Dear Sam: I am applying for a Senior Technical Program Manager, and the recruiter emailed me multiple questions, including this: “What are you looking for compensation and WHY? Please explain.” I initially answered that my salary expectations were negotiable and that I didn’t know the exact salary range they were offering for this position. The recruiter provided their targeted range in response but persisted in asking me the same question as to “why” I wanted the range I was seeking. My initial thinking is to answer along these lines:
“Great question. Given a 0-15% bonus plan, I seek a base compensation in the $XXXK-$XXXK per year range. Why? For one, I have historically facilitated the generation of new revenue, and I will pay for myself. Second, this is a fair expectation, given my expertise and prevailing wage rates. For example, with the latest hiring bubble, salaries rose dramatically. Not even considering this, and given 10% inflation over the last year, the lower-end rate barely gives me a raise over my current unadjusted base pay rate. If hired, I will be worth it and more.”
What are your thoughts? – David
Dear David: It is really interesting the recruiter is asking you to justify your compensation requirements. In contemplating that, it does make sense the recruiter would want insight into your thinking. In addition, it provides an opportunity to “sell yourself” and potentially provide a reason for the employer to think beyond pre-established compensation bands. I love your response, but I suggest omitting the second part of your statement. I think short and sweet is the way to go with your answer. I would simply state, “Why? I have historically facilitated the generation of new revenue, and I will pay for myself. Additionally, this is more than a fair expectation given my expertise, prevailing wage rates, inflation, and a cost of living adjustment for the Boston area.” If the recruiter has additional questions, he or she will undoubtedly prompt them following your response, but I think over-justifying your expectation weakens your case. Great job, and I wish you much success!
Samantha Nolan is an Advanced Personal Branding Strategist and Career Expert, founder and CEO of Nolan Branding. Do you have a resume, career, or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on Nolan Branding’s services, visit www.nolanbranding.com or call 888-9-MY-BRAND or 614-570-3442.
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By the beginning of 2023, a fifth of all U.S. workers will be covered under pay transparency laws, a trend that experts predict will continue to grow. These new laws will likely result in more employees discussing their compensation with co-workers, and more requests to managers and supervisors for pay adjustments to correct differences that employees do not readily understand or accept. Managers need to do four things to prepare for these conversations. First, guard your own emotions. Don’t get defensive when an employee asks about pay. Second, learn about what specifically is required by your state and/or company in regards to pay transparency. Third, when you discuss salary with an employee, make sure you both are in the right time and place to have the conversation. Finally, be prepared to answer common questions like how someone’s pay is determined, or why they don’t make as much as a colleague.
Maybe one of your team members came to you wanting to know why her salary is at the low end of the pay range. Or another employee is claiming he’s being underpaid. It seems like suddenly, no one is happy with their wages. Welcome to the world of pay transparency.
At the beginning of 2023, a fifth of all U.S. workers will be covered under pay transparency laws, as California and Washington state join a long list of populous jurisdictions that have enacted similar laws. Experts predict the pay transparency trend will continue to grow.
These new laws will likely result in more employees discussing their compensation with co-workers, and more requests to managers and supervisors for pay adjustments to correct differences that employees do not readily understand or accept. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as a culture of transparency can result in people less likely to quit.
It’s important to understand that as a front-line manager, you may not have the final say over what your people are paid. However, with proper preparation and the willingness to have an open conversation about pay, you can positively influence how your employees feel about the company, their job, and their compensation. Here’s how to navigate the conversation to get the best possible result for everyone involved.
Remember, this is relatively new territory for everyone. Your first instinct might be to quickly dismiss this employee’s request by saying something like, “Now’s not the time to discuss your pay. We’ll do so at year-end when we meet to discuss your performance review.” Nor should you pass the buck by saying, “I’m not the person in charge of pay.” Instead, remain calm and say something like, “Hey, I can see why this subject would be important to you. Let’s get a meeting on the calendar.” This approach will provide you time to prepare for this important discussion.
