1. How do I ask for a raise?
The best time is during your appraisal when it's best to see what your manager thinks of you and when you also let your achievements speak for themselves.
Or, meet with your manager to explain that your job scope and responsibilities have increased before asking if your salary can be reassessed. Make sure before you ask that you have already performed well. If you succeed, try to get a realistic time frame of when it will start, preferably in writing.
David Ang, executive director of Shri (Singapore Human Resources Institute) cautions, “If a supervisor knows your value, your raise will be taken care of in good time. But if nothing happens and there are empty promises, and you’ve worked there for two years without a salary increase, then it may be time to move,” he says.
2. My boss is driving me nuts. How can I get a transfer?
Try to talk to your boss about your problem first. Explain honestly (but diplomatically) why you want a transfer to a different department. It’s always better they hear it from you than from someone else.
“If you feel your boss won’t take the news well, speak to your HR director in strict confidence. Whatever you do, never ever burn any bridges.” James Koh, director of staffing specialist Aquent, advises. Don’t even think about criticising your boss, for instance.
3. When’s the best time to quit?
After you get your bonus. The money comes in handy during the transition into your new job, and it can also buy a holiday in between jobs. But if you’re very unhappy at work, or have found an offer you can’t refuse, don’t wait for bonus time. Quit whenever you have to.
4. I left the office at 10pm. Can I come in later in the morning?
Yes, but only if your boss says so.
It’s unprofessional to leave your supervisor and colleagues wondering where you are. If, for whatever reason, you’re running late, let your supervisor know. “Usually, bosses will be understanding if they see that you are working hard,” says Carol Yong, group HR Manager at the Dairy Farm Group (which includes retailers like Cold Storage, 7-Eleven and Guardian Pharmacy). “But a lot depends on your track record, as well as your rapport with your manager.”
5. How can I do well for my appraisal?
The short answer is: sell yourself.
Be specific about your achievements using actual figures - saying the cost-cutting project you headed saved the company $10,000 or that your work expanded the company’s market share by 20 per cent is more effective than showing the appraiser a log of your overtime hours.
You’ll probably be asked about projects that didn’t work out or targets that you didn’t meet, so be prepared. “If your project was a disaster, be honest. If there were real factors that were out of your control, state them frankly but don’t point fingers. Objectively describe the challenges you faced,” Carol advises. “You will be asked about you how you overcame these challenges creatively. And that’s when you must show that you did all you could, given the circumstances.”
6. Can my boss see what I'm doing on my PC?
Unfortunately, yes. The office computer is company property and your boss can read anything in it, including e-mails that you send as a representative of the company. As for instant messaging? Be wary too - the guys in the IT department could be “listening in” on your IM conversations.