Hey, Reddit! Shana here. I've covered jobs and careers at Business Insider for nearly six years. My main focus is the HR Insider series, for which I've interviewed talent leaders at Microsoft and Google and published guides to landing a role at Goldman Sachs and Salesforce. I'm always thrilled to help people find — or craft! — their dream jobs. Now's the time to ask whatever's on your mind about job-searching and career development in a recession.

Find me on LinkedIn.

Hey, Reddit! It’s Erica. I have worked for the past twenty years with some of the most iconic brands in the world as a consultant, speaker, author, and professional dot-connector. I help companies design more human workplace cultures and help people at all levels bring their human to work.

Find me on LinkedIn.


EDIT: And that's a wrap! Thanks for these incredibly thoughtful questions! If you have more, you can send them to [email protected]

Comments: 238 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

Djeter99835 karma

Hi! I used to work at Business Insider, so cheers! My question is: What is the best thing an employee can do in a situation when they feel their title/salary does not match their workload and responsibilities? I currently have almost the same responsibilities as my colleagues with more senior titled and salaries. They are older than me with more experience but we are all treated as equals and work on the same projects. I’ve spoken about wanting to work toward a promotion with my boss and she has been supportive and says it’s good to work toward but so far nothing. Besides moving on to greener pastures, is there anything I can do to prove I am worthy of the Senior title?

reneekun9 karma

I am looking for an answer to this as well, with a different situation. I work as a software implementations specialist for a small company. My team of 2 recently went down to just me, and in my ex-partner's absence they have thrown me all of his projects with no help in sight, nor a pay increase or promotion. Same pay, same spot, over double the work. Is it worth sticking it out or should I move on?

BusinessInsider7 karma

If you like the job(s) and are learning from it, I'd say it's worth trying to make it work.

Have you had this conversation with your manager? If not, start keeping a log of your responsibilities and the results you've achieved. QUANTIFY your accomplishments whenever possible — hard data is generally more persuasive. Tell them that because you've contributed so much to the company, you'd like to see a commensurate increase in compensation.

If that doesn't work, you can start to think more seriously about exploring other opportunities.


BusinessInsider-24 karma

Cheers to you!

My best advice here would be to start doing the work of someone senior right now (within reason). You want to show your manager, and their manager, that you can handle those responsibilities and make an impact in that role.

As for salary, that's tricky. If you think you're unfairly compensated, you can ask a few people in your industry and job function (at your employer or not) to give you a ballpark estimate of what they think you should be making. Interesting though that you mentioned some of your colleagues have more experience — that could explain why they're getting paid more.


k0r0ze21 karma

why do you think internal recruiters are so bad at following up with candidates?

BusinessInsider14 karma

Recruiters can be so overwhelmed although that is no excuse for not following up - in my opinion. Keep trying to connect with them, but lower your expectations as i've heard it's happening everywhere and try not to take it personally.


wickzer21 karma

What advice do you have for regular employees of young start ups to help manage inexperienced/naive leadership?

BusinessInsider26 karma

Managing up! Love this question.

When you talk to leadership, I'd frame the conversation in terms of what *you* need in order to do your best work for this company. (Better communication? More flexibility on deadlines?) I'd avoid generalizations about their overall leadership ability.


karstovac18 karma

What options are available for growth inside of a company aside from management? Every job I’ve had the knot upward mobility comes from becoming a manager or something administrative(Nursing, for the record). It seems odd to me that promotions always seem to lead back to managing others and administration

BusinessInsider17 karma

This question feels somewhat personal to me, since I'm also an individual contributor (correspondent at Business Insider) and I don't particularly want to become an editor/manager!

You're right that it's odd that promotions always seem to involve management. Unfortunately some companies realize this and others don't.

Are there people at your organization (nurses) who are doing what you'd eventually like to do? Maybe they have senior titles and a lot of autonomy, but don't manage a team of people. If so, take them to (virtual) coffee and ask how they got there.

Perhaps most importantly, think about what *you* want out of your job and career. More exciting projects? A higher salary? Greater recognition? How can you get those things without moving up the proverbial ladder?


BusinessInsider14 karma

Many companies (even if they don't talk about it as widely), have two tracks individual contributor and management tracks. I would have conversations with your boss about all of the options, but interestingly many assume that everyone wants to manage people.


kollegekidkardashian12 karma

Hello! What is your favorite advice to give to recent college graduates who are starting their career?