In the past, it wasn’t necessary for front-line managers to concern themselves with the company’s philosophy and practices when determining employees’ pay, rewards, and benefits. Given the new pay transparency laws, this is no longer the case, as you’ll want to come across as credible when answering questions about pay.
Many factors are used to determine an organization’s overall compensation strategy, including a company’s financial position, industry, available labor pool, and size of the company. It’s worth meeting with a member of your HR team to discuss how pay works in your organization so that you’re prepared to answer pay questions. Your HR team can also help you understand what laws pertain to the positions they manage. For example, some state pay transparency laws require employers with a minimum number of employees to list salary ranges for all posted job ads, promotions, and transfer opportunities. In other states, employers are only obligated to reveal this data when a candidate requests this information.
Where you discuss a highly sensitive matter like pay could very well determine how the other person reacts and could directly impact the outcome you hope to achieve. If you’re working in an open office environment, then it’s best to book a conference room. If you’re planning on discussing pay with a remote employee, ask them to log onto the call from a place where they’ll have some privacy.
By following the guidelines above, you’ll have set the stage for an important conversation. But what should you expect in the conversation itself? Here are a few of the more common questions and some suggested responses:
How is my pay determined? There is a salary range for this position which is determined by factors such as skills, level of experience required, title, and location (if applicable). Your pay is based on the position you’ve been hired for and the education and experience you bring to the table.
Why don’t I make as much money as my colleagues? Direct comparisons regarding pay aren’t always accurate, as people are hired with diverse levels of skill and education and perform at different levels. If you’d like, we can discuss ways you can increase your earning potential.
Why are latest hires making more money than me? There are many factors that go into determining pay, including education, experience, and level of skills. Remind me again of your background. If there’s something we may have overlooked, then I’m happy to discuss this with our boss and HR.
What is meant by a salary range and how does the company decide where my pay fits into this range? A salary range is the span between the minimum and maximum base salary an organization is willing to pay for a specific job or group of jobs. Where your pay fits in the range is determined by various factors including supply and demand, your experience and education, sometimes location, company budget, and in-demand skill sets.
How does the company determine if my pay is competitive and what’s done if you discover it’s not? We monitor our pay practices, in a number of ways, including participating in salary surveys to ensure we’re keeping up with the market. If necessary, market adjustments are made on an individual basis. (Note: Check with your HR department to confirm this is how things are done in your company before communicating this to an employee.)
Talking about salary and the value an individual brings to an organization is not easy. But having open and honest conversations about it can help employees trust their managers, and can even help managers identify opportunities for employees’ growth. Remembering this can help set the stage for not just a single conversation, but instead a continuing one. And the conversation should continue. Encourage your employees to take the time needed to reflect on the conversation and do their own research. Be sure to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss any unresolved issues. Finally, keep in mind that additional questions are a good thing, as this shows the employee is as interested in working things out as you are.
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority will soon open up its quarterly “Talking Transit” webinar sessions to the community beginning on Dec. 12.
Announced by WRTA Advisory Board chairperson Gary Rosen, the sessions will “answer questions of our ridership, local advocates, business owners and organizations, as well as elected and appointed officials,” a digital flyer read.
WRTA Administrator Dennis Lipka will also join the advisory board and WRTA staff members during the webinar.
“While not an advisory board meeting, it will be a fine and welcome opportunity for members of the public across the WRTA’s 37 communities to ask questions about fixed route and paratransit service,” a statement announcing the webinars said.
The first webinar will be held at 5 p.m. over Zoom via the link here. The passcode is 874484. If those interested in participating are listening by phone, call 646-931-3860. The webinar ID is 879 5951 8699.
To request participation while in the Zoom meeting please use the “raised hand” icon in your settings.
Participants are asked that when they speak, they will be entered into panelist mode on Zoom. Phone users who want to raise their hand are to press * (star) and nine so moderators see the “raised hand” icon. WRTA asks questions and comments to be limited to five minutes “so that all attending will have time to speak,” the statement read.
The first webinar comes between a Nov. 25 to Dec. 31 timeframe where no fares or passes are needed across the state for fixed route bus and paratransit services. Called “Try Transit,” all 15 non-Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority agencies are free for riders through the end of 2022.
