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Are you committed or complacent?


You probably already know. There’s an ongoing debate going on. It’s growing as workplace philosophies continue to evolve.

This is the question. How long should you stay at your current employer?

If you leave too soon, your next employer will think you job hop. They may think you have a problem with commitment. Perhaps you’ve been fired before. Or, maybe they’ll assume you don’t get along well with others. You definitely won’t be someone they’ll want to invest their company resources into.

That’s true, right?

Not necessarily. Staying at a job too long may send signs you never even thought of. Your future hiring manager may think you’re the kind of person who doesn’t challenge yourself to grow. They may assume that your skills are rusty. They may wonder what’s wrong with you… (Yes, what’s wrong with you.)

In today’s job market, it’s not unusual to switch jobs every three to five years. In fact, many hiring managers appreciate someone with multiple companies on their resume.

Here are a few of the positive perceptions hiring managers have about employees who transition between different companies:

  • This person has a diverse skill set of knowledge
  • This person is a real go-getter
  • This person knows how to work well in many different environments
  • This person has many industry contacts
  • This person is self motivated

Don’t get me wrong, this perception varies by industry. In certain industries, it is more important to change frequently while in other industries, staying for a long time can be valued. But, overall, it’s becoming more and more expected that you change frequently. In fact, people hold more than ten different jobs in their lifetime today.

And, do you know what’s more? The data suggests that employees who stay at companies longer than two years get paid 50% less over the course of their lifetime.

50% – that earning figure sounds crazy! Well, until you think of how hard it is to negotiate a good raise within your company. Where do you think all the raises are going to? They’re going to outside candidates the company is trying to lure in.

So, what’s holding you back? Do you think your boss is eventually going to recognize your brilliance (one day)? Do you feel under-qualified to take another job? Are you afraid of the interview process? Are you convinced there are no good jobs out there?

Or, are you sure that someone is going to appreciate your long term commitment?

If this is your strategy, I hate to break it to you, but it may not work. In fact, it could backfire in a big way.

Imagine you live in a small city where you’re known for doing a particular kind of work for a certain company. You’ve earned respect for many years working at the same place. Then, you decide that you want to pick up and move to someplace bigger — maybe New York or LA.

And, all of the sudden, that longevity and respect don’t take you as far. You may just look like someone who’s comfortable… complacent… not committed to growth. You may have become someone with a tiny network of contacts.

Of course, the length of time truly varies by the type of profession you’re in. But, keep that in mind when your great uncle (who has never worked a day in your field) starts to give you a hard time about job hopping. These relatives will often scare you with stories about the unknown. They talk about the possibility of failure, of being laid off, and of losing your health insurance.

But really, you’re at risk anywhere you go. Jobs today are not a guarantee. But, if you do switch periodically, you will diversify your skill set – and your professional network. And, you will create a bigger safety net for yourself than you started with.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


Is there room for “fair” at work?


One of the worst things that can happen to any employee is to find out they aren’t being treated the same as their coworkers. We’ve all been there. Perhaps you didn’t realize the person who sits next to you gets a week more of vacation. Or, maybe they have special permission to leave early every day. Or, they make more money than you do. Perhaps their mobile phone is paid for.

This grim discovery can make an otherwise pleasant job feel miserable. It’s like a wakeup call. You realize that your company doesn’t value you or your talents in the way you thought they did. It makes you second guess your future there. It makes you angry. It’s like your company has been cheating on you with someone else – someone younger.

Common complaints are that the coworker is less experienced, less knowledgeable, and produces less value for the company.  “They don’t know what they’re doing!” you may argue.

Unfortunately, in the corporate world of work, salaries and perks are not always decided in a way that’s considered fair. They’re based on other factors. First and foremost, they’re based on negotiation skills. They may also be based on other details, such as the school you went to or your salary history.

If you’ve discovered your benefits are out of balance, what should you do? One option is to go to your human resources department. You can certainly go through the process of asking for a better compensation package. And, in some cases, this may be a sound idea.

But, for the vast majority of cases, take the time to reflect on the situation. If you make a case and win, then what happens? Will you enjoy working for a company that wasn’t straightforward with you? Do you want to work for a boss who doesn’t believe in your skills enough to compensate you fairly?

It may seem a bit passive, but I’d encourage you to consider focusing on your future rather than on your past. Be happy that you finally know you’re being treated differently. Allow this knowledge to be a catalyst for change.

Take the time to look for a new company who will appreciate what you bring to the table. Find a new boss who will stand behind you and be your advocate. Look for a new place where you can truly grow your career.

Search for just the right opportunity. You want to avoid recreating the negative situation you have today. While you’re looking, don’t quit your current job. It may take time to find something new.

Once you find the perfect job, negotiate for a higher salary and more vacation. By ensuring you’re paid fairly, you will likely see a considerable pay bump on your way into the door of this new organization. Not only will you reap the benefits of more financial stability, but you will also know that your new boss truly values you – and is willing to pay you what you’re worth.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Is your company treating you fairly?