BusinessInsider33 karma

Everyone likes to talk about the importance of passion, and following your passion — especially at college commencement ceremonies!

This advice is misguided.

You can absolutely develop passion over time, especially for something that you're good at and that your company needs. (See Patricia Chen's 2015 paper on this — fascinating.) Passion doesn't always fall down and bonk you on the head, and it's not always easy to find a job that matches your passions anyway!

That said, if you have the resources to be able to choose, try to take a job that seems at least mildly enjoyable and meaningful to you.


ZarathustrasLion12 karma

I've become disillusioned with the recruiting process, namely, submitting good applications and hearing nothing (not even a rejection). Is there a way out besides just starting my own business? I have 3.6 GPA and major in accounting

BusinessInsider7 karma

I hear you. Submitting applications on-line sadly often go into a dark hole. How can you use your network to make personal connections inside of a company? It seems like you are in college, does your school have an alumni network? Join an accounting group - national or even local to where you live. Those groups often have job boards and networking opportunities. How about your professors? You need to make it personal and try to use everyone in your network to get out of the general pool of applicants.


BusinessInsider7 karma

I'm sorry to hear this.

Starting your own business is certainly an option, but before you do that, know that a "warm introduction" can make a lot of difference. Candidates who come through referrals are more likely to get hired than candidates who don't (see a 2015 Glassdoor study on this).

Scour your LinkedIn network and see if you have any friends/former colleagues who work at these companies. Ask if they'd be comfortable flagging your application or even making an intro to the hiring manager. That way you'll be less likely to get lost in the shuffle!


techtrician11 karma

It is generally understood that employee turnover rate is a direct reflection of supervision and/or management. How does one improve this dynamic from the bottom up; or from a position that is not management or supervision?

BusinessInsider1 karma

This is an interesting question. Usually the folks who care deeply about retention rates are in management!

Have you joined any employee resource groups? Are there any company-culture initiatives you can contribute to? These could be ways of improving the organizational culture from the bottom up (and developing your own career).

You can also pitch some new ideas about how to improve the work experience at your company based on the data/observations you've gathered. See what happens.


BusinessInsider-12 karma

I love this question. First, as a shameless plug, check out my book, Bring Your Human to Work! It talks about how everyone at any level can make change. Come armed with data - if you can share how your team has lost a bunch of people and how that is impacting morale and the bottom line, perhaps he/she would be open to some of your ideas. Do a survey to find out what is on people's minds? Think about ways for team members to feel more engaged? Are there different ways that your manager can structure meetings? I like to approach these conversations with data and because often times they don;t want to be "bothered" with the touchy feely stuff. But, the soft stuff is really the hard stuff.


spurious_annotations6 karma

Do you have any tips on how one might go about transitioning to a position in the for profit sector, with a background in exclusively nonprofit work?

BusinessInsider6 karma

Hi. When you change jobs, you can't change industry and function at the same time. So, if you are an accountant in nonprofit, look for an accountant job in the for profit sector to make the change and then begin to look for other roles. In my experience, if you have strong functional experience, you can transition from not for profit to for-profit pretty easily. There will be some new things to learn, but it is doable. But you can't change BOTH industry and function at the same time.


ThBaron6 karma

did the pandemic change the qualities employers looks for? Are they looking for any new particular skill set?

BusinessInsider12 karma

Indeed it did, though I would say it's more about attitude than skillset.

Many employers had to pivot, or at least tweak, their organizational strategy because of the pandemic and the resulting recession. So they're looking for employees (and job candidates) who can roll with the punches. This is often called "adaptability" — people who are comfortable with change and who are willing to learn and grow.

You can showcase your adaptability in a job interview by talking about a work experience where you had to develop a new skill or tackle a new project, and what you learned from it.


Cacafuego5 karma

Do you have any advice for someone who has worked themselves into a gilded cage? I love the culture of my workplace and the people I work with, but the subject matter is no longer of interest to me and I'm starting to stagnate. After years in this field, my knowledge is specialized and my pay is very good.

Something has to change: either I need to fall in love with my job again or I need to transition to something new, which might involve a significant pay cut. Have you seen people successfully work through similar dilemmas?

BusinessInsider6 karma

I think you framed this question very nicely. Specifically, you mentioned that you may "need to fall in love with [your] job again," which means you know that quitting isn't the only option.