Since the onset of pandemic lockdowns March 2020, WRTA has remained fare-free since initially pausing its fare policy. In September, the WRTA board unanimously voted to extend fare-free bus service until June 30, 2023.
“The suspension of our fare policy has been popular amongst our riders and we hope that individuals throughout the Commonwealth will take advantage of this no-cost program and provide transit a try this holiday season,” Lipka said in a Nov. 15 statement.
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Q My sister-in-law recently had a direct flight from Perth to London cancelled two days before flying. The next direct flight was two days later. Qantas have told her they don’t do compensation for cancelled flights and that she should apply for compensation through travel insurance. Is that true?
A Well, where to begin? I imagine it was infuriating for your sister-in-law. Perth to Heathrow on flight QF9 is the only nonstop link between Australia and the UK. Passengers pay a premium for getting from the Western Australian capital to London in a single overnight flight.
Q: Can I go on a Caribbean cruise if I have not been Covid vaccinated?
A: lt all depends. Sorry if that’s not helpful, but the rules vary across cruise lines and the destinations en route. P&O Cruises says: “All guests aged 18 years and over need to be fully vaccinated.” That means at least two weeks before travel, and if the first course was more than 270 days before the last day of the cruise, they must have a booster at least a week before departure.
Yet P&O’s sister company, Carnival, promises: “Vaccines and testing no longer required for most cruises. Unvaccinated guests are free to disembark and enjoy their time ashore. However, certain destinations have imposed certain restrictions and we cannot certain that more will not be added.”
On a Carnival voyage to destinations with travel restrictions, you will be allowed to board the ship – but you must stay on the vessel at ports of calls with mandatory vaccination rules. At present, in the Caribbean, you need to be vaccinated to be allowed off the ship in Grand Turk (part of the Turks & Caicos, north of Hispaniola) and the Colombian port of Cartagena – which would be a very significant loss, since this is the loveliest Spanish city in the Americas.
Royal Caribbean says testing is required for everyone aged 12 or over on “Cruises from the US and Caribbean with stops in Colombia, Haiti, or Honduras”.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line says: “As government regulations evolve, our health and safety protocols will evolve as needed to ensure compliance. This may mean different protocols from ship to ship based on local requirements.”
Finally, Fred Olsen has some strict rules: “All guests aged 12 and above must be fully vaccinated to join us on board. All guests will need to bring proof of a negative test result, taken within 24 hours of your cruise departure, to show at check-in.
“If you have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 within seven days prior to your cruise, we are afraid you will not be able to sail with us.”
Given the range of policies and continuing uncertainty, I would not advise anyone who is classed as unvaccinated to book a cruise – especially involving a number of different countries, as Caribbean voyages tend to be.
Q: We’re flying to Orlando from Dublin. We’re flying United changing in Washington picking up another United flight. We’re having to pay for hold luggage at Dublin at check-in. Is there a way to get our luggage to go straight through to Orlando rather than having to collect at Washington and recheck it?
A: As a hand-baggage only person, I’m not absolutely sure – but I believe the situation is as follows. Normally on arrival in the US you have to pick up all your bags and lug them through Customs before re-checking them on your connecting flight.
But Ireland is different. I’m a fan of travelling to the US via Dublin because you pass through Customs & Border Protection at the first point of entry. Aer Lingus says: “You simply collect your baggage at your US arrival airport and get on with your day.”
I believe, though, that through-checked baggage is not possible. With hand luggage, it’s not an issue: as soon as you arrive in Washington you are regarded as a domestic arrival and can go straight to your connecting flight. But the limit on Aer Lingus is a minimal 7kg.
Q: Our flight home from Seattle was cancelled after sitting for six hours on the Tarmac. We were told the earliest flight they could offer was four days later. I needed to get home for work commitments, so we booked an Aer Lingus flight ourselves via Dublin. Cost: £2,800! I’ve put in a claim with the airline for the Aer Lingus costs. I’ve not heard any decision as yet. studying on forums, etc I feel I’m not going to get my £2,800 back. Any advice please?
