Raise Up

Riding Out The Storm: Getting a Raise with Terry Greenfield

April 16, 2020 Amanda LeFever Episode 4
Raise Up
Riding Out The Storm: Getting a Raise with Terry Greenfield
Show Notes Transcript

Principal Consultant of Consulex Corrosion Professionals, NACE International, and successful Finn racer chats with Amanda about the ups and downs of angling for a raise in rough waters. From his home in Fairhope, AL, to representing NACE International in over 140 countries, Terry brings a unique perspective and great advice to all of us here in Raise Up Nation.


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Terry:

You need to see the relationship and how you fit into that company being more successful.

Amanda:

What is going on? Welcome back to your very favorite podcasts out today, where I interview executive directors, HR managers, and learn all the secrets and tips for how you can get a raise at your job. We are living in the most bizarre, scary, and trying times, and I just want you to know I'm thinking about you. I'm pulling for you and here for you. Our hope with this whole endeavor is to give you some strategies and tools, so when the time is right, you can get the raise that you deserve. And I'm super stoked to introduce you to Mr. Terry Greenfield. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the protective coatings and corrosion industry. His company, c on selects, provides program and project management failure analysis, expert witness, and other services for the corrosion industry. And this guy is smart, he has tactical expertise in transportation, oil and gas, military and other industries and regularly contributes to industry journals is the author of teaching curricula and a number of technical conference papers. So, not to mention he's an accomplished leader, and this year happens to be the president of NACE international. It's a 40,000-member global association of corrosion professionals, which takes him all around the world. So, Terry, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Terry:

I'm doing great. Thanks, Amanda. That was quite an intro. And don't worry, I stutter on coatings and corrosion sometimes as well, so it doesn't roll off the tongue very well.

Amanda:

It doesn't, and I don't know what it is. I always have that problem. So, how are things in Alabama? Okay?

Terry:

Yeah, things are good. You know, we're all dealing with , I hope not a new norm. I hope this is going to be short-lived, but , transferring into Florida, you have to go through a checkpoint, and you know, Fair Hope, the city I live in has started a curfew, and the police aren't pulling you over if they see you driving, but generally, everybody's trying to maintain, that physical distance that we believe is going to help us.

Amanda:

Yeah, before we started recording, you had mentioned that we're more connected now as far as we're not social distancing, we're just physical distancing.

Terry:

Yeah , I think that's a misnomer, I guess . I think people are, if you're in any of the social media guys, see people on it that I haven't seen in years , and frequent, and everybody's trying to find something to do, right? So, they're reaching out to communicate, I think if there's anything that's going to be good out of this. I've always traveled a lot. So, I've done telecoms and online meetings. And again, when I'm not traveling, our headquarters are in Florida, I typically work out of my home office. So, I'm used to this. And what I love seeing happen, it used to be everybody tried to create their home element to look like they were in the office. Right? They had their tie on, everybody had to be quiet. You may hear my dogs bark in the background. Okay . That, I think, is new, people are relaxing maybe what they think the expectation needs to be, which becomes a little more informal and I think that's good. Hopefully, we do a lot more. Hopefully, we see, at least for business, we're not forced to sit at home i nto it, but we take the opportunities to spend more time with our families and less time on an airplane.

Amanda:

Oh yeah. I know you go all over the world too, don't you?

Terry:

This is the longest stint I've been home in a long time, and I really kind of enjoy it.

Amanda:

So, Patty probably doesn't know what to do with herself.

Terry:

She's finally gotten used to me being around. If you have a conversation with her, it may be a different conversation, though.

Amanda:

So, we talked a little bit about why we're here. So, let's just jump into our main topic. Let's , talk about getting a raise at your job, and if you're ready, I have some questions. Okay. So, what is your best advice for someone who feels undervalued at work?

