NYWICI Aloud Blog: Navigate Sticky Work Situations

astering the ins and outs of thriving and surviving in the workplace can be challenging. That's why the Young Professionals Committee teamed up with Lord & Taylor for its Sticky Situations Happy Hour on Nov. 15, 2016, with a panel of experts, who discussed sticky situations ranging from negotiating salaries to treading the line between colleagues and friends.

Moderator Vanessa Clark, director of Human Resources at Lord & Taylor led a lively discussion with panelists Laura Burkart, director of People & Culture at Superfly; Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid; and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper, founder/principle of The COOPERation.

The panel kicked off its discussion with the question why women shouldn't sweep accomplishments under the rug for fear of coming off as overconfident. Meryl, the author of “Be Your Own Best Publicist: How To Use PR Techniques To Get Noticed, Get Hired & Get Rewarded At Work”, stressed how women should strive to be their own best publicists. Claire echoed that notion, explaining that when self-promotion comes from passion and a deep belief in your work, others will recognize it and root for you to succeed. Laura brought the HR perspective into the mix, illustrating the importance of quantifying accomplishments to show exactly how you kicked ass.

Here are a few other key takeaways: 

Laura Burkart

  • Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) in interviews. The context of your story is what makes it powerful. Start with the situation, explain the task at hand, the specific action you took and end with the result.
  • When it comes to salary, have a range in mind and have flexibility. Don’t be afraid to have a dialogue about money — it’s like hiding symptoms from a doctor.
  • Your friends at work should be people you aspire to be, and always be those with solutions, not problems. Keep venting out of the office and try to keep it positive.

Claire Wasserman

  •  Create an environment where you feel safe to talk about money. Also, seek out resources such as GlassDoor, Fairy God Boss and LinkedIn.
  • To help balance workload and manage expectations, use Trello or priority systems to check-in and show what projects you’re working on. It doesn’t hurt to put in a 14 hour work day every now and then —and make sure they notice.

Meryl Weinsaft Cooper

  • When negotiating your salary, do your research, identify your value proposition and be flexible. Think beyond just the salary — benefits, travel, vacation and flexibility are ways to solve the puzzle.
  • When dealing with difficult people in the workplace, start with praise, state the problem and end with praise. For example: "I value your contributions, so I would like you to stay more focused in meetings, because I want to hear from you."

And, as Claire joked in the panel, all of this advice is transferrable to dating.