Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting a Raise in a Bad Economy

I truly believe that I will be getting a year end raise shortly based on my performance in 2008, despite the fact that I work in an industry that's facing economic issues. Luckily I don't work in the auto industry. This is how I think you should position yourself for a raise.

1. Ensure that you work hard all year and deserve one. If you're so-so or no one ever compliments your work or you're new to the position, you probably don't deserve one at this time. On the other hand, if you're a star performer, people constantly ask you for help, and many people recognize your performance, then you probably do deserve one.

2. Provide measurable results, either revenue or cost reduction. I've worked in both areas and it's much better to be bringing in revenue. It's best if you can provide tangible numbers about how you're improving the company's bottom line.

3. Do research about industry standards. If you find that you're paid more than industry standards, don't expect any extra money to come your way when the economy is troubled.

4. Talk to your manager about your expectations. I've been positioning myself hard for promotion for about 6 months. At first my boss wasn't sure that I was ready. Last time we talked, he said he would support the promotion, but it's not guaranteed. Even if I don't get the promotion, both my boss and I know that I'm performing at that level and that I expect my salary to be bumped up to reflect that.

5. Look for alternatives. Either alternative perks at your current job such as tuition reimbursement or extra time off or an alternative job that will make you happier.

Good luck

Monday, February 09, 2009


My company is terrible about providing news about what's going on, but there have been some company layoffs.

One of my colleagues heard someone in an office next to him calling people to let them know they had been let go. Then a couple of people I had worked with in the past sent the good bye email.

In a bad economy, sometimes it's good to be performing well and underpaid. It means I'll be one of the last ones to be let go in my group.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I'm Planning a Somewhat Expensive Weekend Trip

Over Presidents Day, C and I are going to take a trip to Lake Tahoe. I think this is going to be pretty expensive. We're hoping to be able to do everything for $400 This is what we're budgeting:

Accommodations: $164
Lift Tickets/Rentals: $175
Gas: $39
Food: $22
Total: $400

Accommodations: We are going to go up for 2 nights, sharing a condo with another couple. This is the only price set in stone.

Lift tickets/Rentals: This is the major unknown. We need to do some more research on how to ski without breaking the bank. None of us have gone up to Tahoe to go skiing in a long time. If anyone has any suggestions, please provide. I also will probably need to buy some clothes. I'm new to winter sports, so at the minimal I think I need to get some pants. I already have a jacket I can wear and I can probably borrow goggle and gloves.

Gas: This is how much it cost last time we filled up

Food: This probably means we won't be eating out. If we can get the cost of lift tickets and rentals down, maybe we'll have dinner out one night.

In the grand scheme of things, $400 is a lot, but it's not that much. We will often treat family to dinner without thinking about it too much and spend $100. But this does mean we need to watch our other expenses in February.

We'll see if we can do it!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thinking About Grad School Because of the Economy?

I loved this post from Penelope Trunk about why grad school might not be the right option. Although I don't agree with everything here, it's fun to read her thoughts.

4. Law school is a factory for depressives.
It used to be that if you had a law degree it was a ticket to a high salary and a safe career. Today many people go to law school and cannot find a job. This is, in a large part, because law school selects for people who are good with details and pass tests and law firms select for people who are good at marketing themselves and can drum up business. Law firms are in a transition phase, and they have many unfair labor practices leftover from older generations, for example, hourly billing and making young lawyers pay dues for what is, today, a largely uncertain future. Which might explain why the American Bar Association reports that the majority of lawyers would recommend that people not to go into law.

I have quite a few friends who are lawyers. Most of them love it, but there are a few who have had a hard time finding the right job after grad school. The ones who are doing well typically went to really good schools and work insane hours in corporate law, but make a ton of money. I'm not sure how sustainable it will be in the long run, but they love it for now.

If I were a freshman in college, I would seriously consider becoming a pharmacist or optometrist. Both are high paying with good hours and the ability to have a flexible schedule. I think both would be excellent careers for working mothers, but that's just my opinion.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Almost No Spending for Feb 1 & Feb 2

On Sunday, we came back from a road trip. It was a family road trip, so finances were not discussed. We didn't chip in for gas since it wasn't our car we were driving. We had been planning on driving our car, but it looked like there was a problem with one of our tires, so someone else drove. With family, we are pretty loose with money. Someone, usually the parents, will pay for a lot of stuff and not ask for money back from anyone else (but note, these are very frugal family vacations - we hardly ever even go out to eat, instead we rent a place with a kitchen and cook meals). Once back we caught the end of the super bowl and ordered pizza. The parents paid for pizza. Oh wait, my husband bought some snacks at the gas station $0.89 and we picked up milk on our way home $6.50 for a gallon (yes it's expensive since we get organic). Total: $7.49.

Today I worked from home. I spent no money. I actually think I have a lot of "No Spend" days. I did mail out some books that I sold, but I had already purchased the stamps. My husband went to work, had lunch with his dad, and came home for dinner. If he didn't have lunch with his dad, he would have brown bagged it.

Basically we spent almost no money these past 2 days, but part of it was because we spent so much time with family. Luckily I didn't have to track spending on Saturday since we spent a lot more on that day (off the top of my head, $20 for lunch out, $2 for a drink, and $140 for skiing - total $162).

I think this is going to be a pretty light week in terms of spending. We don't normally go out during the weekdays, except to our church small group and the gym. For small group, everyone takes turns bring dinner and we brought dinner last week. The gym doesn't cost us anything out of pocket since we pre-paid for a 3 year membership back in 2006. Since I'm working from home, I'll pack my husband lunches and we'll have most dinners at home together. This weekend, we're going to visit my mom, who just moved to a new place. We'll probably take her out for dinner and take her shopping since she'll probably need new stuff for her place.

I might start on a traveling project later this month. In that case, I'll track what's everything I spend, mark the items that will be directly reimbursed, and just total my overall costs excluding the reimbursable expenses.

Also I just realized that I'm participating in Mrs. Micah's Where’s My Money Going? Month