Does your company have any opportunities for internal mobility (ie, switching jobs or teams)? If the current subject matter isn't interesting to you anymore, something else might be. And your employer already knows you're a hard worker and a high performer!

It's worth finding out.


ONTaF4 karma

Hi Shana and Erica! Thank you so much for doing this, I'm really looking forward to scrolling this thread for your insights. My question is: What advice do you have for trying to move diagonally in your career, rather than just vertically?

I'm in my late 20s and am currently an L&D Program Manager. However, I want to move into a more strategic role in Government or Finance. Some of the jobs I've recently applied for are Ops Manager, Knowledge Manager--really anything that focuses on improving processes and systems. I know I have the goods to be successful in that kind of role, but a lot of my experience is informally-gained and so many job descriptions request direct role experience. Do you have any tips on how to navigate a pivot like this, and how to show yourself to your best advantage?

Thank you both!

BusinessInsider8 karma

It's awesome that you already know you have what it takes to succeed in a new role. That makes it easier to convince a hiring manager!

I'll go back to what I said in my responses to some other questions here: Quantify everything. You mentioned that much of your experience is informal. Can you write down any results you achieved, or anything that came of your ideas and efforts, even if you weren't directly employed as an ops/knowledge manager? This is what you'll want to show hiring managers, even the ones that say they're looking for direct role experience. It might persuade them to give you a shot.

My other suggestion is to do some form of apprenticeship or helping out someone who has the job you want. There's no financial compensation here, so it may not be the right choice for you right now. But it will certainly be an important learning experience that can propel you forward in your career.


bluebell_flames184 karma

Any advice on highlighting when you have very applicable work experience (10 years in logistics), but no completed bachelors degree? I know HR tends to gloss over resumes that don't fit that basic requirement.

BusinessInsider7 karma

The good news is is that this seems to be changing. Companies are now more open to work experience as a proxy for a bachelors. I would focus on what you have done in your cover letter and be very upfront that you don't have a BA but here is why you have the experience to do the job.


MMSR323 karma

I’m currently a stay at home dad but I’ve been a department level manager at multiple hotels and was most recently the National sales manager of my company before I resigned to stay home.

When I eventually head back to work, what should I try for as far as positions go? My experience won’t be as current and I’ll have a multiple year gap in my work history.

BusinessInsider4 karma

When I eventually head back to work, what should I try for as far as positions go? My experience won’t be as current and I’ll have a multiple year gap in my work history.

I'm glad you asked!

I'll float an idea by you, knowing that stay-at-home parents are very busy and that you may not have time for this. Have you taken any online courses, read any books, listened to any podcasts, or talked to any influential folks in your industry recently? You may not have been working a traditional job like a national sales manager, but you can certainly talk in interviews about how you've worked on your professional development.

Also: How do you feel about your last employer? They may very well want you back. They already know you're a high performer (and probably a quick study), so you won't have to convince them of that.


BusinessInsider0 karma

THink about your functional responsibilities in your last few roles. Aside from "management" which is so broad, were your skills in finance, operations, sales, marketing? While you may not go back in the management position, stay focused in either the same industry and/or the same function.Also, when moms (or dads) leave the workforce to stay home... many will take on volunteer positions where they can use those skills. Also, look into online classes to stay up to speed - there are so many great ones on Udemy, Coursera, Linkedin learning etc.


Possumbyknight2 karma

How do I get an internship at Insider? What can I do to stand out?

BusinessInsider0 karma

I'm delighted to hear you're interested!

It depends on the specific team you're looking at, but get familiar with Insider's recent coverage. Think about the stories that impress you, and the stories you think could have been better (and why). Insider happens to be very open to new ideas and ways of doing things, especially if it's based on data about what's worked in the past.

Hope to see you around the office! (Well, when we're all back in it.)


zurbzurbzurb2 karma

What are some of the biggest interview mistakes people commonly make, and how do we avoid them?

BusinessInsider5 karma

Biggest mistakes. 1. People aren't prepared/do their homework 2. They don't listen to or answer the questions being asked. 3. The don't ask questions.


BusinessInsider3 karma

This might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you do your homework on the company, industry, and role you're applying for! Before you head into the interview, spend some time thinking about why you want *this* particular job (versus a similar job at a competitor, for example).

Also consider how you'd add value to the company. Remember that you're convincing the hiring manager that hiring you would benefit the organization — not that hiring you would benefit your career.