Terry:

It's interesting, and I think the first thing they need to do is, I mean, you feel undervalued, that's an emotional response, right? You have to figure out why. You have to define why you feel undervalued. Typically, we say, well, it's because of compensation. I mean, does more money going to make me feel more valued? Maybe, there's a lot of reasons that tie into that. So, first, I think you need to really have a clear understanding of why you feel undervalued. Is it money? Is it recognition? Is it the potential for opportunity? So that's a very multifaceted question of how you would respond to that. So, that's kind of the first stage. I think really figure out what that means. Why do you feel undervalued?

Amanda:

So kind of in an awareness of what's going on almost.

Terry:

Well , yeah. Because you have to understand that and figure out the plan and how to address it. Okay. Everybody wants to make more money. I think that's a given. I don't think there's anybody you would go to, even those who are the very top that says, are you going to keep this number? Are you happy with that for the next five years? I don't care who that is. They're going to go, well, no, I want to make more money. So, there's that element of really understanding why you feel undervalued. And we see that. I did just for some disclosure, I did listen in on your podcast with Travis, and I enjoyed some of his responses because he's looking at it from different aspects. We started off, and I loved the freight carrier. We were here before you came, and we'll be here after you leave. And I think a real key to that hits me too, is you have to look at the job you're in, I think one of the things as people, and if I start getting off on a tangent, just lasso me.

Amanda:

Okay, no , no , this is good.

Terry:

But if people look at things and get a job, okay, they need to look for opportunities in whatever they're doing. They get a degree. Maybe, it's tradesmen and different skills, but they need to look for the opportunity because there are some places where there is no opportunity. There's an element of, this is a job, this is a task, you put the bolt into the hole, screw the nut on, and that's going to be it, so, selecting that. The first step is making sure that you make decisions and looking for an opportunity as you kind of move forward. And then when you're looking for the right opportunities, you know? I'll sidetrack a little bit when, I, from a young age , I never really looked for a job. I looked for ways to make money. So, that's not the norm for everything. But even when you're looking at jobs, if it's going to be something you know is going to be temporary, you can do the best you can do, and it's going to be over in the summer. You're in college, and you're doing a summer job, the question keeps going back to how you feel valued. I'm going to flip it a little bit because the real issue here is that value, who has to see the value, is the company that's hired you, be that your supervisor, the owner, whoever that's going to be. You have to understand that value that you present has to somehow relate to company growth, company revenue. So, it's a two-way street. I mean, that's it isn't just an element of a person feeling undervalued. It's how the company has to see the value or their supervisors or whatever it may be, has to see the value of the individual. So, a nd I would say, make sure you look for the right opportunity, but then make sure that you express yourself within how you complete your work and that the company sees the value. You can begin to, here's an example. Sometimes it's easier to see if there's, and this is speaking from experience over the years with people that I've hired and had worked with, we've seen very promising people. One gentleman, a lot of what we do, is i nspection. So, we put people through training courses and then they're off in the world by themselves, representing the company with a client, inspecting, coding application or whatever it may be. And w e f ind, promising individuals and start them at a pretty good rate and then spend a huge investment, almost $15,000 putting them through the training program to get the top-level certification. So, it's an exciting time. They've completed it, we've gone through it, and then a week later they come into my office and says, I've been thinking now that I'm a level three, I should be worth more money. So, does that, you see the value p rop. Okay. The element t here i s the company made a huge investment because they saw value in the individual, and that's kind of where, he felt undervalued in this case, but the reality was the company saw a lot of value, made a huge investment. But now again that two-way street, now it's an element of the contract, contributing to the company to provide a return from that investment for the value. So, i t's again, maybe I 'm getting off on a tangent, but those are the things that are important because so much of it is how you're perceived. So, looking for advice to an individual that's trying to grow within the company, i t's y ou, you need to see the relationship and how you fit into that company being more successful, and the value that you're bringing, and the new opportunities that you can pursue. And kind of like the timing, right? Like going and getting certified and then coming back and saying I deserve more money. That was poor timing. That's a good example of how not to do it .

