Career Advice Tuesday – “SOC-Sessful”

May 17, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

Currently I work in security operations for a Managed Security Service provider, and I am responsible for our company’s largest customer.  Supporting a customer like this requires 7X 24 effort – and I am often called upon for late nights and weekends.

Recently, my manager called me into his office, and let me know that our company’s sales team has acquired another “flagship” client, and we are going to need to provide them with the same level of support and client service.   The manager has informed me that they are going to want me to be the main point of contact for the client.

I first asked who would be taking over my previous responsibilities, and he remarked that nothing would change and I would be now expected to manage both clients.    When he told me this, my expectation was that this increase in responsibility (and time commitment) would coincide with a salary increase, but as the meeting drew to a close, it was clear that this was not on the table.

After thinking about this, I feel that I am taking advantage of.  The increase in work means more time away from my family, more weekends, more responsibility, and lets face it, more pressure.

Not quite sure that I want to take on all of this without any additional financial incentive.   I have flirted with leaving the company in the past, but like working here and believe in our mission.  In fact, the client that I am supporting has approached me a number of times to come work for them – and I know that this option is open to me.

Do you have any advice for me?





Dear “SOC-Sessful”:

First of all, congratulations for doing a good job and being recognized for additional responsibility by your manager and employer.  The fact that they have demonstrated this to you by attempting to give you additional responsibility provides you with an indication that you are valued and subsequently provides you with some leverage in these future discussions.

What we would like for you to do is to schedule a meeting with your current manager to discuss the new responsibilities and requirements.  During this meeting, you should have your manager clearly express any new requirements that they will have on you – this should include their expectations of additional time, service, skill, and availability.   Once your manager expresses this to you, you should first let them know that you are happy to take on additional responsibility,  but your expectations would be that if you are successful your expectation would be that you would receive additional compensation – in terms of salary, bonus, and equity (if this is an option) .   You should ask your manager to review these items with you, six months from today – and even ask them to calendar the meeting when your are in your office.   In addition, at this time, you should inform your manager that, beginning with the new assignment,  you would like to have some more discretion over your vacation/PTO time – considering your time away from your family will increase.

By doing both of these things you are setting some precedent with your manager:

1)   You are letting your manager know that you are willing to take on more responsibility and are willing to prove yourself without immediate reward.   This is a sign of maturity – and should be recognized.  At the same time, you are also letting your employer now that you have an expectation for a financial reward, if you perform your job well.   This gives your manager the necessary time to plan with their management to budget for these financial outlays.

2)   By asking for discretion on vacation, you are demonstrating that you will demand additional benefits for increased workload.  This sets a precedent to your manager that they can not give you additional work, for nothing in exchange and that your time is valuable.   Giving you discretion over vacation is something easy for your manager to provide you, without any permission from their management.

What you have effectively done is make some demands on your management without “holding a gun” to their head.

Once you embark on this new assignment, ask your manager to review you in 60 days, and 120 days, leading up to your six month review.  This will provide you with a documented status, on your performance.   During these meetings you can remind your manager of your expectations of increased compensation.   You should have a pretty good understanding of what your manager thinks of your progress and performance.

If in six months, you do a good job, you will have that meeting with your manager, and you should have your increase.  If you do not receive your increase, keep your client’s number on speed dial, as if they do not financially reward you, you will have no other choice but to leave.

The reasoning is that by ignoring your request,  your company will have effectively set the precedent that they can give you more work, without any additional  pay – and if you accept this, they will continue to do so.

Hope this helps,

Lee and Mike


Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Career Advice Tuesday, Compensation, Skills 


2 Responses to “Career Advice Tuesday – “SOC-Sessful””

  1. Guest on May 17th, 2011 2:07 pm

    I’ve been reading all your Career advice Tuesday posts and have agreed with every single one of them so far, however unfortunately with this one I believe you are way.. off base.

    This employee already has a work load and they are effectively trying to double it with no increased compensation. Maybe I mis-understood but increased discretion on PTO time sounded like having more flexibility to take vacation when he wanted to. This is no where near compensation for close to twice the work load.

    He has already proven himself to be an outstanding employee, there seems to be no reason to kill himself for six months in the hope that maybe his employer will care.

    He already works late nights and weekends for what sounds like a salary position. It sounds like they need an additional employee…

    I guess ultimately my question is this. He manages their companies largest customer and has been doing such a great job that they have repeatedly offered him a position working for them directly. However he has been loyal to this company and stayed with them, they in turn reward him for his loyalty by doubling his work load with no compensation. What do you think would happen if they lost that largest customer? And maybe didn’t have the resources to support their new flagship client? If you are being abused by your employer, have already considered leaving in the past, and have an offer on the table… why are you going to play around negotiating for something like being able to take the PTO you already own? for six months?!

    I look forward to reading your response if you get the chance, perhaps I missed something.

  2. dw on May 19th, 2011 11:05 pm

    “In fact, the client that I am supporting has approached me a number of times to come work for them – and I know that this option is open to me.”

    If this company becomes a client of your employer, this will likely limit your ability to leave your current company and work for them.