It’s comp season, how do you play it?
Do you keep your head down, make it clear you are happy to take whatever you are paid?
Do you walk into your boss’ office, guns blazing, holding them to ransom, demanding more?
Do you play Oliver Twist, all pathetic, bowl out, hoping they throw you a few more crumbs?
Do you have another approach you employ?
Some of the most successful folks I know on Wall Street never do anything to influence their comp because they figure if you do a good job your firm will take care of you. And while that works phenomenally well for some people, for others it is a perfect formula for being under-paid year after year.
What works for you and what works in your firm is particular, yet one thing is for sure, unless you take it into your own hands, you will be at the mercy of your firm to pay you however they choose.
In my book, Do What You Want on Wall Street, I share with you 20 pages of ideas on getting paid, which can be simplified into these four steps you can use for getting paid more this year:
1. Know what you are worth: Give up on the typical Wall Street BS of thinking you are worth more because you’ve occupied your seat for one more year. You aren’t like one of those fancy seat heaters you pay more for warming a seat, you get paid more for driving more value. So, ask yourself, what value have you driven this year?
2. Broadcast your value: Knowing your value is one thing, but to influence how you get paid, you must broadcast your value. You might broadcast your value directly or if that is too crass/blunt/inappropriate in your firm, you might broadcast your value more indirectly by talking in generalities about the type of year you have had. Successfully broadcasting your value is a function of knowing who to influence and how you do it.
3. Communications plan: You know my shtick by now: To get what you want, you want to develop a process designed to lead you to success. In Do What You Want on Wall Street I share with you a four-step, five page communication plan for getting paid. Thinking ahead by knowing your intent, framing your ask specifically for each person, and communicating with devastating impact is the secret to a good comp outcome.
4. Leverage: Like two pit-bulls facing off against each other, you are negotiating with people who negotiate for a living. And everyone who negotiates for a living is constantly asking one question: what happens if I don’t give you what you want?
Leverage is essential in comp discussions, yet the type of leverage you employ can make the difference between getting what you want and getting the boot. Just this year I know of a top-performing partner who walked into the division-head’s office to “demand” his “fair” share, and walked out without a job!
Getting leverage right is an art I share with you more in my book.
Fearful of getting it wrong, many people on Wall Street will end up settling for whatever their bosses choose to pay them, but those who get it right can easily add five to six figures to their bonus this yea