Author Topic: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED  (Read 1499 times)

Goldy

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Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« on: November 05, 2018, 07:49:40 PM »
Iím currently a project manager in a science based field working for a fortune 500 company.  I enjoy my job and have worked for the company my entire career (13 years).  The project I am a part of is being sold to another company and it sounds like I will be seconded to this other company for 2-3 years before coming back.  All of my benefits/paychecks/employee stock remains the same however I will be expected to lead this project without all of the support that comes with a large company.

My past few annual reviews have been excellent however the promotion I have been chasing continues to elude me.  Iím the expert at this current project so I feel like it is a good time to leverage this and secure the promotion.  However, I donít know how to phrase this conversation.

I had a conversation with my boss about it and basically explained how I appreciate the opportunity and would like to discuss how this new role is beyond my current position.  He got evasive at this point and explained how we arenít in the right part of the cycle to discuss promotions.  He did say that he had put my name in for one this last time around.

To me having a formal secondment is the perfect time to discuss this.  Itís like a totally new job so in my mind itís acceptable to negotiate a bit here.  My concern is that if I donít get promoted now I certainly wonít get promoted while on secondment because the other company has no incentive to do so.

How should I phrase my next discussion with my boss when he hands me secondment forms to sign?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 06:17:02 AM by Goldy »

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 08:48:11 PM »
Is it normal in your environment to work in in the same company for 13 years?  I ask because this might be one of the reason your boss became evasive - he might not believe that you should get promoted because you've been around for a few years and there is no risk of you leaving if you are not promoted. 

However, you have options.  Have you managed projects that resulted in your employer earning more money?  Any publications based on the results of the research?  New intellectual property?  Prepare a list of your accomplishments.  Add monetary value when available or calculable.  Knowing how valuable you are will help you in steering the promotion discussion.  Do you expect to get more responsibilities when you move to the second company?  Add this to your talking points.  Best of luck!

Goldy

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2018, 04:30:45 AM »
Thanks for the reply.

Long lengths of employment is normal in this industry, my boss has over 35 years with the same company and there are many others like that.  I do think they donít think I will be a risk to leave which may factor into this.

The projects I have lead are multi million dollar projects and all the feedback I receive is great.  There will be greater responsibilities in the new role so Iíll just make a list of my accomplishments like you suggested.

jinga nation

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 08:53:39 AM »
@Goldy I'm surprised you're not getting a retention bonus. Normally, when business divisions/projects are sold to another company, a retention bonus is paid to key personnel to keep them for N years to help with the transition and continued business/technical operations.

If you're not getting anything to stay, you may not be considered key personnel. Maybe time to look around, light a fire under current boss, and get some $$$ to stay. You are an engineer, you need to engineer your own promotion/pay raise.

*This is coming from an engineer.

FIFoFum

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 09:17:03 AM »
How is your salary and benefits? Are you being paid market rate for your work? It's hard to give advice without knowing this. In negotiating due to a change in your position - new role, other company - it is critical to link the things you will be doing with what the market pays.

(1) Figure out specifically what you want. You say "promotion" - but do you want a new title? higher pay? something else? Make a list of the thing you want, so you have something to approach your company with in your request. Can you get what you want without a formal promotion "cycle" happening?

(2) Look for another job. You have zero leverage if they know you won't leave, and they have no reason to give you anything. You need to know what your options are, and you need to decide what your "or else" is if your company doesn't want to do anything differently. It may be that there isn't anything out there for you, or you'll already being paid the most you would be.

Good luck!

Lady SA

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 10:23:07 AM »
Are there any documents at your company that detail the skills/requirements for each promotional level? I made a comparison document with all of the requirements for the next level and showcased (with evidence) how I was meeting and exceeding every one. I went through it with my manager section by section and got him to agree that I deserved a promotion. Once I had that agreement, I was a pain in the ass at each one-on-one I had with him, I kept asking what progress had been made towards promoting me (I asked for his concrete steps to induce some accountability on his part). He would feel a little sheepish when no progress was being made, and then I would make some disappointed noises about how "Being at this (current) level is not working for me".

I also began interviewing at outside places, just to get a feel for the local market and to validate that my skills commanded the level/salary I was expecting. I never really wanted to leave my company, but I did learn concretely that I was being underpaid and that really gave me the confidence to ask for what I wanted, because I had a bit of a "safety net".

