“No Non-compete? No Stolen Secrets? You are Free.”

Published on August 26th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Question: My husband was recently fired from his job. He never signed a non-compete or a non-solicitation agreement. We decided to start our own business in the same kind of business as his employer was in, because that is what my husband knows best. I own it; he does most of the work. No client list was ever taken or anything like that.

Since we started the business, we gained some of the clients of his former employer. Are we doing anything wrong or illegal? We have not heard from his former boss, but we are concerned that we will.

Ogden, Utah

Answer: Dear Teresa: Simply put, and legally speaking, you seem to be “in the clear.”
Continue Reading. . .

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on August 24th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“One who runs alone cannot be outrun by another.”

– Ethiopian Proverb

Lelisa Desisa, an Ethiopian, won the 2015 Boston Marathon. Yenane Dhane Tsegay, another Ethiopian runner, came in second in the Marathon. The Ethiopian view is that, when you compete with yourself, and not others, you are most likely to “win the race.” The results seem to speak for themselves. So consider applying this thought each day to the “marathon” that is your work and career.

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

“Can my employer reduce benefits without any limit?”

Published on August 19th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Question: About ten days ago, without notice, my employer sent out an email to all employees telling us that, effective immediately, our health insurance will cost us more, our 401k contributions will be cut in half, and if we are laid off, our severance will be eliminated – entirely. These benefits were part of the reason I took this job. Is there any limit on this?

Toms River, New Jersey

Answer: Dear Stanley: In the employment relation – just like in many other relations – there are few legal rules that limit the freedom of the parties to set their own terms and conditions in the relation. Regarding employers and employees, and employment benefits, this is how it goes:
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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on August 17th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”

– Sheryl Sandberg | COO, Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg knows of what she speaks. Having met Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party, she was soon offered a job at what she then thought was “a really cool website that was looking for a way to make money.” To join, she was given a modest salary, but also 30 million Facebook shares that have, you might say, risen a bit in value. Yes, a “rocket ship” it has been, and her job has also morphed into her being on the Board of Directors. If you are given a “rocket ship opportunity,” don’t hesitate or worry. The worst thing that can happen is that you will come back to earth, wiser for the experience.

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[This quote was contributed by Carrie, a most wonderful yoga teacher. If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

“Want a Raise? – Here’s How to Ask”

Published on August 11th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

“At the end of my salary, there’s always a lot of month left.”

– Loesje

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORY: Here are some survey results recently published by compensation-data firm PayScale:

    a. Over 90% of U.S. workers reported being dissatisfied with their salary.
    b. But, only 43% of U.S. workers reported asking for a raise last year.
    c. About 19% of U.S. workers were offered a raise without asking for one.
    d. But 38% didn’t ask for a raise because they were uncomfortable asking, feared being too “pushy,” and some even thought they would lose their jobs if they asked.
    e. One statistic stood out over all: of those who asked for raises, 75% were successful.

How many received the raise they felt they deserved? 44%. Not too bad. Is it possible they didn’t prepare themselves with a careful plan, practice their “pitch” for a raise, and therefore missed out on a golden opportunity to be more successful? Quite possibly, in fact, likely.

While every employee, every employer, every industry, and the financial circumstances of every company are unique, three things are for sure: First, unless you were among the 19% who were given a raise without asking, you had to ask for one to get one. Second, even if your are among the 19% who were given a raise without asking, chances are 56% you were not pleased with the result. Third, there are more effective ways to do anything you do, and that includes asking for a raise.

So, it pays to think about your raise request, organize your thoughts, decide who you will ask, consider the rationales you will use to justify your request, and practice your raise request, all before making your request. These wise steps are steps few consider and even less practice. Sad, because they work.

LESSON TO LEARN: Requesting a raise can be a stressful proposition. You may be concerned that your request will make you seem “pushy,” or even anger your boss. You may be fearful that you’ll just be turned down. And, too, you might be granted such a small raise that it would be more than disappointing, even humiliating. If you want to find them, there are so many reasons to avoid requesting a raise in salary.

On the other hand – and there is always an “other hand,” isn’t there? – there are more important reasons to take the initiative, assume the risk, and get past your insecurity and anxiety. The first three are quite familiar: “food, clothing and shelter.” Others include the need to care for, and prepare for, kids, loved ones, retirement and the proverbial “rainy days” that are sure to visit when you least expect them. Raising your salary in your present job can also justify a higher salary in your next job, for “salary history” is a question raised in nearly every job application and in nearly every interview.

Keeping yourself at or above “market rate” for your position and responsibilities, and consistent with your perceived value to your employer, is your “first job” and not your employer’s responsibility. Sure, you may be offered a raise on each hiring anniversary or each January first, but whether you receive a raise, the amount you receive, and the frequency you receive one a raise are your job to influence positively, and not your employer’s. As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Over time, we have coached many of our clients in this process. Each person, each employer and each situation is unique, but there are certain fundamental truths, and even a few “tricks of the trade” that we have proven themselves especially helpful when asking for a raise.

Here they are – all 30 – for your consideration.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Based on many years helping employees negotiate for themselves, here are 30 logical, sensible and effective pointers that should help you when you decide to ask for your raise:
Continue Reading. . .

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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