. Overall longer-term workplace and job responsibility changes and constraints box issues as change might challenge or enable your reaching your goals there,
4. Promotions and lateral moves,
5. Dealing with difficult people – see my Should I stay or Go series, among other resources already in place here (as can be found at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3),
6. And negotiating possible downsizings and business-wide events that might lead to them. I add this example last on this list because navigating this type of challenge as effectively as possible, calls for skills in dealing with all of the other issues on this list and more, and with real emphasis on Plan B preparation and planning, and execution too, as touched upon in Part 23.

And I explicitly turn to consider the above-repeated Scenario 1 that I began that list with, and scope shift if not always explicit expansive scope creep in what you are required to do as core responsibilities in your job, and how resources allowed for that might or might not change accordingly too. And let’s begin considering this from the perspective of what you would do, and then consider resources that you could turn to for that, in this type of shifting context.

At least as a starting point, it does not matter for purposes of this discussion what specifically leads to the types of work requirement changes that I raise here.

• Businesses evolve and change in what they do in fulfilling their basic business model, and change and evolve as a result of that in both the technology and the business processes that they have to have carried out. As a result of that, they have to be able to adapt to and build new ways and new priorities into themselves for what they do and how, operationally, and both to meet internal business needs and in response to marketplace change with its shifts in what their customers and potential customers demand. This leads to changes in what employees there have to do and in what they have to be able to do as far as their hands-on skills and experience are concerned.
• Overall workloads can shift, with that usually meaning “expand” and certainly as a business grows.
• And headcount does not always keep up with the changes that either of those two bullet points cover, meaning a same employee base already in place having to do new things and increased levels of already-held task responsibilities as well.
• People leave and are not always replaced – once again meaning employees in place having to do more, and at times with their doing what is at least new to them there too as a part of that.
• Project work can lead to ongoing new standard practice tasks and responsibilities, as can taking on new types of clients as the business shifts and evolves what it does and what it offers to market.
• And I have only touched upon a few of the possibilities here for how work responsibility scope creep and shift can happen, leaving for last, at least for now the consequences of a well known adage: “no good deed goes unpunished.” The best employees in a team, who perform the most effectively and consistently so can find themselves facing new work requirements – and precisely because those new requirements are considered important and of high priority and because they are very good at their jobs.
• But the Why of this does not really matter here, at least for now in this discussion – just the What of it, and for purposes of this series, the How best to respond to and manage this change so as to keep it manageable and effectively so for you.
• One of my early postings in this blog comes forcefully to mind for me as I write this: A Critique of the Peter Principle – career as a series of growth and transition phases. I had issues and possibilities of the type that I raise and address here in this series in mind as one source of the problems that employees can come to face, when writing that posting. I strongly recommend you’re reading that as supplemental to this discussion.

So let’s approach this from the Why perspective, by simply noting that the tasks that you are expected to carry out and required to do, are all viewed as important to your own direct immediate supervisor there. And the more significant of them from that perspective might very well be of real importance in the thinking of their supervisor too, and even higher up on the table of organization as well – at least as general considerations that your particular work responsibilities would actively support and enable.

Together and only considering the issues raised in this discussion up to here, this all means adding more to your to-do list and quite possibly with no accommodations made to make that more possible for you, let alone easier. And that is where negotiations enter this narrative:

• And for what you might set aside from your current work responsibilities as you take on new,
• What you might be allowed to shift to a lower priority in what you still have to do from your old and ongoing work, with more relaxed completion schedules allowed for that where necessary,
• And for what resources you might be allowed for doing all of this – specific colleague support included, when and as needed and with the schedule and responsibilities juggling that this would involve and the negotiations that this would involve too, included as you seek to accommodate their needs too.
• I will turn to this complex of issues in my next installment to this series, building from this posting’s foundational start to that, there.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 4 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material.

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