After I had the information that I was meeting the expectations of the next level (and the agreement of my leaders) but there STILL  really wasn't a lot of urgency within my company to promote me, and there were other companies that would likely hire me, I was brave enough tell my manager something along the lines of "Manager, I've given it some thought, and I would like a promotion and measurable pay increase *now*/by end of the year/soon timeframe. Otherwise, I'll have to start looking at my other options." (a very subtle "I'm willing to leave over this" threat and slight white lie because I had already been looking at options, but it gives him a grace period to make something happen before you go nuclear, essentially).
I did this statement in person, and I just dropped it and silently held eye contact (this indicates confidence and is a subtle power move). Don't elaborate or go into reasons why you deserve it -- he should already know all that information from the previous conversations you should have beforehand to pave the path and it weakens your message. Don't process with him or let him distract you with reasons why it isn't possible. If he goes off the rails or answers with anything other than "ok, I understand", you gently interrupt him with a head shake and a "no, no, manager, what I am saying is, I would like a promotion now, or I'll have to start looking at my other options." *power move*

^^All of this is predicated on you doing the ground work first, and being 100% confident that you are absolutely meeting (or even better, exceeding) the expectations/skill sets required for the level you are seeking, and you can take a bit of a risk. This also requires that you are relatively important to the functioning of your team. My power move worked because I was integral to the functioning of 4 (!) high priority teams that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each, every year. My manager needed a bit of a whack over the head with a clue-by-four to get the message that I was dead serious about getting this done, but not on his lazy timeline. It ended up working out perfectly for me--I got promoted within 2 weeks after breaking out my subtle "I'll have to start looking at options" threat, and it came with a 16% salary increase that brought me up to market rate for the new title.

You also have to be prepared to actually leave the company if they don't value you as much as you think they do. If they scoff/dismiss your request out of hand and call your bluff, and you slink away with your tail tucked, you'll undermine any leverage you currently have. But would you really want to work somewhere you aren't valued? That's why I interviewed beforehand, to brush up on my interview skills and also validate that I could find something fair quickly if I did end up leaving. But I am really glad I got to stay at my current company once they paid me a fair wage that I am happy with.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 10:37:18 AM by Lady SA »

Goldy

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 11:12:58 AM »
Are there any documents at your company that detail the skills/requirements for each promotional level? I made a comparison document with all of the requirements for the next level and showcased (with evidence) how I was meeting and exceeding every one. I went through it with my manager section by section and got him to agree that I deserved a promotion. Once I had that agreement, I was a pain in the ass at each one-on-one I had with him, I kept asking what progress had been made towards promoting me (I asked for his concrete steps to induce some accountability on his part). He would feel a little sheepish when no progress was being made, and then I would make some disappointed noises about how "Being at this (current) level is not working for me".

I also began interviewing at outside places, just to get a feel for the local market and to validate that my skills commanded the level/salary I was expecting. I never really wanted to leave my company, but I did learn concretely that I was being underpaid and that really gave me the confidence to ask for what I wanted, because I had a bit of a "safety net".

After I had the information that I was meeting the expectations of the next level (and the agreement of my leaders) but there STILL  really wasn't a lot of urgency within my company to promote me, and there were other companies that would likely hire me, I was brave enough tell my manager something along the lines of "Manager, I've given it some thought, and I would like a promotion and measurable pay increase *now*/by end of the year/soon timeframe. Otherwise, I'll have to start looking at my other options." (a very subtle "I'm willing to leave over this" threat and slight white lie because I had already been looking at options, but it gives him a grace period to make something happen before you go nuclear, essentially).
I did this statement in person, and I just dropped it and silently held eye contact (this indicates confidence and is a subtle power move). Don't elaborate or go into reasons why you deserve it -- he should already know all that information from the previous conversations you should have beforehand to pave the path and it weakens your message. Don't process with him or let him distract you with reasons why it isn't possible. If he goes off the rails or answers with anything other than "ok, I understand", you gently interrupt him with a head shake and a "no, no, manager, what I am saying is, I would like a promotion now, or I'll have to start looking at my other options." *power move*

^^All of this is predicated on you doing the ground work first, and being 100% confident that you are absolutely meeting (or even better, exceeding) the expectations/skill sets required for the level you are seeking, and you can take a bit of a risk. This also requires that you are relatively important to the functioning of your team. My power move worked because I was integral to the functioning of 4 (!) high priority teams that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each, every year. My manager needed a bit of a whack over the head with a clue-by-four to get the message that I was dead serious about getting this done, but not on his lazy timeline. It ended up working out perfectly for me--I got promoted within 2 weeks after breaking out my subtle "I'll have to start looking at options" threat, and it came with a 16% salary increase that brought me up to market rate for the new title.