A: Many airlines appear to be in no hurry at all to recompense the tens of thousands of out-of-pocket passengers. These carriers were told at the start of the summer rush what they had to do when a flight was cancelled, specifically finding alternative flights as soon as possible. But they have ignored the stipulations sent out by the Civil Aviation Authority with impunity.
I wrote to the previous transport secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, to ask what action she would take. Ms Trevelyan was busy campaigning for Boris Johnson to be reinstated as prime minister, and had not replied by the time she was fired by the new PM, Rishi Sunak. I shall ask Mark Harper, her replacement, but I detect no appetite whatsoever for enforcing consumer protection.
If you believe you have a legal claim against any company, you can usually get their attention by writing a Letter Before Action and then, if there is no response, going to Money Claim Online.
The only problem I can see with retrieving your £2,800 is: if that is the figure for two of you, that looks very expensive for a one-way flight. You could face a demand to show why you had to pay that much. In such circumstances you should always try to provide a screen grab showing there was no choice. Assuming you were not able to do this at the time, you may have to contact Aer Lingus to ask for confirmation of the prevailing fare at the time you booked.
Q: Any idea what is the current (renewal) passport turnaround time?
A: At the risk of this session turning into a long sequence of pointing out the inadequacies of the government and its agencies, it won’t be nearly as bad as applicants are led to believe.
His Majesty’s Passport Office warns: “Allow up to 10 weeks to receive your passport.”
But that appears to be an exercise in bottom-covering. For the vast majority of straightforward renewals, with applications made online, two weeks is more likely – with many saying they get their passports much quicker than that.
Q: Any update on technical solutions to the challenges presented by application of the Entry Exit System for the Eurotunnel Shuttle and cross-Channel car ferry passengers?
A: Sadly, not yet. Here is the problem. The Brexit treaty made the UK a “third country” with strict controls on entry and exit. The withdrawal agreement means there is now a hard European Union border in Kent (as well as at the Eurostar rail terminal at St Pancras in London).
At Folkestone, Dover and London, frontier formalities are “juxtaposed”: French officials conduct checks on travellers heading for France while they are still on British soil. That arrangement worked fine for many years, but the extra checks that the UK insisted upon slow everything down – which explains the queues we saw in peak summer.
Next summer, tougher border checks that the UK helped develop while a member of the European Union will apply to British passport holders. Under the Entry Exit System, each time a third-country national crosses an EU external border, the system will register the date and place of entry and exit. Fingerprints and a facial biometric must also be checked.
This is just about manageable in an airport or passenger rail terminal, but not easily achievable in live traffic lanes as at Dover and Folkestone.
Last month Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, told MPs last month: “We haven’t seen what the process is, we don’t know what the technology is.”
None of the new requirements is a surprise. So it would be comforting to think that the pro-Brexit prime minister and his ministers know how the problem will be solved. Mark Harper, the new transport secretary, calls Brexit “an opportunity for our country to spread its wings.” Presumably he will reveal the solution he has in mind before too long.
Q: My daughter is heading back to university on Sunday with a pre-booked GWR ticket from London Paddington to Plymouth. Where does she stand if her train is cancelled? She has to get back for lectures on Monday, so really needs to travel Sunday.
A: A reminder: the main rail union, the RMT, has called another round of strikes in its battle with Network Rail and 14 train operators on pay, jobs and working conditions. Staff working for Network Rail will walk out tomorrow (5 November), on Monday (7 November) and on Wednesday (9 November).
Those employed by the train operators, including GWR, will stop work tomorrow and on Wednesday.
On the day after a strike, morning trains are messed up – with the early rush hour usually wiped out until signallers clock in and rolling stock is back where it needs to be. But the only GWR train from London Paddington to Plymouth that I can see affected on Sunday morning is the 7.52am departure. If she is booked on this one and needs to be back in a hurry, she can travel earlier (7.18am) on the Elizabeth Line from Paddington to studying and onwards from there on GWR.
All the later journeys are unaffected – which makes it all the more bizarre that GWR is hurry to deter passengers on the days after strikes. The train operator says: “Avoid travelling and seek alternative ways to make your journey.” Other rail firms are taking a similar view.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group told me: “Nobody in this industry wants to see passengers driven off trains, but with the RMT continuing to call these damaging strikes, it is rail companies’ responsibility to keep as many trains running as possible and to be realistic about the extent of the likely disruption on what will be very limited services, so that the railway can operate safely and our passengers can make informed decisions about their journeys.”
I hope and expect your daughter will have a smooth and relaxing trip – if people take notice of GWR, her train will probably be very empty.
Q: Our latest flight from Rhodes to London was delayed by 24 hours. The airline said it was due to “a bird strike compromising the aircraft’s safety”. The airline put us up in a hotel and paid for meals. We applied for compensation under European air passengers’ rights rules, but the claim was rejected. They said it was down to “technical reasons” – which we thought weren’t a legitimate excuse for not paying out. Where do we stand?
A: Sorry to hear about the disruption. I hope the delay did not cause to much disarray. On some occasions I have found long delays in a lovely location abroad not inconvenient, for example enjoying an extra day in Madeira, Guayaquil and the Dominican Republic when British Airways, Avianca and Tui, respectively, encountered technical issues. On all three occasions they did exactly the right thing in organising hotels and meals as well as transfers to and from the airports. But I recognise that in many circumstances a long delay is frustrating and inconvenient – which is why European air passengers’ rights rules stipulate a pay-out of hundreds of pounds (£350 in this case) for delays of three hours of more unless the airline can provide a watertight explanation of why it shouldn’t have to do so – which will require proof of an “extraordinary circumstance”.
Basically, if the main cause of a delay is regarded as being within the control of the airline then it must pay out. Long waits caused by technical problems involving, for example, the failure of a part, qualify for compensation. But a bird strike is regarded as an “extraordinary circumstance” if it directly impacts the flight in question. So, if the inbound flight to Rhodes suffered the problem there would be no question of compensation. But if, say, it happened on a different flight the previous day and the knock-on effect was to delay your departure, the matter is not so cut and dried.
It is down to the airline to provide its defence against paying out, by setting out the circumstances that caused it. So do ask – and, if you think the explanation is questionable, you can consider legal action to claim compensation.
Q: Any update or progress on the Indian visa farce? Booked to travel in December and have an appointment booked 150 miles away from where I live later this month for Visa processing. Would be nice to think that a solution is not far away!
A: Sadly there is no change: British travellers are still barred from obtaining an eVisa for easy entry to India, and must attend an in-person interview. More background here.
B Cleeve added: “If of any use, attended VFS Birmingham last Wednesday. Absolute chaos but none the less received email this morning saying my passport and visa back for courier posting/collection.”
No question is a bad question.
The saying may be true this year when it comes to Rutgers wrestling.
After finishing with the most dual-meet wins in school history last season, No. 22 Rutgers returns one of its most-balanced lineups in years, but one that — for now — lacks a sure-fire national title contender. Up and down the lineup, there are question marks about who will take a redshirt, how injuries will impact former All-Americans and how the nation’s eighth-ranked recruiting class figures into the mix.
That’s why coach Scott Goodale won’t look too far ahead and why covering this year’s campaign will be interesting from start to finish.
In addition to that, Goodale chose to skip traditional wrestle-offs to determine his lineup and instead went with “indicator matches” — another sign that everything remains fluid when it comes to the lineup.
“This is a team — 10 weight classes and 10 question marks,” Goodale said Friday during his introductory press conference for the upcoming season season. “Every single weight has a question mark to it. Some of them are very good questions. Some are good problems. We have a lot of talent and a lot of balance. I think we’re a very good dual-meet team right now, but there are question marks.”
So with that, here are five of those questions and how Goodale plans to address them as well as some bonus coverage from Friday’s media day event.
1. Who emerges at 125 pounds?
One of the most-contested lineup spots will be at 125 pounds. Rutgers returns sophomore Dylan Shawver, who placed at the Big Ten Tournament and went 15-5 in dual meets a season ago. He’s being pushed by redshirt freshman Dean Peterson, a former state champion from St. John Vianney, who spent most of his junior year of high school ranked No. 1 in the country at his weight.