If you ask an employer why their employee quit, they often say pay. The person found a better deal somewhere else. But, if you ask the employee the same question, pay is rarely the reason.

It’s certainly at the top of their list for the new company they want to work for. But, it’s rarely the real reason they left their old company. As you know, a big reason employees leave is they feel treated unfairly.

This brings the question, “What is fair?”

At a government job (including the military), what’s “fair” can feel more obvious. Pay is a known quantity because pay scales are public information. Promotions and raises are typically scheduled. In this type of job, it’s unlikely you will wake up one day to learn that your peer is making significantly more money than you, or has been awarded more vacation.

In a corporate job however, this isn’t the case at all. I’m the biggest advocate for the job seeker, so don’t get me wrong. But, things work differently in this world.

What’s “fair” often doesn’t matter.

Pay is based on things like how well you negotiated. It may be based on your previous salary history. It could even be based on the college you attended.

It isn’t necessarily based on the following:

  • The quality of your work
  • How senior you are
  • How much money you saved the organization
  • How smart you are

Essentially, fair is what you’re willing to accept.

And, once you’re in the door with a company, they aren’t obligated to pay you more just because you’re a superstar.

It’s upsetting, I know. It can make you angry. It can make you want to scream.

But, in the corporate world, you are your advocate. You’re the one who must convince your company and your boss that you’re valuable. Getting the most money is a game. It’s one you have to play.

And, you have to play it on the front end. Don’t expect future raises to be more than 2-6% annually once you’re at a company.

So, what should you do when you wake up one day to realize that your peers are making more than you?

You could kick and scream. You could quit. There are laws about this stuff, RIGHT?

Yes, you could. And, if you’re truly being mistreated, I don’t want to discourage you from seeking help. But, think about where you want to put your energy.

If your company doesn’t respect you enough to pay you what you’re worth today, what difference will it make if they pay you more tomorrow? You’ll still be in the same unfortunate situation, with a boss who is unlikely to recognize your talents or encourage your growth.

If you learn that you’re being treated unfairly, my suggestion is to start looking for someone who will treat you fairly. Search for a company that values you. Find a boss that will promote you, and be your advocate.

Stop focusing on the past and start looking toward the future.

But, whatever you do, don’t quit your current job (if you can help it). I know it’s awful. I know you hate being there. I get it; you hate your boss. But, if you quit, you will forever have to explain what happened, and why you have a gap on your resume. You’ll forever have to explain that you were underappreciated and underpaid.

Other people may even assume that you were fired. Crazy, right? It’s something we don’t think about when we make the choice to quit, but hiring managers will wonder what happened.

If you are being treated unfairly, I’m terribly sorry. It’s the absolute worst feeling in the world. Hang in there, and refocus your energy on what you can control – YOUR FUTURE. In no time, you’ll find someone who will truly appreciate you!

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


The Importance of Asking for a Raise

In the last week, we’ve all heard about Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comments during a conference called the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

If you haven’t seen the news, Maria Klawe, Preisdent of Harvey Mudd College and Microsoft board member asked this question: “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers but they’re not comfortable putting themselves up for promotions or advanced opportunities?”

Mr. Nadella’s answer has put him and women’s workplace issues in the spotlight this week. His response seems to suggest that he doesn’t encourage asking for a raise. Part of his response was this: “…it’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go long.  And that I think might be one of the additional “superpowers,” that quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma.

Since this statement hit the news, I’ve been stopped multiple times with questions about what I think. People have asked both what about his answer and this issue in general. So, I wanted to share a few thoughts here.

A little background: As a woman who studied computer and systems engineering in undergraduate school, I’m used to being the first or the only. In college, I was one of the only women in my program. At multiple jobs in technology, I was also the only woman on the team.

When I got my first job, my loved ones strongly discouraged me from negotiating. I later found out I was the only person who did not receive relocation, and it was just because I didn’t ask for it. I write about this story in my e-book, Breaking The Rules and Getting The Job.

Although it was difficult, I learned an important lesson: negotiation is key. I have negotiated every job offer I’ve received since, and I’ve become both skilled at it, and comfortable doing it.

But, what I’ve learned working with my coaching clients is that everyone (both men and women) struggles with this issue. Most of the people I speak with have never negotiated for more money. They simply accept a job offer or reject it. They rarely spend much time on the grey area in between. It’s just too uncomfortable.

But really, that grey area is where the opportunity is. Did you know that most corporations have a huge band of pay for each position? For example, a project manager could make anywhere between $50,000 and $150,000 (although a company’s pay band is typically in the ballpark of $40,000 wide).

And, do you think that every person’s pay is a reflection of their true value? Or, of their experience? Does it say just how good they are at their job? Or, does it somehow reflect their education and credentials?

Absolutely not. Often, pay is a reflection on two things — how skilled you are at negotiation, and the minimum amount of money you’re willing to accept.