Amanda:

Not to do it. Yes, don't do that after you get certified.

Terry:

But, as it was, we had a conversation about it and tried to almost have the same conversation, and then the gentleman wasn't thrilled, but he ended up making a contribution, and it worked out well for him in the end. But again, I always look at the element of, there's a relationship, right? And, depending upon, when you work for a company, companies generally are there to turn a profit, to generate revenue of some sort, and ultimately successful. So, seeing how a company values that person, there's a lot of things that are involved in that. It's when they have to want to make, I don't want to say kind of back to Travis , think he went above and beyond what was really required because that was his nature to try to do that. And within that job, it probably didn't do him a lot of good. But I think it's done a lot of good in the opportunities that he founded after that.

Amanda:

So, the expectation , so exceeding expectations, having that awareness and the opportunity. Do you feel like this kind of change at all in today's world since companies are cash strapped and some are being bailed out, people are, I know companies are doing the best they can? People are unemployed. Like it's just, it's crazy what's happening right now.

Terry:

It is. And I think the good news is , if there is any good news, is you find the companies that are valuable to work for because they value the employees. I see organizations that are going above and beyond trying to figure out ways to keep their teams together. Realizing everybody's going to hurt a little bit, but still trying to keep their teams together instead of just straight, well, we're going to furlough everyone and keep the money in the bank. You know , you recognize. I remember there was a gentleman that had a shipyard here in Mississippi, and after Katrina, everything was gone in Mississippi, they got hit much harder than Louisiana. But this gentleman put everything he had into making sure that all his workers were taken care of. He helped people relocate, and he ended up bringing his business back if he hadn't done that. He had a skilled labor set that he valued, so he saw the value in his employees because of the work they had done, and they were part of the team. He valued every one of them, and he took care of them to bring them back. That's a company you want to work for.

Amanda:

Yeah, it is really telling to see some of the companies right now how they're stepping up for people, and some of the other ones that are, like you, said like furloughed, and you see that relationship of how much they do value the employees more or less.

Terry:

And you if you're looking to, again, back to feeling undervalued, and trying to figure out what that really means, in some cases, you just might not be the right fit. You've heard of the thing; you have to go sideways to go higher. Right? And that's sometimes people don't like change either. Typically, most people don't like change. If you want to make more money and be in a position where you feel more that you're being valued by the employer, the company, you may have to go sideways, and that's tough for some people. You do need to go find another opportunity.

Amanda:

Yeah. Usually, people are looking to advance or go higher . They don't want to go in a lateral position in order to make that change. So what would you say to somebody that you know, is making a move laterally or sideways in the effort to go higher .

Terry:

Okay. Don't ever do things out of spite or, people get, well I'm not being valued, so I'm going to go find something else. Well, don't be in a hurry about that. Sure, make sure you are very tactical in your approach. Even strategic is probably better, really look for what moves is going to be the best. And that's where they can take the skill set you have, and you can leverage that, and the company can leverage that to be more successful. I mean, that's where you're going to find the right fit, when people think about interviews, what gets forgotten sometimes i s the person that's being interviewed, it's okay for you to do a little bit of an interview as well. It's okay to ask, sometimes asking the right questions of the potential employer actually presents you i n a better position, right? That y ou thought things through, and you're looking at the big picture that you're looking for opportunity, and you've really thought through the process. You've looked at the company, and you understand the company. It's okay to ask those questions of, I'm not just answering what they want me to present, but to think of the questions that you need to ask to find the opportunity t hat's going to be the most beneficial to you. A nd, and I 'll tell you, if someone doesn't appreciate that, that's not the company you want to work for.

Amanda:

Yeah. Have you had anybody do that to you before? Put you in the hot seat.