You also have to be prepared to actually leave the company if they don't value you as much as you think they do. If they scoff/dismiss your request out of hand and call your bluff, and you slink away with your tail tucked, you'll undermine any leverage you currently have. But would you really want to work somewhere you aren't valued? That's why I interviewed beforehand, to brush up on my interview skills and also validate that I could find something fair quickly if I did end up leaving. But I am really glad I got to stay at my current company once they paid me a fair wage that I am happy with.

These responses are great and Lady SA really hit it on the head for my particular case.  I have had meetings with my manager once and twice removed and all of the feedback has been very high praise with them telling me that I am in the top tier and often have an annual score in that puts me in the top 3 (of 60ish).  I am proactive when it comes to asking for feedback and have made good use of the feedback I have received in the past but the last couple of reviews there was noting to improve upon according to my boss.  I'm clearly already working at the next level based on the corporate role description and have discussed this with my manager who agrees but nothing ever seems to come of it.

I work in a satellite office so I don't have constant face time with the higher ups which I do believe is a detriment to getting promoted.  My other personal issue is that I am pretty quiet and reserved so I haven't highlighted my accomplishments as boldly as I should.  It feels rude but it seems like the only way to get noticed.

I've started on my resume and found some positions to apply for to gauge market rates.  I'm willing to take a stand on this and be firm with my boss so having some data to back it up can only help. 

Once I see the written agreement a lot of my questions (like retention bonus etc) will be answered.  Right now its all talk but I have laid out my expectations so it shouldn't be a surprise when I stand firm.

Lady SA

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 11:37:48 AM »
I had a conversation with my boss about it and basically explained how I appreciate the opportunity and would like to discuss how this new role is beyond my current position.  He got evasive at this point and explained how we arenít in the right part of the cycle to discuss promotions.  He did say that he had put my name in for one this last time around.

To me having a formal secondment is the perfect time to discuss this.  Itís like a totally new job so in my mind itís acceptable to negotiate a bit here.  My concern is that if I donít get promoted now I certainly wonít get promoted while on secondment because the other company has no incentive to do so.

How should I phrase my next discussion with my boss when he hands me secondment forms to sign?

To answer your actual question because I kinda ignored it in my previous post:
I would set up a separate meeting ahead of this secondment forms signing specifically to discuss your current level. It makes it easier for everyone involved if he gets a few weeks of runway to get through any red tape ahead of when any forms need to be signed. Your boss will appreciate you not making his life more stressful by waiting until he needs to button up the secondment stuff to hit him with demands.

Set up that separate meeting, and come prepared with documents showcasing that you are already performing at the level you are targeting and lay out with concrete numbers what value you bring to the company and his team. Revenue/$ saved, etc is always great, but other metrics are also important, research and find those and put them in your document. You should also learn more about the promotion system at your company, and if you are ok with waiting until then. If you are not, you need to lead him towards that after a bit of leading... You need to find out who is responsible for signing off on promotions and coming up with a game plan with your manager to get them willing to do this within the timeframe you need.
Also consider if you willing to leave your position over this? What salary/title is acceptable to you?

"Boss, I would like to discuss my level here at Company. As you know, I am currently at X level, but I believe I am performing at Y level. My past few annual reviews have been excellent, I am leading this big project, and I bring $ABC value to this company. According to Z document that sets out expectations for the levels, I am performing at Y level. *Go through specific, concrete examples, with numbers/metrics are even more persuasive*
Would you agree that I am performing at Y level?"

Here, he will either agree and you can move onto the next step, or he will be evasive or tell you he can't promote you. However, that isn't the question you asked--you asked if he agreed you were performing at the level. Keep bringing him back to that question until he either agrees or disagrees. Then you have concrete next steps.
If he disagrees, you need to find out what you need to be doing in order to be seriously considered to be performing at level Y.
If he agrees, you have caught him, and now you can start leading him towards making concrete steps to make it happen on your accelerated timeline. After all, if you are already performing at that level, and both you and he know it, then the company doesn't really have much of an excuse beyond laziness to not promote you.

Ok, so let's assume he agrees. He has taken the bait, and now you can spring the trap.

"Excellent, thank you. Being at my current level is not working for me. What needs to happen in order to get this through?"

