Latest Instagram Looks Deconstructed

January 29, 2018

loves! If you follow along on Instagram (as you should, I am ALWAYS on there) you will get to see my every day, wear-to-work looks.  When I first started this blog I thought everything should be "staged" meaning I would dress for the shoot but now that I am a year into it and really finding my groove I prefer the every day looks.  Those are where I am most comfortable and I don't have to over think it, I just wear what I feel.  Currently, we are in the "off season" since we have no winter classes, Ive taken advantage and been a bit more playful and creative with my office-wear looks.  Now, I do work in higher education and that can be a little tricky, but I work at an architecture school where creativity roams around every nook and cranny of the building, so I can afford to be a bit more creative in what I wear.  Now, when I have scheduled meetings across campus or across town, I opt for more conservative look.  That is for another post, this post is about what I wore last week so let's jump in shall we?

First Look: Sweater Dress+ OTK boots + Shearling

I never wear over-the-knee boots to work UNLESS under a long skirt or dress.  While I am all about exuding your personal style at work, I draw the line at over the knee boots with short dresses or over jeans for the office, leave that for the weekend.  Shop the look now.

Second Look: Layered Slip Dress 

This is one of my favorites this week.  This dress has become such a staple piece in my wardrobe, I had no idea when I brought it last year during one of Zara's amazing sales, for like $20!  Who says you can only wear it in warmer weather.  You can wear this with a chunky knit, under a blazer or with a basic long sleeved t-shirt like I did here.  I threw on a belt to give the outfit a structured and finished look.  Shop the look now.

Third Look: Long blazer + turtleneck knit + leather pants 

I had a work event the night I wore this outfit.  It was an alumni event so I knew that I could be a little playful with my outfit that morning.  I opted for this black and camel look with the boots as the focal point.  I LOVE these zara booties, they are out of my comfort zone and that is exactly what I love about them.  They are cut off in this photo, scroll to my next look for a better view. Shop this look now.

Final Look: Faux Leather Cullottes + Oversized Knit

My final and really my favorite outfit of the week was inspired by the gorgeous LA blogger and new mommy, Sazan.  She wore this look with a midi-skirt but the color combo is what I picked up on with this look.  I mean how amazing are these boots?? Shop the look now:

That is it my loves!  Do you like these types of wrap ups? Do you like me deconstructing looks?  

With love, 


Updated Skin Care Routine with Saranghae

January 27, 2018

It is safe to say that my last skin care routine was over a year ago and things have changed. 💖 I was looking to step my care up a bit especially during the bitter winter months and Saranghae must have read my mind and reached out.  Saranghae is a Korean anti-aging skin care company that was looking for my honest review and that is what I am about to give you.  I did not pay for these products but my opinions are 100% my own.

I have been using their 5 Step Anti Aging Skin Care products for almost a month. The kit includes an oil+foam cleanser, a firm and lift regeneration cream, a deep radiance serum, an eye cream and the absolute BEST facial mask I have EVER used in my adult life, the elemental essence mask.  The entire bundle retails for $159 and you can find it here.  You can read what they have to say about their products on their website which I have already linked three times on this post.  I want to talk about my experience, shall we jump in?

I have to admit 5 steps/ 5 different products was a bit overwhelming for my sensitive skin and at first seemed to be drying my skin.  Now, in fairness I started using these products during the coldest NYC week in history!  I am talking about weather in the 5 degrees with the windchill making it feel like -10, it was crazy!  Could have been the weather, could have been switching my skin care from a simple argan oil morning and night to now 5 products day and night.  I played around with it a little, it became clear that modification to suit my skin was necessary.  Instead of using all three creams morning and night, I dropped the cream and just used the serum and the eye cream at night after using my foam cleanser in the shower.  It worked!

1) Oil + Foam Cleanser

This cleanser is the real deal.  It is made with truffle extracts and gold (yes you read that right, gold!).  Three pumps on dry, clean hands is all you need to remove all of the days makeup and soot off of your face.  Note: Your skin has to be completely dry when applied, when in the shower use warm water to lather into foam, careful around the eyes, beauties!  The effect is that this cleanser left my face feeling completely cleansed and tight.  Loved it.  It also just feels so luxurious. I enjoyed taking those extra steps to really pamper myself, the gold flecks in the cleanser didn't hurt. :)

2) Deep Radiance Essence + Serum

So, you are fresh out of a yummy shower, your skin feels pampered and it doesn't stop there.  I applied about three pumps of the serum onto my clean and dry face.  There is an interesting smell to this serum, its not a heavy smell, it almost smells medicinal but not in a bad way.  I mean these products are anti-aging creams so the smell made me feel like it was filled with anti-aging agents which was a plus.