Good luck!


acoradreddit2 karma

Hi Shana, are you any relation to Fawn Lebowitz?

BusinessInsider2 karma

Not that I'm aware of!


humanperson71 karma

I'm attempting a career change, by going back to school. I worked in live event production for several years, but covid really messed with that industry and I've decided to make a big change. I'm going back to school with hopes of becoming a web developer eventually.

Do you have any good tips for trying to make a career change to a completely different field?

BusinessInsider3 karma

Going back to school is the best thing you can do to pivot. It really does give you a brand new start and the key is to have the technical expertise to branch into a new role. A web developer is a very specific and if you have the technical skills, i don't see it being an issue. You could also look for web developer positions in the events "space" - many companies are now launching online events business and you can bring your events knowledge to a web developer job in that space. Good luck!


GuiltyUmbrella1 karma

Hi Erica & Shana, I am a digital design team lead on an implementation team at a saas startup. I love my job and team. What is the growth trajectory of this path that I should be aware of and should I be training my self in other skill sets? My current skills are graphic design with some minimal css/html knowledge.

BusinessInsider1 karma

I am happy that you like your job and your team. I don't know the exact growth trajectory of this job, but you should start to research what your managers job is and your managers manager to get an idea of those skills and what is the gap between what your skills and those skills. That will give you an idea of where you need to increase your skills to move up to the next position. Also, if you have a good rapport with your boss, just ask him/her. You can say... I love my job, but i development is important to me. If i want to keep progressing in my career, what skills do you think i need to develop?"


TheGermAbides1 karma

What is the best way for someone who is in their mid-30s to make the jump from middle management to upper/director executive path? How do you stay on trajectory and not plateau?

BusinessInsider1 karma

Sometimes the best thing to do is to move companies to get that bump. Within the same company, you need to really understand the next level jobs, the skills and experience required and any gaps that are in your background and identify ways to close the gaps. As you move up in the organization, there are fewer positions, often less turnover, and when people do leave companies often want to do an outside search and not automatically give it to the inside person. It stinks, but that is what often happens. So be open to roles inside and outside your firm.


BusinessInsider1 karma

My first thought is: Have you had a conversation with *your* direct manager about your career ambitions? They may be in a position to help you, for example by letting you know about leadership opportunities that open up. But if they don't know about your long-term goals, it makes it harder to help.

You can also ask your boss where they think you need to improve in order to land one of these leadership roles. Make a plan — either by yourself or with your boss — to address those challenge areas, maybe by taking an online course on leadership development.

And this might seem obvious, but don't hesitate to arrange (virtual) coffee meetings with leaders at your company who are doing what you'd like to do. Ask them how they got to where they are, and what they wish they'd done differently.

Best of luck!


ilfollevolo1 karma

Hi, thanks for your availability. I am in a bit of a swamp, I have been working for the same company, in the same position (project engineer) for 10 years. I have worked in three different countries because the technology I am specialized in is not widespread (geothermal energy). I am close to completing the fifth project as PE and my company is showing no signs of being willing to make me advance with my carreer. The time I invested in my job is playing against me because other people have marketed themselves better and there is a "line" to jump positions. I have no idea what to do... Any suggestions?

BusinessInsider2 karma

First, identify what the next position you would want to have in your company - the title and the list of responsibilities. The issue that you are having is that you so competent in this PE role that your manger doesn't want to lose you and has no incentive to move you to another area. Perhaps you can say to your manager that for now you will work on his/her projects but that you also want to branch out into other areas. Maybe 80-20 or 70-30? Are there other senior people you can networking with at the firm to build other relationships?


BusinessInsider1 karma

Great questions coming in! We're just about ready to get started answering them.

We'll sign our posts "-SLG" (Shana) and "-EK" (Erica).

DisciplinedPriest-2 karma

Kind of off topic but do you guys have any advice for dealing with employees - direct reports that just don’t seem to have any motivation?

BusinessInsider0 karma

These kinds of employees can be toxic to your culture so i would address it quickly. YOu can have 1-1 meetings to try to get at what their issues are and/or you can address these issue at team meetings by saying that you feel like something is going on and that you as the manager would love to help them etc. Employee engagement typically is around 30% so you are not alone if many team members don't seem engaged. You need to figure out why and if there is anything you can do about it. I have a new book on rituals (Rituals Roadmap) coming out next month which a lot of ideas around how to get people motivated.