Community manager, advocate thyself! Speaking up for you, your job and your community

Being a good community manager means being an advocate for your members. It also means advocating for yourself and your job. To do that, you sometimes have to take risks.

Once upon a time, I stepped into my annual performance review, palms sweaty, hands shaking. I wasn’t all that nervous about the review itself. I was more nervous because I was about to ask my boss to give me a raise. Why? Of course, because I wanted more money. But what I hadn’t considered at the time was how my raise could benefit my community. If I had considered this, I might have realized earlier that the better I felt about life in general, the better off my community would be.

What do I mean? I’ve said before, that you can’t care for your clients if you don’t care for yourself, and it’s the same with your community. If you want your community to thrive, you–the community manager–also need to thrive. While I won’t argue that money is happiness, it can go a long way toward it. It provides that much more security in your everyday life, and it will definitely show in your work.

Keep in mind that asking for a raise may not necessarily mean asking for money. You could ask for a more flexible schedule, more vacation, or childcare assistance. The key here is to think about how incremental improvements in your IRL life might improve your day-to-day work, and your community in turn. If you’re not happy and comfortable, you’re less likely to be cordial with your members. Digital relationships can be particularly fickle, after all, and one bad day could cost you social capital and a whole lot more.

Consider that if these companies had treated their employees better, they may have saved a fair amount of time, money, and heartache repairing online reputations and relationships. Now, I’m not encouraging you to take any of these actions at your organization–especially if you want to keep your job. Instead, I’m encouraging you to think proactively about your relationship with your job so that you can get along with it better.

Like any relationship, you have to be open and honest about your needs. That’s why you shouldn’t feel guilty about discussing your raise with your boss. In the end, whatever is good for you is good for your community. So advocate for yourself. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.

And if you were wondering–I got that raise and a promotion to boot. In the end I had to compromise a bit, but a good relationship is about give-and-take. Just as you give all that you can to your community, don’t be afraid to ask for–and take!–the recognition you deserve.


If you want to learn how to get more out of your job, check out the links below for tips from employment and business experts. Have links to other great resources? Share them in the comments!

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