3) Focus Renewal Eye Cream

After applying the serum and waiting a minute for it to dry I would focus on my under eye area.  Again just two or three pumps was all I needed to cover under my eyes. Done!

4) Elemental Essence Mask

Ok, I will start by saying I am pretty well educated in the art of face masks so when I saw the elemental essence mask included in the bundle I didn't think much of it.  That was until I used it! Ok so I "mask" on Sundays after a delicious hot shower and all of my other skin care routines (you can't neglect your body skin, it ain't all about the face but that's another post).  I typically go for drugstore face masks and they are unremarkable, they get the job done and I feel pampered and ready for the week of makeup applications.  But this mask is a game changer! Once applied, you leave it on for 15-20 minutes.  It is soaked in serum that seeps into your skin while you have the mask on and AFTER!   You don't wash it off, so the seam works even after you have removed the mask.   I apply it at night and rub the excess serum on my face and neck, go to sleep and the skin I wake up to is glowing, clear and tight.  It really is a great mask!  If you get nothing else I highly recommend this mask if you are serious about skin care.

Bottom line: Once I modified the routine to fit my skin care needs I loved it!  It might seem like a lot of products and/or steps but I keep telling my readers you are worth the extra time and care.  We are such caregivers and often times we neglect our own care.  This routine felt like a long overdue, grown up skin care regiment.  I will continue to use these products even after my complimentary set runs dry.

Also, for my close readers might be wondering if I only use this at night, what do I use in the mornings? I clean my face with a cleanser and apply some argan oil and a Clarins Beauty Flash Balm before I apply my foundation.

A special thank you to the amazing Saranghae family for reaching out and sending me their amazing products.

I hope you enjoyed this skin care update as much as I enjoyed writing it.

with love,


About Saranghae
Saranghae is an award-winning Korean 5 Step Anti-Aging skin care routine that heals, regenerates and protects your skin. Saranghae’s focus on natural ingredients, highly effective products, and excellence in customer service has helped them become the fastest growing Korean skin care brand in the United States.
For more information please visit:

I Am a Bad Mom, Chapter 2, My Birth Story

January 25, 2018

So, here I am. A week into my 20th year on earth, 8 1/2 months pregnant, newly single and homeless.  Well I was staying with my parents but that hadn't been my home in some time and our relationship was rocky to put it politely.  I didn't get much sympathy seeing that they never liked my boyfriend, come late to find out, it was for good reason.  I am heartbroken. I am destroyed. I am deflated. I am scared. I am responsible for it all because ready or not this baby was coming.

The last few weeks of my pregnancy were a blur.  I do remember doing two things pretty much the whole time, crying and sleeping.  As you might remember from chapter 1 I was bedridden during my 2nd trimester and I may not have mentioned it but I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes. For those of you unaware of what gestational diabetes is, well as the name might suggest it diabetes through your gestation (pregnancy) period. This made me a high risk which meant I had to check in with my doctors almost daily.  The scary thing about having gestational diabetes is that the babies tend to be bigger and have broader shoulders which can affect whether or not they can successfully pass through the birth canal.  My doctors were trying to avoid a cesarean section.  In what was going to be my final prenatal care visit, I was told I would be admitted into the hospital at 8am the next morning for an induced labor two weeks before my due date. WOW, this was really happening.

Now, up until this point I hadn't been in contact with my boyfriend, except when he realized I wasn't at home that night I left.  He called my parents house and I took the call.  Totally distraught confused and hurt.  I told him what I found. Silence on his end. I hung up the phone and sobbed some more.  That was almost three weeks ago, now I am about to give birth to our child.  He has a right to know, right?  I thought so, my family did not.  I packed my overnight bag and slept on it.  In the morning, I woke up dazed, confused, overwhelmed, just so many emotions at one time for so many reasons.  My father and sister accompanied me to the hospital.  My mother said she couldn't stand to see me in labor and in pain so she asked to be notified as soon as I gave birth.  This is not how I envisioned my birth story to be.  I had always envisioned this being something my boyfriend and I would experience together.  A moment that will bond us with our son and to one another forever.  Now, I am looking at a very nervous but supportive sister and an ants-in-his-pants father who is totally out of his comfort zone.  They both, along with the doctors tried to make me comfortable and walked me through all of the steps.  Let the inducing begin.

