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Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Update: 2019-10-287


We get a lot of questions from folks about how to quit a difficult or stressful job. But perhaps our favorite task here is to help you become better and more efficient at your current gig--so maybe you won’t have to quit, or resort to anxiety meds.

And to that end, Liz and Rico are talking to one of their favorite guests: Morten T. Hansen. Hansen is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the book, “Great at Work.” He’s here to explain a research-based list of “work smarter practices,” including shaking things up at meetings.

Then, in this week’s Bad Advice segment, Liz and Rico parse whether a knock ‘em dead interview performance really matters.

And later, listener Michelle gets some solace from Liz and Rico, and some strategies on how to deal with a nightmare of a supervisor in her Ph.D. program.

Finally, we’ll hear from listener Kate who’s thanking us for getting her more money at work! And with her permission, here’s the letter that got her that salary bump (all names have been removed to protect the innocent ;) !

Hi, XX. To follow up with our conversation this morning about my contract, I wanted to lay out what I’m thinking for you since I know you’ll have to take my request up the chain to get an answer.

I am asking if there is any flexibility regarding the salary amount that was offered. I’m assuming that $XX is the standard salary that is offered to recent college graduates at XX, but I feel that my skills, work experience, and accomplishments are worth more than a typical college graduate just entering the workforce.

My prior work experience with helping to make decisions at XX and my experience there and at XX is particularly helpful in this position since I’m already familiar with the flow of business operations and common applications many of our clients use, and I understand where they’re coming from when they approach us with questions or needing assistance. I’ve also demonstrated strong leadership skills both in my personal and professional life, but also recently with the different things I’ve been involved with at XX. I served as Vice President of the XX there, and will be President of the XX chapter this fall... As you know, I ran that XX program there this past season, and it was a great success – we won the XX award, I think for the very first time. In December I’ll be graduating at the very top of my class with honors.

We’re putting this contract in place pretty early. In seven months when this contract goes into effect I will have worked here for a full year, and will be even more valuable to the firm than I am now. I’ll be very familiar with the flow of information and will have completed all of the trainings available. I think that puts me in a different category than most new hires. Everyone I’ve spoken with for career advice in school tells me that the starting salary for XX students after graduation is in the $XX range. I imagine that is more typical for the larger [companies] so I’m not surprised that XX’s normal starting salary is lower than that, but I was hoping for an offer that was in the higher range because of my experience, skills, and accomplishments.

I love everything about working at XX. I can tell that it’s a [company] that truly cares about both its clients and employees. I’ve been impressed with all of the departments I’ve worked with from HR to training, to my manager/partner and coworkers. I’ve done well here so far, and I expect to perform even better once my attention is no longer split between working here and managing a full load of classes & school responsibilities. I’m ambitious and I do good work, so I expect to hit the ground running in January. I want to make sure my salary reflects that, so I hope the firm will consider starting me at a higher salary.  

For more on the ins and outs of negotiating for what you want, listen to our episode on all things salary related here.

As always, if you've got a burning workplace question and need some advice, don't hesitate to send us an email (that email, unsurprisingly, is also You can also find us on Twitter, we’re @SafeFor Work. Don't forget to follow our sage hosts on Twitter, too; they're @SSLiz and @RicoGagliano. And if you want to check out Liz’s other show, Satellite Sisters, you can find it on Apple Podcasts or Art19.









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Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder