Category Archives: Career

My Job Analysis

Special shout out to Shopping to Saving for posting this job analysis up!

Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, in a random-rant-kinda-way.  Like most people, I have my good days and my bad days at work.  I think it’s really good to look back and reflect on where I am, and where I want to be – in life, in general but also to specific aspects of my life, as well.

I am approaching the 4-year mark at my workplace, so this analysis is long overdue.  I complete annual evaluations at work, so it only makes sense to complete a personal evaluation of my job, as well.

As background, I have a Bachelors in Applied Science from an Engineering School and I am working towards getting my professional license (soon!) while working the field of construction.  This is my first job post graduation.

I decided to give a rating out of 5 for each aspect I was rating.

  • 1 = very unsatisfied
  • 2 = unsatisfied
  • 3 = neutral
  • 4 = satisfied
  • 5 = very satisfied

Let’s get started! 🙂

Salary (3/5)

I make just over $60,000 as a full-time employee.

My company has an employee 100% RRSP match (up to 2.5% of my salary for me), 80% medical, dental and vision coverage, profit sharing and 3 weeks paid vacation.  We are expected to work over-time and we do not get to bank our hours. There are no paid days off between Christmas and New Years, but we are “encouraged” to use vacation days.

On average, I’d say I used to work about 50+ hours, but now, I work about 40-45 hours –  and I am being paid for 37.5.

I have yet to work our my net hourly earnings, but we will save that for another post 🙂

Job Duties (4/5)

Without going into too much detail, I am involved the initial investigation or review of building problems, all the reporting including recommendation for further repairs, design, construction review and administration of the contract for construction repairs.

My job is very technical and very hands-on, and I get involved in a variety or projects, including: mold sampling and removal projects, concrete repair and construction projects, sewer pipe repairs (yuck!) – to name a few.  In addition to the technical aspects of my job, I am the main client contact on most of my projects, I co-ordinate between internal and external clients, and generally run about 80% of the project.

Commute (4.5/5)

I really happy with this aspect of my job.  I can drive to work (~10 minutes) or take public transportation (~30 minutes) :).  It is definitely nothing to complain about!

The only that thing that would make this perfect is if I could WALK to work in about 30 minutes or so.  I love walking, and sadly, I really don’t do enough of it.

Co-workers (2/5)

I must preface this low rating by saying that I think the people I work with are genuinely good people. My manager is really awesome – someone whom I really look up as a mentor, and I (selfishly) want for there to be more mentors and more interaction for junior staff to interact with mentors.

I find it frustrating to work with a lot of my co-workers, especially when people show up late (regularly), miss deadlines, asking people to “eat” their time for certain projects and a general lack of professionalism.  I believe this is mostly due to a lack of professionalism and proper training for co-workers to become better mentors, leaders and co-workers in my workplace.  There is potential, but I feel the lack of support system is reflected culture and the attitudes of the employees and hindering the company’s growth.

Atmosphere (4/5)

The atmosphere at my workplace is relaxed but professional.  A lot our work is in the field, and so wearing jeans, is very normal even during the week.  If we are to represent our company at a conference of to a client, generally, more formal attire is expected, but this is not a usual occurrence. I really like that my manager’s door is always open, and they are generally receptive to me dropping in to ask questions, or discuss anything.

I think that the atmosphere is quasi-stressful, more due to to the nature of our work, rather than the workplace, itself.

Flexibility (4/5)

Even though we are expected to work overtime at my work place, I like the flexibility of being able to work from home, sometimes.  I also understand that one can choose to work part-time (30 hours); however, it is with an understanding that 30 hours usually means 35 to 40 hours a week, or work as needed to get the job done.

I have never had a vacation request rejected and we are allowed to carry-over up to 1 year of vacation,if we wish to do so.

Advancement (2/5)

There is room for advancement, but the longer I remain at my company, the more I realize just how much one has to sacrifice to be able to make it to the next level, and even more to make it to the top.  The path to advancement is difficult, and it’s due to a combination of the nature of my work (firmly rooted in a male dominated field), the structure of the company pyramid, lack of mentors, and in too many cases – valuing seniority over work experience and  capabilities.

Final Grade ( C+ 23.5/35)

I think it’s safe to say that there is definitely room for improvement in my job!

I will be writing more about what steps I have taken to improve this (i.e., asking for mentorship, asking for a raise) and would love to discuss and write more on this topic.  I appreciate every single comment and I hope that we can all help one another in this wonderful community to find satisfaction all factions of our jobs.

Please check out these awesome analyses done by these fabulous ladies:

How does your job stack up?  Is there another aspect you think is important in the analysis that hasn’t been included?


Filed under Career

Why it’s Important to Negotiate your Salary

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We hear this over and over again, and in my experience working full-time I realize it more than ever why it’s important.

Fabulously Broke wrote a great article about the wage gap between men and women and how negotiating your salary plays a huge role.  You should really check it out.

I thought I’d focus on my personal experience with salary negotiations in this post.

My Story

When I was in my last year of university, I had 2 job offers.  I was a new grad, I was ecstatic that there was someone who wanted to hire me.  One company (A) offered me a base a salary of $50,000 but it was based out of the west coast, and my current company (B) offered me $48,000 was based in my home city.

Research, Research, Research

I talked to my professor and mentor at the time, and asked him what range I should be expecting for a starting salary. He gave me a range of $50,000 to $55,000.

I talked to my classmates who were looking to work in the same field and asked how much they were getting paid and their compensation package.

$50,000 was the median answer with 2/3 weeks of vacation.


I negotiated with B.  I spoke with the principal and told them from speaking with my professors and colleagues in the industry, a starting salary of between $50,000 to $55,000 was fair with 3 weeks of vacation a year.

The principal I was speaking with said he would discuss with his boss and get back to me.  He got back to me said he could not offer me 3 weeks of vacation as that was a seniority thing and it would be unfair to current staff.  Instead of a starting salary of $50,000, they offered a signing bonus of $2,000 and the same $48,000 salary.

I took their offer.

Lessons Learned

Be keen but do not show all your cards.  For another application, I let it slip that I wasn’t too keen on moving out west and the firm that was very interested at first, dragged their feet in getting me my offer and contract papers.  Show your cards when it works to advantage only – such as A is willing to pay me more and offer better benefits.

A signing bonus should not be in lieu of a better starting salary.  Your starting salary is the base of which all your raises will be bench marked against, so obviously a higher starting salary will result in bigger raises (the dollar amount).  If there is a salary freeze one year, you’ll actually be paid less than in your first year (no bonus).

People remember you for negotiating.  The principal who hired me is currently my manager.  2 years later, when we were discussing my performance he reminded me that I negotiated for my salary and that stood out to him.  It took him aback since he thought that as a new grad, I should have been “grateful” for a job offer, but it also made him think that I was going to be able to interact well with clients since I was able to stand up for myself.

Prepare and practice how you will say this.  Saying things out loud is very different than having things in my head.  When I say things out loud for the first time, it usually comes out less clear than how I had thought it.  Try to be concise, factual and have research/proof to back up what your are saying.


Practice makes perfect.  It’s hard the first time, and maybe you won’t get it quite right – like me.  But it gets so much easier the next time, and the time after that.

I think it’s the same approach for women and men, but I feel that whereas for guys, their first instinct is to negotiate, for women, our first instinct to accept.  Maybe it goes back to how women are generally more “nurturing” and don’t like confrontation.

But if we don’t’ stand up for ourselves (man or woman), who will?  I want to be compensated fairly so that I can properly take care of myself, my parents and my future family – what can be more nurturing than that? 🙂

What are some of your tips for salary negotiations?  Please share your lessons learned!



Filed under Career

Standing up for Yourself

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Bullying. Being intimidated. Being treated unfairly.

I’m sure it’s happened to most of us at one point or another in our career, or even before that. I’ve worked with bullies and hard balls. I’ve worked with people who think they can be-little me because I am young.

Here are tips that I’ve picked up from dealing with these types of people.

Stay Calm and Reflect

Before you get worked up and say something that you may regret. (esp. at work) Stop, take deep breathes and count to 10. Then think about if this person has a point. If that’s the case, figure out a possible solution.

If it is something that you felt wrongly accused of, or injustice or you were just plain bullied. Then think about why and how it happened.


If you figured out that you have been wrong fully treated or bullied, I always find it best to approach the individual who bullied you. Unless you feel scared for your safety. Do not approach the individual if that is the case.

Otherwise, I would approach the individual first, and talk to them before approaching your boss, their boss, then HR (in that order).

Practice saying out loud what you would say, maybe even to someone else. They can let you know if you’re being clear or just rambing on. Are you being clear about what happened? Are you sticking to the facts? Are you clear about what your expectations are and how you’d like to address this problem.


After you’ve practiced and know exactly what you are going to say and how to say it, approach the person. Ask if now would be a good time to speak with them, in private. Talk with them in a more private place, maybe in an empty cafeteria instead of their cubicle. Watch the person’s reaction – you don’t want to come down too hard or too soft. You just want to get your point across.

Finish off with something like, I prefer to get things in the open, so that we can communicate more effectively in the future. Try to end on a positive note.

My Example

Working late and snide comments

I worked with a co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected everyone else to do the same. Too many times, they approached me with “something that had to get out” at 5:00pm.

One particular tine, I stayed late and worked to meet their deadline but explained that I had to leave by 8:00pm (since they let me know at the end of the day), and I had plans. Instead of saying it to my face, I get an email saying, “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

I was mad but I knew that I was too angry to clearly articulate myself. I went home and ranted to my sister, my roommate, whomever would listen. Then, I practiced saying out loud what I wanted to say to my project manager. I practiced for probably 3 hours saying out loud before it sounded right to me (I did this while folding about 3 loads of laundry).

Then, I went to work and spoke with my co-worker when I had a chance. I pulled them aside and asked to speak to them in private. I started off by reminding them what happened, and told them that last minute requests are difficult to complete and do well. If they had told me earlier, I would have worked on it in the afternoon instead of scrambling. Lastly, I told them their snide comment was not appreciated.

My co-worker apologized. And even better, I noticed that they stopped coming to me at the last minute for work to be done. Sure, sometimes last minute things happen, but it was no longer a regular occurrence.


The first time I confronted a co-worker, it was so hard. One of the hardest things I’d have to do. But after that, it was a gazillion times easier.  The next time my co-worker bullied me, I didn’t hesitate to stand up for myself.

Just like no one cares more about your money than you, no ones cares more about your well-being than you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?

What are your tips for standing up for yourself against bullies? I would love to read your stories of standing up for yourself.



Filed under Career