First few hours, not so bad.  Not really feeling any contractions. I am feeling comfortable, this labor thing is a breeze.  I was hooked up to more than a few machines with wires on my arm and my belly.  DuckTales just came on and I can hear the theme song playing in the background when suddenly the machines started beeping suddenly flooding my room with doctors and nurses. I was scared.  What's wrong? What's happening?  One of the doctors said, Erica, the baby is in distress.  The umbilical cord is wrapped around his neck. We don't have a lot of time, we need to perform a c-section.  My heart stopped, or at least it felt like it did.  I quickly signed a form and was wheeled off to the OR.

I remember being very cold.  I remember a curtain going up starting from under my chest so I couldn't see what they were doing to me.  I was very cold. They were talking about golf while moving my organs around in search of my son.  My sister peeking over the curtain and telling me what a fine job I was doing, tears in her eyes.  A bright light in mine.  She held my hand and said, are you ok? Whats the matter?  To which I distinctly remember saying, oh you mean other than the c-section that is being performed on me? Nothing, why?  Time stood still, I couldn't tell you if minutes or hours had passed.  Time came into focus the moment they placed this beautiful baby boy on my chest, introducing me to my son.  He was beautiful.  A head full of hair (that explains all the heartburn) the sweetest dark brown eyes that look a lot like mine, staring back at me, the tiniest of balled up hands, the heart shaped lips.  I cried.  I've just met the tiny little bean that instantly, in that very moment, changed my life forever.  Machine bells started going off again, a nurse quickly grabbed my son off my chest and said we need to get you stabilized and rolled me off to another room.

Later that afternoon after I was rolled into my own room, with the nurse  and my tiny baby close behind.  My hospital room was filled to the gills with family and my mother's work friends who came directly to the hospital after work.  My epidural was wearing off and I had an allergic reaction to it that made me scratch and rub my nose the entire time they were there.  Crowding around me, snapping pictures with me and my son, it was a scene.  My son cried, the nurse suggested he might be hungry and asked if I was interested in breastfeeding.  Before this entire ordeal, I wanted to be that mom.  The one who bonds so perfectly with her new baby while being nurtured with milk that only my body can give him.  But at that moment, I just couldn't.  I asked for a bottle and asked my mother to feed him.  What was happening?  Why did breastfeeding not feel right to me? Why hadn't I even tried?

After my visitors cleared out, I asked the nurse to take my son back to the nursery so I could get some rest.  I had JUST undergone major surgery and given birth,  I thought I deserved a nap.  That night, I laid in bed with the glare of the hallway light under my door to remind me of where I was, I couldn't sleep.  I needed to hold my baby at that very moment.  I called for the nurse and asked for my baby back.  She wheeled him in to me.  I thought my heart might burst, he was perfect.  I held him in my arms and cried while I promised to love him forever and protect him with my last breath.  We had finally had our moment.

The following day, I received word that my boyfriend tried to visit us at the hospital but was denied access.  He called my room and said there was a picture of him at the security desk with a note that he was not allowed in.  I was devastated, I didn't understand what was happening.  I didn't do this. He deserved to see his son.  I wanted him to.  Was it my parents? It had to be.  Later that day when my parents came to the hospital, I asked them what they had done.  They admitted to giving the guard a picture and restricting his access to me and his son.  I cried with anger and pain.  I couldn't raise my voice or argue, you'd be surprise how important your stomach muscles are when you don't have them.  They told me, my son shouldn't have his father's last name.  They wanted me to forget about him.  My son and I would have a better life if his father wasn't in it.  How could this be?  It felt so unnatural.  I was hurting but what did that have to do with our son and his needing a father.  Can his father just be erased like he never happened?

Subscribe to the blog in order to get notifications when a new post is up.  Check back in next Friday for the continuation of my series, I Am a Bad Mom.  