Terry:

Yeah, absolutely. It was impressive, though. Let me tell you they stood out because of that, and it showed that they had really thought because it was a higher-level position. And it requires going to somebody that's going to take on a pretty big responsibility, and you're always cautious about that, from an employer standpoint, am I making the right decision ? And then the questions they asked, I mean, even into the culture of the company , they were questioning that. It made us realize they had really thought about it. This was a big consideration for them. And they put the time, and the effort, because here's what an employer wants to avoid with the exception of that person is maybe putting up, with the exception of the person putting the nut and the bolt together, building the widget. You want people that are going to be big thinkers, and you're g oing t o want people that want to understand the culture, how they're going to grow. We didn't get the question of how you would handle a situation like, COVID-1919. But that's probably a reasonable question to ask. What happens if there's a pandemic, and how are you going to deal with the employees at that point? They may not give you a great answer, but you can at least get a sense of the culture that you're going to work in because that's important. It really is. The company culture that you're choosing is significant, w ell, i t's probably the most, that the culture is what's going to determine how that company values your contribution to them. Right?

Amanda:

Is that usually your direct report, or do you think that that's just overall working with other teammates and just everything as a holistic view of the culture?

Terry:

I think it's a holistic view of the culture, but so many things are taught. Culture is top-down within an organization. If you have a good organization that has developed a culture of teamwork, and creating an environment that people want to be productive, and enjoy their work, if they find a direct report a supervisor, mid-level manager, or even vice president that doesn't toe that line, and contribute to that culture, you want to know that that's going to be fixed. So, that has to be the culture that's developed. Whatever the right word may be from the top down, then everybody contributes, right? Once the culture is established, you get a pretty good idea that you're going to be in an environment that's productive. Most people want to go to work, and they'd be happy to win the lottery. If you have to go to work, you're going to want to go to work, and enjoy the work you do. Right? You know eight hours out of your day, five days a week at the minimum. Typically, you want to be able to enjoy it. So, again, kind of goes back to that first element of making sure you're valued, just to make sure you're working for the right company.

Amanda:

So, more or less, make sure that you are a good fit. You're asking questions even up to the interview process. What about performance reviews? Once they're already in the culture, they feel like they're contributing. What do those types of conversations look like for you and your employees?

Terry:

I have to be honest. I think a lot of times, things become a process because that's a box we're supposed to check. Okay. We did their annual performance review, and you see the ones that go, okay. Well, how do you think you did or, there are so many different ways of looking at that that I think it's important. I guess the simple answer is, I hate that kind of thing. I hate annual performance reviews because it's more of a formality than something that really has value. I see some companies that try to look a t things where throughout the year, we're continually setting reasonable goals, and you help set your own goals of what you're trying to achieve. And it kind of gives more of a measurable, or a metric in how you're performing. So then at the end of the year, you can go, well, Hey, this looks good. You hit all these marks, and you actually accomplished more than you thought you were g oing to, and then you give t hem a grade, right? That's the funny thing too. What do we all want for a grade? Amanda, I know you'd be an A+ without any question. I'm g oing to t hrow your husband's name back out again. Travis and I ar e b oth instructors in the NACE CIP program, and they do evaluations at the end of the course, and it's almost, I joke a little bit. You can almost be an evangelist, right? You're showing th em s omething new, and you're carrying them down the path, and they get excited, and boy, it's a one to five, five being the highest rating, an d m an, you can get all fi ves, boom, boom, boom, boom. What does that really mean? It really means you were good at what you did, or you just really move them. Here's th e downside. When you go through to do an in-house c ourse for a manufacturer or someone where that entire group is used to doing annual performance evaluations, and things like that on a one to five, what's expected? What if you did everything you were supposed to do, what would you get? A three, re ally i n most cases, when they look at that, it's the expectation. Not just saying if you did your job as it was written in the thing, you would get a three. Wha t ar e th e things that you really do to make you a four, and then the superlative effort? The y ge t you the five, grading systems are to ugh. And I guess, I don't know if I answered a question here, or ju st threw up a big conversation. Other than, companies have that, they have policies, but don't let that be the only thing that drives how you show your performance, how you present your performance for the past year. One of the problems that you really have to avoid is don't be, and I call them the minimals. Oka y. Not millennials, the minimals, if you just do the minimum of what the expectation is, then, you have to be realistic about the value. The reality is, out of the one through a five, you're a t h ree. So, if you look, kind of e ve rybody doesn't get a participation trophy. It comes down to when people look at who they're going to promote, and they're going to look at those that do a little extra, like in today's environment. So, I've experienced this, and I had som eone that was a friend of mine. Don't ever hire your friends. I had some one who was a friend of mine that had lost their job, and I thought I saw an opportunity for them to build something. And I was willing to help sponsor that kind of venture. And they were used to making a fairly large salary in the software world. And it was like, well , I can't do that. The opportunity is here, but we can do X of that. And unfortunately, the opportunity was never seen. His rationale was, well, I'm making half of what I'm worth, so I'm only goin g to d o half of what I think I should do. The companies that have kept people furloughed, and they're going to look at the people that have still perf ormed. Ev en if there's a reduced wage, the people that have still performed, they're the ones who are goin g to s ee opportunities come out when we get back to normal.