This is where he will likely get evasive (we arenít in the right part of the cycle to discuss promotions, its out of his hands, etc). Be firm. Keep repeating yourself -- "My current level is not working for me. I am performing at Y level. What needs to happen to make that a reality?" *stare, power move* Put him on the defense, make him give you excuses for why this can't happen. Then you will have more information to make a plan to take down each of those barriers.
Do not let him dismiss you. Promotions can absolutely happen outside the normal cycle. They are more difficult, yes, but they absolutely happen (but usually only for good reason, such as retaining good personnel). Your boss may even unintentionally give you a kernel of information like mine did: "Leaders will only consider promotions outside the normal cycle for flight risks." Boom, there it was... I just needed to be a credible flight risk and then I get what I want.

I don't really recommend this, as it can make you look petty if your company culture isn't right, but if he is refusing to budge and just throwing up excuses to not go after this on a timeframe that is acceptable to you, you could also consider signaling that you are unwilling to take on responsibilities beyond what is in your existing job title. I did actually do this, because my current level was supposed to support only 1 team, but I was being asked to take on my 4th team. I signaled that I would not take on those additional responsibilities until my title matched my day-to-day work, and it hasn't backfired on me (in fact, I'm now leading 5 teams, 6 months after promotion). You want to be careful not to cast yourself in a light that indicates you aren't a team player or willing to take on responsibilities when needed, but you are well within your rights to ask for fair compensation for the work you do and the value you bring. But I would say this technique only works if you are refusing responsibilities that are beyond the level you are shooting for. You want to stay within working at the level you are shooting for even if you don't take on additional responsibilities. For example, if I refused to take on a 2nd team until I was promoted, that 2nd team was the bare minimum for the level I was targeting, so I would have been shooting myself in the foot. But refusing to take on team #3 or #4, that is beyond the minimum required for the higher title and if I didn't take them on, I was still within that title's scope of responsibilities, so it doesn't reflect quite as "pettily" on me. Hope that makes sense.
edit: maybe a good way to phrase this is "I will be willing to sign the secondment documents once my title matches those responsibilities you are asking me to take on." This indicates you are willing to do it and *will* once certain circumstances are met.

Hopefully, you get him around to actually talking about the promotion process and who he needs to talk to/forms he needs to submit, whatever. From there, you pivot to getting him on the path of actively pursuing those next steps. My manager got on a roll and convinced himself to start the process, and asked me to send him my "promotion argument document" so he could put some of my evidence in his proposal. Then you just need to check in on his progress when you bump into him in the hall, set up a recurring meeting to check in, etc. Keep it front of mind for him to solve this problem by bringing it up often.
Phrases like "Ok. what will you do first?" "When will you do it?" "Do you need anything from me before you get started?" "How soon do you think [step] can happen?" Are all excellent for leading people to make specific, near-term plans of action. Then write those steps and agreements on execution down, and then tell him "ok. I'll check in on Friday/whenever to see if you need anything for [next step]." That will give him some warning that he needs to get step 1 done before Friday, and then its onto step 2.

If you hit a hard wall or snag or lack of urgency after all that, you need to dig/probe your manager as to why this stalled. Is it because they only consider promotions for flight risks? Is it because your manager isn't very persuasive? A missing document? At each step you need to investigate why it isn't moving, and then fix the problem. For example, if the higher ups just wont consider promotions now, what can you do to make your case a priority? Be a flight risk? Then I would suggest before the secondment signing, that you signal your willingness to leave if this problem isn't resolved in the near future. If you want to ultimately stay at the company, this can be risky, but if you signal just your willingness to simply look at options, not go all the way to actually threatening to leave, that could do the trick without much hassle.

For this first meeting, you need to be clear about what you want to get out of it, and you need a CLEAR ASK of your manager. Whether you want a pay increase or the actual title, and when it is acceptable to you to receive it. And during this meeting, you need to gather information and come out of it with clear actionable next steps that your manager will be taking to meet your needs. Then do a few check ins between now and the secondment document signing.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 12:10:45 PM by Lady SA »

Goldy

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 06:16:17 AM »
UPDATE

It took a long time for the company to get everything in order but a few weeks ago they finally sent me the secondment letter officially transferring me to the new company for a couple years.  This transfer is a step change in responsibility but the letter clearly states that my pay and benefits will remain the same.  I called up my boss to once again voice my concerns of signing such a contract but this wasnít going anywhere productive so I said I would not sign it.  That got his attention and his mood changed, he laughed and said ďI love it when employees think they have leverageĒ. (I think he was trying to be funny and did not intend it to be as much of an ass comment as it sounds written here)

I slept better after that call than I have in months.