Mudbound - A Netflix Movie Review

January 22, 2018

 ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘out of 4👍

The novel, Mudbound by Hillary Jordon, was recently adapted into a Netflix film, directed by visionary, Dee Reese.  The film stars a number of heavy hitters that work together to breathe life into this story.  Set in the Mississippi Delta during Jim Crow and World War II, Mudbound follows the story of two families living and working on a farm.  One family is white and the other a black family of sharecroppers.   Ronsel, the oldest son of the sharecroppers is a decorated army Sergeant in WWII who comes home after serving his country and being treated like a full, valued citizen in the European country he was based in, finding that nothing has changed.  Because he is black he is subjected to racism and the threat of violence at every turn if he does not submit to his "place".  The white family is struggling economically as are most farmers especially after slavery is abolished, although it is replaced with a new form a slavery, sharecropper.  It's honest and almost throughout you are uncomfortable and angry and that is the beauty of this story.  Both families are living awful lives, the black family more so than the white family because of legal segregation and the hate and violence that rule their lives. 

This movie is dark and there are no winners although some loose much more than others.  Someone like James Baldwin might say when discussing what happens to the humanity of racists, 
"But he doesn’t know what drives him to use the club, to menace with the gun and to use the cattle prod. Something awful must have happened to a human being to be able to put a cattle prod against a woman’s breasts, for example. What happens to the woman is ghastly. What happens to the man who does it is in some ways much, much worse. This is being done, after all, not a hundred years ago, but in 1965, in a country which is blessed with what we call prosperity, a word we won’t examine too closely; with a certain kind of social coherence, which calls itself a civilized nation, and which espouses the notion of the freedom of the world. " 

I highly recommend you check this movie out, but not if you are already having a bad day. I made that mistake this weekend and it has been hard to recover from the realities of the work we have ahead of us.

If you would like to read more, check out NYTIMES film critic, A.O. Scott's review here.

I hope you check it out.

Thanks for reading! Got any recommendations to share??  Share below!


Coats to Transition You Into the Spring- All UNDER $130!

January 21, 2018

Spring will soon be upon us and do you know what that means?  Your favorite brands are trying to offload their winter goods to make room for their spring inventory.  How do they do that?  They SLASH prices all over the place! There is no shame in my game, I am ALL about the sale and discount codes.  Ive rounded up some timeless pieces that will help you transition into the spring and can easily be used next winter!  Best part? They are all under $130!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love my coats.  I think they are very versatile and really finish a look.  Some pieces you can go very basic, a tee, jeans and some pumps. Basic.  Throw on a great top coat and LOOK ELEVATED.  These pieces are perfect for the office and for a polished weekend look.  Check 'em out!

I Am a Bad Mom, Chapter 1

January 19, 2018

The NYTimes just launched a new video series called Conception: Love. Pain. Regret. Six Stories About Becoming a Mother.  It is a powerful series that confronts the socially accepted norm that parenting is the most fulfilling, meaningful, love-jammed thing in a woman's life and instead gives a voice to women with a different narrative.  The idea that if we stray from those feelings we are indoctrinated to believe we will feel the entire life span of parenting a child is CRAZY!  Parenting is HARD and a lot of the time, it SUCKS!

I felt very inspired to share my story especially as we talk honestly about what it is like to be a woman in this society.  Parenting being considered one of the "things" that women are exclusively saddled with and are supposed to be infinitely happy doing.  A message from the time we were born and given a doll to care for it is explicitly implied that we, at the very core of our genetic makeup are maternal beings. I intend to make this,"I Am a Bad Mom"a series.  I have given it this title because of its shock value but also I feel as a parent you never feel like you measure up.  Never feel, good enough. It is a constant struggle, trying to figure out what is the "best" way to parent a child.

My son is 18 years old so I have gone through all of the formative rearing stages.  I will leave where we stand for the end of the series but I will tell you, that where we stand in our relationship today, coupled with the rearing of my 14 year old stepson, has created tremendous reflection and introspection.  I am still very much working through my feelings and it is my hope that sharing my story will resonate and bring comfort to someone in this vast web community.

I Am a Bad Mom. 

Chapter 1. 

My pregnancy story

I was 16 when I met my son's father, he was 22 years old but told me (and his family confirmed) that he was 19 years old.  The first lie of many, many lies.  I was young, naive and sheltered.  The relationship was the toughest Ive ever had.  He was abusive.  A master of lies and deception and for a young girl unexperienced in love, it proved to be a web I could not easily free myself from. Tumultuous doesn't really cover the type of relationship we had.  He would yell, get in my face and reduce me to tears. He could also be very sweet, vulnerable, child-like even.  He would confuse me and shame me for calling him out on something I knew wasn't right.  My parents hated him and tried to break us apart which only made me want it more.