Have you ever noticed when you first start to interview at a new company, someone (usually from HR) asks you how much you currently make? There’s a good reason for that. They want to know just how little they have to pay you to get on board. In the long term, paying each employee a little less can save a company a lot of money.

Strategies around how to best answer this question — and how to negotiate an offer are something I work on with my clients. Because, at the end of the day, how much you’re making is rarely a reflection on your work. It’s typically a reflection on your negotiation skills.

It’s how you’re able to handle that uncomfortable ten minute conversation — with fear or fearlessly.

And back to Mr. Nadella’s comments… Man or woman– if you aren’t representing yourself and asking for more money, then who is? I can only assume that the person at the helm of such a powerful company has negotiated a few raises and job offers in his career. I can only assume karma didn’t land Mr. Nadella in the role of Microsoft CEO.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. Thanks.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


Summer Job Search Strategies

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and got the opportunity to watch a little World Cup soccer! Now that the excitement of the games and holidays are winding down, it’s time to refocus on your goal – scoring your next job.

If you’re serious about finding a new job, this is the time to kick things into high gear. Keep in mind that an average search can often take a few months — and the holidays will be here before you know it. Considering that, there’s no time to spare.

In my latest Memphis Daily News column, I discuss the power the internet has to help you to level the career playing field. Although job selection should be a fair process, it often has flaws. Research shows that certain groups of people struggle to get a fair shake. Even things you have no control over such as your name or your height can influence your job prospects.

The internet gives you the opportunity to research companies from the inside out in a way that wasn’t easily available before. On this week’s Copeland Coaching Podcast, I will be interviewing’s Career Trends Analyst, Scott Dobroski. I hope you’ll tune in tomorrow, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a few highlights with you.

Glassdoor offers many useful features I recommend to all my clients: salary data, company ratings, interview questions, and job postings. Information like salary data is reported to the website anonymously by current or past employees. It allows you to get the inside scoop, so you’ll be more prepared when you interview.

Here are a few salary examples. First, let’s look at a Manager position in Memphis, Tennessee. This isn’t with a certain company, and it’s not a certain type of Manager. It’s an average. You can see that the range is $40K to $120K, with a median of $76K. This is an enormous range.

Now, let’s drill down more closely and look at what it’s like to be a manager at the largest company in Memphis: FedEx. This particular position is for a FedEx IT Manager. The range is from $99K to $159K, with an average of $138K. Included in this number is an annual bonus of around $12K. Although this range is not as wide, it’s still a very — very wide range!

When you see this information, you may wonder where you land on this spectrum.

Sometimes the candidate who falls on the high end of the scale has more experience. They may have a better education, or more experience managing others. They may have some other special skill that makes them stand out from their competitors.

But, sometimes, the person is just a better negotiator. They are awarded more money not based upon the value they bring to the company or their hard work or long hours. They receive more because they were willing to take a risk and negotiate.

Before you begin your negotiation however, it’s important that you understand the playing field. You should know how much a particular company pays. You should understand what changes have happened at the company lately. Take a pulse on what the employees think of the company. All of these factors help you to be a more informed job seeker.

Unless you have a family member or close friend working at a particular organization, it can be hard to find this kind of data. Or I should say, it used to be hard. With the growth of websites like Glassdoor, job seekers are given the opportunity to do their homework like never before. From the comfort of your couch, you can find salaries, company ratings, and potential interview questions — for the exact company you want to work for.

That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?

The #1 way you’re going to miss out on this information is if you don’t take the time to look it up. When you’re job searching, doing your research – like doing your homework – is critical to your success.

Tune in to the Copeland Coaching Podcast tomorrow to hear the entire interview with Scott from, and get more great insight on how to level the playing field in your job search this summer.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


Leveling the Playing Field

My latest Memphis Daily News column is out, “Leveling the Playing Field.” In it, I discuss how you can use the internet to level the playing field in your job search.

One of the biggest struggles many job seekers face is gathering enough information. It’s important to understand how much a company pays, if the environment is healthy, and how the interview process works.

In the past, the only way to learn this was to talk to friends and family. Stories were anecdotal and typically based on one person’s experience. The growth of the Internet over the past 20 years has not only changed this process but has empowered the job seeker.

Employment statistics tell us every day that various demographic factors can influence how much we make over our lifetime. For example, women are reported to make 77 cents per dollar as compared to men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Similar statistics are available for other groups. The Journal of Applied Psychology even found that when it comes to height, for every inch above average you are, you may make $789 more per year. These small differences can really add up over the course of our careers.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Scott Dobroski, Career Trends Analyst at During our discussion, one point was crystal clear: The Internet provides the opportunity to level the playing field. No longer do you have to know someone to get the inside scoop. Websites make average salary data available to anyone for free. You can also research employee satisfaction and common interview questions.

If you’re struggling with your search, learn how to level your playing field by reading the entire column on the Memphis Daily News site here.