By Dominique Rodgers
Monster Contributing Writer
Everyone likes to think they’re working in the most honest, successful and stable organization around, but let’s face it -- that can’t always be the case. Organizations are made of people and people aren’t always honest. Even when they’re not deliberately deceptive, people may tend to put a positive spin on things.
To look out for your best interests on the job, keep in mind these three common ways employers misrepresent things to employees.
“Work-life balance” is a hot buzzword in business these days because people are tired of giving everything to their employer and losing time with family, friends and hobbies. When a company says it’s important for its employees to have work-life balance, it conjures images of dinner at home every night, weekend soccer games and maybe an annual summer vacation.
Reality is often quite different, though, says Marc DeBoer, a former executive headhunter and current president of A Better Interview, a website devoted to helping job seekers perform better during interviews. “Most companies know that their employees will be working upwards of 60 hours per week as there is still so much uncertainty in the economy. Because the economy is in turmoil, companies have been cutting back on resources.” Layoffs at your office may have forced people to do double duty for a while.
A lot of employees are hired with promises of an annual bonus on top of their regular salary. “If we do well as a company, we all share the rewards” is often a big lie, says Jacob Shriar, growth manager for Officevibe, an employment engagement software company. This may not be an intentional lie, he says. Instead, it’s likely the company just didn’t hit its financial goals and did not have the cash to pay bonuses.
Even the best companies have bad years. To combat any negative effects on your bottom line, you can either budget for the year as if the bonus won’t happen and then have a pleasant surplus if it does, or get specific goals and criteria for your bonus in writing when you negotiate your salary and other benefits.
When you were hired, it’s entirely possible that your manager wanted you to advance along a certain path. You may have even been promised additional training and resources for your professional development that since haven’t panned out. Yes, it’s possible you were totally lied to, but it’s also possible your supervisor’s timeline just doesn’t match yours, says Stacy Lindenberg, owner of Talent Seed Consulting, an organizational development company.
The solution, says Lindenberg, is simply to ask and be specific. Sit down with your supervisor and restate your desire for advancement. Ask about the anticipated trajectory, timeline and benchmarks.