It’s a lineup battle between the experienced Shawver and up-and-coming Peterson, who was originally committed to Princeton.
Goodale said “you could cut the tension with a knife” when it comes to how close the competition has been. The competition will play out through the first semester, the coach added.
2. Who redshirts at 184 pounds?
John Poznanski, one of three All-Americans returning, struggled down the stretch last season after finishing fourth in the country as a true freshman in 2020-2021. A lot of the struggles could be contributed to an injury he sustained against Michigan State, he said Friday, but the sophomore now finds himself in an interesting position — mentoring Brian Soldano, the team’s highly touted freshman and two-time state champion from High Point.
Both are an option to take a redshirt, according to Goodale.
A new five-match rule for true freshmen will allow Soldano to test the NCAA waters before a decision needs to be made.
“One of them is going to wrestle and one is going to redshirt at some point,” Goodale said. “I know we’ll use the new rule for freshmen — the five dates — and see where (Soldano) is at. You’ll see that to start the season, but this is the best that John has ever looked. He’s always excited at the beginning of the year, but he’s very motivated right now.”
3. What does the return of Sammy Alvarez mean?
Alvarez could be the unicorn of the lineup. His performance during the COVID-shortened season earned him second team All-American honors and he was ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation last season before struggling to make weight at 133. With last year behind him, Alvarez is up to 141, where he has all the potential of being the team’s top performer.
When asked about Sammy’s return, Goodale simply said: “Sammy is Sammy”.
“It’s about what he wants to do with this,” he added “Is he going to be consistent with his training? Are we going to be locked in for the whole year and the way I feel about it is he can beat every single kid in the country at the weight if he’s locked in with laser-beam focus. If he doesn’t do that, there are people waiting in the wings that want to wrestle really bad. His feet are to the fire. He has to do it. It has to be done.”
4. Where does Joey Olivieri land?
Olivieri burned his redshirt halfway through the season and went on to become an NCAA qualifier as a true freshman last year at 133. Goodale said Olivieri did not qualify for 133 this season and instead will start the year as a redshirt candidate at 141.
5. Is health a concern anywhere?
Injuries upended both Billy Janzer and Jackson Turley a season ago. Janzer took a redshirt and missed the entire season while Turley, an All-American the year prior, went 3-3 before suffering a season-ending injury. Goodale said they’re both being monitored and working their way back but neither are in jeopardy of missing time.
AROUND THE MATS
A. Keep an eye on the middleweights. There’s a lot of flexibility, depth and maneuverability with the lineup. Sophomores Andrew Clark and Connor O’Neill have dropped a weight. Clark wrestled at 165 last year but could be down at 157. O’Neill, similarly, spent last season at 174 and is down to 165.
B. Jeff Buxton, the architect behind Blair’s wrestling dynasty and coach for Team USA, took over the Scarlet Knights Wrestling Club last year. He’s been instrumental behind the scenes and a role model for everyone in the room, Goodale said.
“There’s a lot knowledge there. Coach Buxton has coached us all. He’s sat in all of our corners. I have the utmost respect for what he did at Blair and now you can see the rise of Team USA. To see, sit and talk wrestling with Jeff Buxton has been huge.”
C. Heavyweight Boone McDermott has packed on more than 40 pounds since season, a noticeable transformation for the redshirt junior from Dubuque, Iowa.
D. Soldano said his mustache is here to stay, but McDermott’s mullet is gone for good.
E. Looking for a breakout candidate? Keep an eye out for redshirt freshman Tony White. The South Plainfield product “has been the consummate professional,” Goodale said and is a wrestler eying a big season.
F. Check back next week for more on Joe Heilmann, who transferred to Rutgers this spring after four years at North Carolina. Heilmann, a former state placewinner from South Plainfield, will be the Rutgers starter at 133 and reached the Round of 16 last season at the NCAA Tournament.
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Patrick Lanni may be reached at email@example.com.
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