At 17, a high school graduate unhappy at home with rules and restrictions, I moved out and in with him. At 19 I became, unexpectedly pregnant.  I was a college drop out, in an abusive relationship, alienated from my parents, I didn't want to become a mother.  Actually, I never considered motherhood as something I wanted or needed.  I remember not wanting to be boggled down with the responsibility of a young person even as a teen.  My sister loved being around children and would plan outings with our younger cousins and I would reluctantly accompany her.   Shortly after my first pre natal appointment, I miscarried.  It was devastating.  Confusing, because I couldn't understand why I mourned for something I never wanted.  At that moment, to help with my grief and confusion, I decided I DID want to be a mom.  Purely an emotional plea, because logistically I was completely unprepared for motherhood.  A child myself, I didnt know enough of anything to take on this responsibility.  A few weeks after the miscarriage, I became pregnant again.  What I suppose is supposed to be a wonderful time in a woman's life was actually the scariest and loneliest time of my life.

The first three months, I was sick as a dog and exhausted. So exhausted.  The next three months, I was bedridden.  My boyfriend would leave early in the morning and not return until late at night.  I would be home alone sometimes with nothing to eat.  As my belly grew so did the realization of what I had signed up for and it seemed the same was happening with my boyfriend.  He was very distant.  Unloving. He would stay out all night.  Wouldn't respond to my calls or my pages.  I was alone.  I cried a lot. When I was 8 1/2 months pregnant I (finally) discovered that my boyfriend was cheating on me.  At the time I thought it was just the one, I soon realized he was cheating on me throughout our entire 5 year relationship.  I was heartbroken and scared to confront him.  He had temper and I was VERY pregnant.  So I ran to the corner nursing home and dialed my parents.  I needed a ride.  They picked me and brought me to their home.  I cried the entire night.  I remember thinking, "what am I going to do." "How am I going to do this?"  A single parent at 19?

To be continued...

Subscribe to the blog in order to get notifications when a new post is up.  Check back in next Friday for the continuation of my series, I Am a Bad Mom.

by LifeStyledbyErica

How to Get That Raise You Deserve!

January 16, 2018

I took a poll on instagram about what you wanted my next blog post to be about and the vote was close but "How to get that raise/promotion you deserve!" took the cake.  It has been a post I have wanted to write for a while now and I was especially motivated to do it after one of my favorite bloggers, Olivia Jeanette, formerly Coporate Catwalk, started her 30 Day Workplace Challenge.  It's a great initiative to help women take small steps to accomplishing their long term professional goals.  She has great content, great style and the list goes on why I admire and follow her. I highly recommend you check her out.

As you may already know, I am a higher education professional, my current title is Executive Associate to the Dean.  I have been with this division for almost 8 years and I oversee the day to day management of the school. Around this time last year I successfully received a reclassification, which in higher ed terms, is a promotion.  I would like to walk you through the steps of my process and break down how I was able to negotiate a deal that worked for me and my boss.  This is my personal journey but we can all learn from one anther and maybe something will resonate and push you to go for it in your own career!  That is my hope, at least.

Let me start by saying this wasn't my first time at the rodeo.  I have always advocated for myself throughout my professional life, starting with my first job which was a sales clerk at a mom and pop video store, when I was 16 years old.  It worked "off the books" and below minimum wage.   I made the argument that I should be getting paid on the books and at the minimum wage. That was the beginning of a budding young Norma Rae.  I could never settle for less than what I knew I deserved and that was a lot. :)

Fast forward to my twenties, I am a single mom, living my own,  in the middle of completing my undergraduate degree while working as a part time "college assistant" in Human Resources at the college I attended.  I have always been self motivated and willing to take on more responsibility it's the eternal student in me but more than that I understood that mastering any additional skills in one job would put me at an advantage in the next.  I always think in the long term and where my exposure to new skills might lead me in the future.