Amanda:

The people that stepped up and all of those things kept the semi-positive attitude. I feel like it would be hard right now to be positive. What do you think?

Terry:

I've sailed and raced sailboats and delivered sailboats most of my life, especially when I was young. I took about a two-year hiatus between my junior year of college, and finishing, to deliver sailboats, having a good time. And one of my major events was I experienced a storm off Cape Hatteras that there was a group of us delivering a 50-foot sailboat. We were dismasted, and 30-foot seas documented. That's not an anecdotal. They were actually documented. But you're thinking, and you realize that that was major, I was probably 24 at that time was a major element for me in how I look at life because I was there. Nothing that I could do about it, but survive, but here's what I knew. It wasn't going to last forever. It was going to end. So, I look at weathering storms, the key issue in weathering the storm is knowing that it's not forever, it's going to end. So, you have to do everything you can do during the storm, and let that be the focus instead of being depressed about it, and worrying what's going to happen. Deal with the immediate, do what you need to do. Do everything you can. If you've been furloughed, you've been furloughed, start looking for those opportunities. Look for where you can step out of this in a brighter light because it's going to end, it will end, and the sunshine will come out again, and the seas will go back to being somewhat flat, and then you can figure it out, it's going to get back to hopefully a better state. So, use the time now if you're not working to figure out how you're going to come out better, it's going to be opportunity.

Amanda:

For sure, and I loved what you said earlier. You said I never looked for a job. I always looked for ways to make money, and that feels very appropriate with what we're talking about. Like if you have the chance right now to look for those ways almost.

Terry:

Yeah. There's always something, and I think that creates a different mindset too. Cause it makes you more self-reliant. Okay. Where you're not looking to where my job is what defines me.

Amanda:

That's true. So, typically I will ask the guests to share kind of their best war story about getting a raise, whether it's you or someone else that you know. Do you have any of your favorite compensation conversations?

Terry:

I tell you, here's what I had. I have to kind of set it up a little bit because I think this was really relevant because again, I've always kind of talked about the value, right? The value that you bring as an employee has to translate into value for the company. And we were doing work for a client and had been working for that client for three or four years, and I had, back to an inspector, I had an inspector that came on board, did a great job, really good at client relations, very good at client relations, and there's great value in that. So, he comes in and basically sits down and asked for a raise and how it had been set up was because he had gotten close to the client. The client said, well, I want this person to continue to be the one that does the work for me. I don't want anybody else. This is who I want as the primary person. So, at that point, that person came and said, the client loves me, and for you to be there, I need to be there. So, I want a r aise and here's what I think I should make. Okay. How do you think I felt about that, unfortunately, the only response I could make was, I guess we lose that client? I know you can't let yourself be put in that position. Now, here's how that person could have handled it. That wo uld h a ve b een great for both of us, that he had such a great relationship with the client. He could have said, if I can get you to bump the company rate daily basis, I can get a raise as well. So, in t hat, if he had a great opportunity to not only do something better for him but do something better for the company. He wo uld h a ve g otten it, the gentleman wanted this person on the project, wanted him bad. And that wo uld h a ve b een an easy thing to do. Both parties would have benefited. Okay. But the situation, so I've always looked at that, that the people need to understand the co mpany's n ot this thing that is just there to pull money from. The company has to make money, and the company has to be successful. The more successful the company can be if it's a good company that passes down to the employees. So, that's the one that always sticks with me. That was probably the worst way. You know, you should just come and put a gun to my head, give me a raise or I'm go ing t o s hoot yo u. An d that was the experience. So I know it, was that a good story or not?

