With the first season of the New York Women in Communications podcast Coffee Break w/NYWICI in the books, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite episodes to revisit the wise words and compelling conversations we’ve had with some of the brightest women in media and communications.
To kick off this series, let’s look back at Episode 4 (Episode 4 on iTunes | Episode 4 on Soundcloud). Our guest was Megan Hess, Mobile and Emerging Platforms Editor at Bloomberg LP and Chair of the NYWICI Young Professionals Committee. Megan had so many interesting insights to share and her advice was thoughtful and actionable.
How to tactfully move on from your current role
Ready to pursue other job opportunities? Megan suggested taking a “gratitude approach” when speaking with your current boss. “Focus on thanking them for how much you’ve grown there and how much you’ve learned, but say that it’s time for you to take an opportunity elsewhere so you can pursue a certain skill set,” she said. Megan brought up the importance of never burning bridges and keeping the conversation positive. If you have more critical feedback about your job or overall experience at a company, an exit interview with the HR department is a more appropriate (and confidential) place to share your thoughts.
How to prepare for a negotiation
When the time comes to negotiate, Megan advised starting early. A few months before you plan to ask for the raise, have a conversation with your boss to start laying the groundwork. Megan suggested asking, “What do I need to be doing to get me to the next step?” to not only provide a framework for you to work toward a promotion, but also to clue your boss into the fact that you’re thinking about moving up in your role.
Megan shared how she maintains a running list of the projects she’s worked on. When it’s time to negotiate, she references that list of work and contributions to build an effective case for a raise. The list can also serve as tangible evidence that you listened to your boss’s feedback about what needs to be done to move up, and you’ve effectively filled in those gaps through your work.
How to think a few steps ahead
Many of the jobs we have now, particularly in media and communications, didn’t exist just a few years ago. How do you prepare for what new roles might be available in the next few years? For Megan, honing in on her interests and her sense of where the industry was going was a crucial part of priming herself for her current job working on Bloomberg’s mobile app. “I took steps to make myself viable for the sorts of positions that are going to be opening up.” Recognizing the skill set that would be most valuable for the roles she wanted, Megan took an important first step by enrolling in a coding class (supported by the NYWICI Member Empowerment Grant). The skills from that class set her apart and primed her to take on a role as Mobile and Emerging Platforms Editor at Bloomberg LP.
How (and when) to set boundaries
Setting boundaries at work is a complicated process that involves an ongoing dialogue with your boss. Saying “yes” to opportunities, especially early in your career, is key for establishing a reputation as a team player and dependable employee. However, if your workload is overwhelming or you feel that it makes sense to decline certain opportunities or tasks, Megan offered tips for tactfully saying ‘no’. “The secret is not actually saying no. You can put the ball back in your boss’s court,” she said. She emphasized the importance of the phrase “Can you help me prioritize?” as a way to convey a willingness to get the job done efficiently.
How to cope with failure
Megan noted that for women in particular, it can be a challenge to separate personal and professional failures. “It’s really important for success to emotionally separate the two,” she said, adding that becoming comfortable with failure is challenging but essential. “The more you fail, the more you become familiar with the idea of failure and the less scary and career-ending it feels.”
Thanks to Megan Hess for being part of the podcast! To listen to the complete first season of Coffee Break w/ NYWICI, visit nywici.org/podcast.