First experience:

As a college assistant I was paid an hourly wage, it was reasonable considering my responsibilities.  After working in the HR department for about 1 1/2 years, there was a shift in management.  It was a sweeping shift, a few of the top associates were fired, including my boss at the time.  Our department was in flux.  Staff were shuffled around in order to implement our new Directors' vision for the department.  With my boss gone and staff leaving, the new Director was in a bit of a pickle logistically, at least for the time being.  She called me into her office and asked me if I could pick up the slack and do the work that my former boss was responsible for while she looked for a replacement.  (Knock, Knock. Who is it? OPPORTUNITY!) I, of course, having worked very closely with my boss, answered, sure! I can pick up the slack and keep things going while you look for a replacement.  I then left the office. (Bad move!) I went back to my desk and thought, wait a minute, I am assuming the responsibilities of a senior manager with a salary of nearly $90K and I am just a college assistant making no where near what I should with my new job responsibilities.  I got up off my seat and went back into her office.  I said, could we talk about my wage?  She smiled and asked what I was earning.  She then decided to put me at the top of the hourly wage for the title.  I thanked her and walked out, like a lady, but later went into the bathroom to scream, YES!!

Insider Secret:  No boss is EVER going to say, "You know what(insert your name here)? You are an absolute asset to this company.  I have added to your work load.   You deserve a raise and I'm going to give it to you!"  It just doesn't happen.  If they can get you to do the work and add additional responsibilities without increasing your salary, its a win for them!  My director at the time knew that I would be working out of title and being grossly underpaid, but hey, if I didn't say anything, why would she?  It's just not in their interest.  Directors have a budget and if they can get away with getting you to do more with less, they will.  That "looks" like good management.  You have to advocate for yourself.  I realize in the scenario that I described, the opportunity presented itself and I got lucky.  Ok, lets keep going.

Second experience:

Now I am a college assistant at the top of my hourly salary with nowhere to go at that title.  I am also graduating with a four year college degree and looking for a full time job with benefits!  I loved my job in Human Resources, I loved the staff, the management, location etc.  I was happy and wanted to stay.  I scheduled a meeting with the Associate Director of HR, aka, my boss to discuss my plans and desire to stay on after graduation.  I developed a very good repore with him and I knew he was wondering what I was planning to do.  To prepare for the meeting, I made sure to document all of my current responsibilities.  I did some research and looked into titles at the college that fit what I was already doing in the department and what a salary for those titles would start at.  He was impressed with my presentation.   Unfortunately, he said the department was at capacity and could not afford a new full time line. Ok, I had prepared for this response.  I took a breath and I said, "Ok.  I appreciate your honesty but considering my long term goals and my financial situation, I would like to let you know that I will begin looking for full time employment.  Would it be ok to include you as a reference?"  He smiled and said sure.

Insider Secret:  Now here is the kicker.  That "rejection" hurt and its hard to not take it personally. But I am telling you, don't take it personally.  PERIOD.  It took a lot to keep my composure and let him know what my next move would be.  I really did not want to go anywhere else BUT I knew my worth, I knew the value I added to the department and the team and I wasn't going to settle.

Now, when you say to your boss that you will begin looking for opportunities elsewhere, that can't be a bluff.  You have to REALLY be prepared to dust off that resume (although you should be keeping it updated throughout the year) and get back out there!  Apply, Apply, APPLY!  I do believe that what is meant to happen will happen.  Now at the time I knew I wanted to stay where I was BUT I also had faith that although starting over would be hard, it wasn't impossible.

*We often times think we know what we want or what's best without considering the giant world we live in filled with possibilities never considered.*

Don't think you have leverage? Create it!  

Ok, so you have that meeting with your boss and you've been rejected.  It may seem that your employers have all the cards and in some ways, yes, they have a good hand BUT don't undersell yourself.  There is great power in your labor.  Lets face it, companies can't work without labor.  Sure labor is abundant BUT not all laborers were created the same, you have to believe in your "it" factor.  In other words, you can't be easily replaced and there is always a fear of turn over and all that comes with training and onboarding a new team member.  Its not always in their interest to lose a great team member.

So, I did JUST as I said.  I started applying to jobs that fit the title and salary I wanted and before I knew it I was called in for an interview.  I rocked it, mostly because I knew I didn't really want the job.  It was my first interview in four years, and I wanted to wet my toes a little where the stakes were low.  Before the week was up, this new potential employer was calling my references, including my boss!

NOW, here is the moment of truth.  Your current employer knows you are serious and that you are being seriously considered for another job.  They can play it one of two ways.  1) Remove any of the obstacles that were once in their way from giving you a proper offer OR 2) they can plan your going away party.

