At the 2022 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, shared strategies on discovering your value and skills to ask for more money at work
Although many experts focus on the importance of being empowered, it’s even more important to empower yourself, as this comes from within you rather than from others, according to Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. During a lecture at the 2022 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference (ACVC) in Atlantic City, New Jersey,1 Lacroix outlined methods for empowering yourself in the veterinary workplace by revealing your true worth and then leveraging this knowledge and confidence to earn more money.
Lacroix noted that online tests and consultants are available to help individuals make a realistic assessment. Alternatively, they can complete a self-assessment that identifies strengths and weaknesses. Some strengths may be experience-related (eg, work history, educational degrees and certifications, unpaid positions, etc), or skill-related (eg, leadership, organization, communication, problem-solving abilities, etc). To determine strengths, individuals can search online characteristics and experiences that are attractive to employers and this same list can help them reveal their weaknesses as well.
“I would like you to go home and write those strengths down. I know you have plenty of them…[think] about, ‘What do I do well? What am I good at?’ And in each element, [also consider your] personal challenges,” Lacroix told ACVC attendees.
Importantly, a self-assessment should be realistic. Lacroix noted that individuals do not want to be too modest and undervalue themselves in the workplace, or too overconfident that they cannot live up to their own expectations.
To further advance in your career while earning more money, it’s also beneficial to plan for ways you can continuously develop. Lacroix advises that it may help to receive guidance from a trusted mentor who provides clear, constructive feedback. Multiple mentors can be useful too, for various perspectives.
To find the ideal mentor, Lacroix suggests looking around at those you have worked or networked with. “There might be mentors there that are in hiding, so go to lunch with somebody who might be a potential mentor. And take advantage like you are [of] continuing education meetings to gain knowledge and to network with each other. Some of you have local management groups or local technician groups so reach out to each other,” she told attendees.
Once you find a mentor who has your best interest at heart, Lacroix advised being open to their input as this can serve as invaluable insight that one may not have recognized in themself. Individuals should also keep in mind the feedback their mentor provides so it can be directly addressed, while displaying dedication to making improvements.
In today’s world, branding isn’t just for products but for professionals as well, and they can convey through a personal branding statement what makes them unique and an asset to proclaim their worth in the workplace. Lacroix noted that this also allows individuals to empower themselves, since those who do not declare a personal brand, will ultimately have others do it for them.
What is a personal branding statement? “It’s an art, and it’s selling yourself by also knowing what somebody else needs…because if you [don’t] find what it is they need, or put it in language that they need, they’re not listening,” said Lacroix.
Some questions she noted that can help professionals develop this statement include what they each stand and advocate for such as: What do you aspire to do now, and in the future? What areas of work would make you a good employee or a great leader? Where are you further improving?
Once a personal branding statement is created, how to best communicate it is learned not only through words but through an individual’s actions each day at work.
While individuals further improve themselves personally and professionally and serve as ongoing learners, they deserve a raise. To do this, though, professionals must ask for it, emphasized Lacroix.
Some tips she gave to attendees about asking for a raise include:
Additionally, if you get told, “no” professionals should be prepared for how to respond. Regardless, Lacroix stated that asking for a raise showcases an individual’s value for themself and confidence. It can result in a raise in the future at a current workplace or can inspire one to find a new role.
To honor the mentors and other supportive professionals that have helped a professional advance in their career, Lacroix suggested they “pay it forward,” and offer others similar insight. Some examples of doing this may include serving as a mentor, introducing those in the industry who may help each other, and complimenting those putting in hard work.
Lacroix C. Understanding your worth and using it to earn more salary. Presented at the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference; Atlantic City, New Jersey. October 10-12, 2022.