Amanda:

That was a good story. It's kind of crazy. Did that employee stay with you?

Terry:

No, but it's funny. And here's the thing. I never take things personally, and I didn't burn a bridge and we're still friends today, and he did evolve in other areas, and I'm really happy for him. He really is a great guy, and we remained friends then maybe even have opportunities in the future. I guess that's the other side because you have to look at things in that, within that value and how you see yourself, really try to understand it, but then it isn't a personal thing, right? But to be smart about it, you have to detach a little bit, and look, I hate that , business is business. That can be bad. Okay, that's not what I'm trying to get across. But the reality is you have to look at things from the business sense. And I don't burn bridges. I do my best not to burn bridges because you never know what can happen in the future. But for that immediate, it was very simple. It was like, I can't do that and here's what I'm going to tell you why I can't do that. B ecause it sets a precedent that would create a culture, right? I mean, think about that, i s that the culture you want to create where you have employees that are basically coming with a gun to your head. S o, you want to create a culture that says, let's all prosper, help me, help the company make more money, help the company be more successful, you're going to be more successful as well. Yeah.

Amanda:

Yeah, that's true. I think that sometimes there is this mentality of us against them type of conversation. And so , I'm not sure how we bridge that. I think some of it is culture and leadership, right? We don't always have the best leaders , paving the way for us. But , we have to figure out a way to get past that us and them type of mentality I think and collaborate more almost in order to, for everyone to prosper, as you said.

Terry:

And it ended up , how that could have been bridged if, he would have come to me and said, what do I need to do to make more money? I would have said, well, the best thing to do, if we can raise the rate on your project, we can make more money. You can make more money. So, I think a lot of its communication, but it is culture. You know, it's getting past that, and you can't, I've never tried to create us versus them. It's kind of like everybody's on , I'll go back to the same thing. We're all on this ship together. If this sinks, we're all going down.

Amanda:

We're all going down.

Terry:

Hopefully, there are enough lifeboats, but that means there may not be. Right.

Amanda:

So, I want to come work for you. So is there , anything else you want to add to this national conversation about getting a pay raise you think?

Terry:

I think just to sum it up, really just, be thoughtful where you start. One of the things too that people very often start a job for less than they want, thinking that they're going to, when the employer sees how great they do, there's going to be this huge jump. You don't negotiate. I don't do that because it's harder to make bigger jobs, right? It's unless you move sideways or move into huge promotions. I mean, look for that job, be thoughtful in the job you're looking for. Research the company a bit, try to find out kind of their culture and how they look at things. And don't be afraid to ask questions during your interview, you do them in a positive way. But it's a way that it shows you're thinking about the company, your position in that company. You want to grow in the company, what are the expectations? And you know, if it's a good company, they're going to answer those questions, and most of them are going to appreciate those questions. So, part of getting the raise is starting off in the right job. And sometimes we all take things temporarily, but if you're going to take it temporarily, don't expect to go get a raise. Expect to be looking for that opportunity with a company that is going to find your value.

Amanda:

Terry, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. And , please, please share the podcast and make sure you have subscribed because a bunch of you aren't subscribed, and a lot of you haven't told your friends and family that it's the best thing since sliced bread. So, take care. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.