About 10 mins after that call his boss called me up and tried to talk me into it but I calmly explained my concerns and hesitations and the call ended without resolution. 

Two weeks later I get an email with a promotion letter and a 30% increase in pay!  The recognition feels great but standing up for yourself with the confidence of FU money feels amazing.

A big thanks to everyone here who helped me frame this discussion.

Montecarlo

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 06:55:09 AM »
UPDATE

It took a long time for the company to get everything in order but a few weeks ago they finally sent me the secondment letter officially transferring me to the new company for a couple years.  This transfer is a step change in responsibility but the letter clearly states that my pay and benefits will remain the same.  I called up my boss to once again voice my concerns of signing such a contract but this wasnít going anywhere productive so I said I would not sign it.  That got his attention and his mood changed, he laughed and said ďI love it when employees think they have leverageĒ. (I think he was trying to be funny and did not intend it to be as much of an ass comment as it sounds written here)

I slept better after that call than I have in months.

About 10 mins after that call his boss called me up and tried to talk me into it but I calmly explained my concerns and hesitations and the call ended without resolution. 

Two weeks later I get an email with a promotion letter and a 30% increase in pay!  The recognition feels great but standing up for yourself with the confidence of FU money feels amazing.

A big thanks to everyone here who helped me frame this discussion.
,

Wow, congrats!!!

Gronnie

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 10:24:41 AM »
UPDATE

It took a long time for the company to get everything in order but a few weeks ago they finally sent me the secondment letter officially transferring me to the new company for a couple years.  This transfer is a step change in responsibility but the letter clearly states that my pay and benefits will remain the same.  I called up my boss to once again voice my concerns of signing such a contract but this wasnít going anywhere productive so I said I would not sign it.  That got his attention and his mood changed, he laughed and said ďI love it when employees think they have leverageĒ. (I think he was trying to be funny and did not intend it to be as much of an ass comment as it sounds written here)

I slept better after that call than I have in months.

About 10 mins after that call his boss called me up and tried to talk me into it but I calmly explained my concerns and hesitations and the call ended without resolution. 

Two weeks later I get an email with a promotion letter and a 30% increase in pay!  The recognition feels great but standing up for yourself with the confidence of FU money feels amazing.

A big thanks to everyone here who helped me frame this discussion.

Sounds like his leverage comment was sincere and not nearly as ahole-ish as it sounds when written out if he got it done for you. Congrats!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 11:07:01 AM by Gronnie »

mm1970

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 10:54:28 AM »
UPDATE

It took a long time for the company to get everything in order but a few weeks ago they finally sent me the secondment letter officially transferring me to the new company for a couple years.  This transfer is a step change in responsibility but the letter clearly states that my pay and benefits will remain the same.  I called up my boss to once again voice my concerns of signing such a contract but this wasnít going anywhere productive so I said I would not sign it.  That got his attention and his mood changed, he laughed and said ďI love it when employees think they have leverageĒ. (I think he was trying to be funny and did not intend it to be as much of an ass comment as it sounds written here)

I slept better after that call than I have in months.

About 10 mins after that call his boss called me up and tried to talk me into it but I calmly explained my concerns and hesitations and the call ended without resolution. 

Two weeks later I get an email with a promotion letter and a 30% increase in pay!  The recognition feels great but standing up for yourself with the confidence of FU money feels amazing.

A big thanks to everyone here who helped me frame this discussion.
You know I love this so much.

Boss...meet leverage.  Leverage...meet boss.

lakemom

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 11:08:52 AM »
Good for you! Congrats

markbike528CBX

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Re: Help me land a promotion
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2019, 11:50:58 AM »
UPDATE
...snip....
The recognition feels great but standing up for yourself with the confidence of FU money feels amazing.

This is an EPIC FU money story.  Congrats!
What is really great is that Goldy did not even have to explicitly or even implicitly mention the presence of FU money. It was just there, underpinning the confidence.   

ysette9

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2019, 11:57:46 AM »
Nicely done. Great update. Good luck with your new position.

Freedom2016

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2019, 12:54:52 PM »
This is a great thread.

Congrats Goldy!

brute

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2019, 12:58:34 PM »
Crushed it. Awesome work, and now they know they can't push you around!

Ftao93

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2019, 01:09:04 PM »
Awesome!  Glad it worked out!

warehouse

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Re: Help me land a promotion ó UPDATED
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2019, 07:56:08 AM »
This is great!! Love that you stood your ground and got the pay you deserve for the role.