In my case, they took the first option.  I was called into a meeting, after a few other meetings were had, including one with the university president.  I was told in that meeting, that they wanted some more time to get a position for me approved.  I asked for a timeline.  We agreed on the timeline and within a few weeks you were looking at the new Specialist for On Campus Employment, a dream job in so many ways because I was helping students find employment on campus that would ensure their successful completion of their college degree.  Did I mention it was a brand new initiative, which meant I had to develop it from the ground up.  It was a perfect match for someone with limitless ambition and energy!  SUCCESS!

Latest Experience

Fast forward a few years, a change in departments and with it a title and salary promotion and you find me in the fall of 2016.  I had just completed the grueling and laborious task of completing an accelerated two year graduate program.  I successfully earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College.   I was already implementing the management strategies learned in the classroom, in the office while working on my degree.  My confidence shot up and I had a vision for the position I currently held and what it was evolving into.  In this case, again there was a shift in management our Dean had been replaced by an interim Dean, the department was influx and I was needed more than ever to maintain stability and a "business as usual" attitude so as not to raise concern.   Change in an organization can be difficult.  This was also an opportunity to strike.  I used the same strategy explained in the second experience.  Prepared and researched for a sit down meeting.  The first time around, I wasn't able to successfully convey my vision or my argument for a "reclassification" (promotion).  This was a blow but again this will happen.  You must prepare for the no.  In a perfect world, we get what we ask for, we don't live in that world.

But then opportunity knocked:

About a month after my meeting, we lost our development officer.  While she was with us, I worked very closely with her on fundraising campaigns.  I wanted to understand how development worked and she was more than happy to explain it to me.  This was completely out of title but again I understood the value of adding this experience to my "tool box" not just for this position but future positions.  I made the effort and was supported by my boss.   The development officer left suddenly after working with us for a little over a year, leaving a gap at the school for a donor liaison.  She had made all of these connections and included me in the conversations so it made sense that I would assume her responsibilities for the foreseeable future.  What do you think my answer was?  Ok I will tell you.  I explained to my boss that I understood how important these responsibilities were for the school and the students we served, however I could not consider adding these responsibilities without opening up our discussion for a reclassification.

 LEVERAGE! I received my reclassification and salary increase within the month.  Keep scrolling for the takeaways.


1) Never be afraid to ask for what you deserve.  And yes, you do deserve it.
2) Not every successful negotiation has to end with a salary increase or promotion, maybe you would prefer a more flexible schedule, some days work from home, or come in late on some days, leave early on others.  Salary isn't the definition of success, it helps, but everyone's needs are different.
3) Be prepared!  I can't stress enough how it is your responsibility to go into that meeting understanding your position, able to articulate your new responsibilities and make the argument for that promotion or salary increase.
4) Know what you are asking for before you enter the room.  If it is a salary increase, how much, what is the range? If you are asked, what is your price? Have an answer.  Start with a higher number, nothing insane, this is where research comes in.  Check out job search engines, see if you can find similar positions to your own and see what the salary being offered is, is it a match?  That is important to know when discussing your number.
5) Be prepared for a no.  It happens, it happened to me in two of my stories above.  "Failure" if you want to call it that,  happens but the lessons are always the take away.
6) Be prepared to walk away.  If at the end of the meeting it is clear your boss can't match your salary request be prepared to say, "I understand and appreciate your time."  Feel it out, in my story, I was able to say to my boss I would be looking for other opportunities and asked if he would be a reference.  That might not work in your company so maybe you don't want to verbalize this intention.     But DO be prepared to look for another job that fits your skills, education and is offering the salary you are looking for.  Now, in some cases they need a little "push" and getting an offer from another company might be that push that gets you what you want.  In some cases that happens, but don't go out looking for an offer that you aren't fully prepared to accept if you don't get that counter offer. In my story, I wasn't going to accept that first offer, but I was still actively applying to and setting interviews up as they called.
6) Be that go-getter.  Have that "can do" attitude, learn what you need to learn.  I can't stress enough it isn't all about the dollar, taking on additional responsibility outside of your own skill set is just increasing your marketability for the next position.
7) Change is difficult but not insurmountable. If you have reached that point in your career where you are ready for that promotion and you don't get it, its not like you can put the genie back in the bottle.  The last thing you want to do, is make the ask, get the no, and then sit and sulk in that position deteriorating into an unproductive, bitter employee.  Don't be that person.  

Thoughts? Have a story or some insight to share?  Comment down below!

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