#SQLRally Women in Technology Panel of WIN AND AWESOMENESS

Best. Luncheon. EVAR.

I just finished up moderating this year’s Women in Technology panel here at SQLRally, and it was fantastic.  SQLSentry sponsored (thanks!), and our panelists were SQL notables Erin Welker (@sqlbigirl), Jen Stirrup (@jenstirrup), and Wes Brown (@SQLServerIO)*.

The topic was absolutely brilliant: Negotiation. The abstract:

Whether you are searching for a new job or simply needing to relocate your desk, you need the right tools to make your request effective. Come hear how our Women in Technology (WIT) panel of experts have tackled these issues, and learn how you can give yourself the best opportunity to negotiate for what you want.

 Man, did they deliver. Among the points discussed…

When negotiating, presentation is key

  • You can be too polite. You can polite yourself right out of big raises.  (Ask. What’s the worst that can happen?)
  • We universally undervalue ourselves.  IT folk are reclusive and accommodating.
  • On dealing with resume gaps: Don’t be apologetic. You “took a sabbatical” (whether you did so to raise kids, or whatever, it’s still a great way to phrase it.)

Arm yourself with help and information

  • Get coaching from those who’ve done negotiations.
  • How do you know what rate to ask? How do you know how to value yourself?  Maybe we just need to be better educated. Answer: the internet!

Have goals

  • “Money is the means to the end, not the end.”
  • On balancing salary against intangibles and “rate per hour” (higher salary may mean more hours). “It depends.” And, ask! Ask about work environment, especially if you know people on the inside.
  • Write down what you want, and use that as a reference when you’re fielding offers.
  • Ask why the last person left, how many people have gone in the last year.
  • Website recommendation: www.GlassDoor.com – People anonymously review places of employment. Cool!

Protect yourself!

  • Business is business; businesses watch out for themselves, not you!
  • Know and use basic negotiating tactics.

Final thoughts and notes

We have a few more notes that came out of the question and answer period:

  • Salary.com and payscale.com
  • Don’t negotiate from a point of weakness
  • Careful about contracts, especially IP
  • Consider having a lawyer review your contract
  • Review your state laws

 And finally, my own thoughts:

  • Wes was an excellent choice. He has a ton of solid career advice.
  • So was Erin. She’s an experienced SQL professional, and one of my favorite people to speak to about career issues.
  • And so was Jen. I particularly was pleased that she was able to pull up statistics specific to what we were speaking on!**

 A final thanks to everyone, and see you next time. Happy days!
Jen McCown

* Alphabetized by first name, so there.
** And no, that wasn’t scripted…none of the session was.

Thanks to @SQLBalls and @SQLChicken for the pix!

2 thoughts on “#SQLRally Women in Technology Panel of WIN AND AWESOMENESS”

  1. The first is if I was the hiring manager I’d prefer you tell me “I took time off to raise my kids” as opposed to “I took a sabbatical.” The first says “I had actual important shit to do that legitimately made a job not feasible.” The second says “I like to give bullshit answers,” which would be great if I was interviewing someone for sales. However, that’s just me, and as my wife says “no one thinks like you Justin.”

    On a more serious note, if I was a former stay at home mom, and concerned employers might not like that, I’d go out of my way to slip that in during job interviews. This way whoever hired me would probably not have a problem with that. I make a point of wearing a wedding band to my job interview and mentioning my wife so they know I’m not going to stay at the office past 7pm every day. If I was interviewing at a company run by evangelical Christians I’d figure out a way to make it slip that I was Catholic in case they had a problem with that.

    Perhaps it comes down to privilege, and most women returning to the workforce after a 2+ year hiatus don’t get to be as picky as me. However, I think if you’ve reestablished yourself (5+years of experience after kid rearing) you should not have to call the gap on your resume a sabbatical.

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