Category Archives: Promotions

Your choice: Inferior or vastly superior job

Kids always made fun of the way I dressed.  I had two shirts and two pairs of jeans for the whole school year.  That’s all.  I had cheap shoes.  For dinner our family had beans every night, literally.  We drank powdered milk.  I brought peanut butter sandwiches to school every day with homemade quince jam.  I was different.

We were paying a price.  It was worth it.  My friends had nice stuff while we saved and scrimped for every penny.  We did something they never did.  Each summer we went traveling in our VW Camper Bus.  We visited most of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and Africa.  Most summers we left school two weeks early and got back into school two weeks late.

Being different is not being inferior.  It can be a distinct advantage.  Be different in a way that can make you superior.

How can you be different?  What can you do to dramatically improve over the long run?  I know two guys who never walk anywhere in the office without having a manual in their hands to read as they walk.  They are both considered a little odd, but they are both the undisputed technical experts in their field.  They are paid well for it.

Your goal should be to out-prepare and out-perform everyone else in critical areas.

Critical areas to stand out in are the most visible areas that: 

  1. Earn money
  2. Save money
  3. Improve customer service.

Here’s how you find the critical areas for your next promotion, raise, or job:  Ask.

Your boss wants you to be more valuable, he’ll help you.  The people you look up to at work will want to help.  Go ask them what you should excel at.

Then do it.  Do it in your own way. Eccentric flair or plodding dullness does not matter.  Just excel IN A WAY THAT MATTERS.  It will change your life, not just your pay and job title.

Your job search is mortal combat: win every time

If you job hunt (or go to work) expecting mortal combat, where the other guy must lose, you will fail.  If you have a strong attitude that, “The company, my manager and I are going to win big,“ you will succeed.  In job search mortal combat you must defeat the real enemy every time. You will lose every time if you fight your allies.

I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly combat.  (Plato)

Are companies idiots for not hiring you?  Is every interviewer prejudiced?  Let’s look at your job.  Do you assume that your workplace is run by fools?  Do you know more than your boss?  Do you hang around the complainers and whiners at work?  Are you the ringleader?  Are people out to get you?

People really may be out to get you if you have a bad attitude.  A hiring manager wants someone who will help and support him.  Promotions come to people who help raise team spirits and achieve goals.  Raises are given when a person is worth more than they are being paid.  The manager interviewing you for a job will get a feeling how you treat your current boss.  Your attitude will come through in the interview.

So how should you treat your current boss?

She should be your ally.  In mortal combat, you help your allies.

Often you have to train your manager.  She doesn’t have your perspective on problems.  You need to constantly bring things to her attention that she may not know. You need to train her patiently, the way you would like to be trained.

Would you like to get pats on the back for the good things you do along with the occasional pointer on how to correct a mistake?  Do the same with your boss.  Positive reinforcement sets the stage for your negative comments to be heard.  Take an attitude check today.  Are you saying 5 positive things for every negative you voice?  Keep track.

Are you job hunting?

Can the interviewer tell how you engage in destructive mortal combat?  Is that why they are avoiding you?  Do you treat your current manager as your best ally?  If the right attitude shines through, they will hire you.

Business really is mortal combat.  You have to plan on winning every time.  Are you going to defeat stupidity with perfect logic and rapier sharp attacks?  No, you will lose.  Do you plan on patiently helping everyone learn, grow and win?  Your victory is assured.

An attitude of constant improvement will win. Constant carping criticism loses every time.

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Something To Do Today

Keep a notepad with you.  Make two columns.  Put a check in one column for every positive thing you say.  Put a check in the other column for every negative thing you say.  Do the positives outstrip the negatives by 5 to 1?

Every Friday document your week at work in your job journal.  What are your quantifiable achievements and failures?  Make an upbeat report for your manager in a format she can use.  Turn it in whether she asked for it or not.

How to promote yourself at work

This slideshow is aimed at women, but very applicable for men.  You need to learn the best way to promote yourself.  No one wants to be called “A legend in his own mind.”  But you want to be noticed and rewarded for all the things you make work.

Here are some hints on how to do it.

How to get that job they don’t want to give you or don’t have

You may get a job by thorough persistence.  Don’t be pestilential and persistent, be pleasant, nice and thoroughly persistent.  Let me demonstrate.

My daughter Merrilee has Down Syndrome.  Her IQ is 43.  She has a lot of advantages over job seekers with down syndrome.  Job seekers with down syndrome accept what happens to them fatalistically.  My daughter with Down Syndrome got an extra half chromosome that makes it impossible for her to be fatalistic.  For example:

Merrilee loves cartoon videos.  We limited the time she spends watching them.  We locked them in the boys’ room so she couldn’t get them.  Yet she showed up with a cartoon video in her hand while I was at the computer or reading and handed it to me almost every day.

How did she get the video?  She knew that eventually one of her brothers would leave the door unlocked or the key down where she could get it.  She checked the door several times a day.  Not obsessively, just whenever she went by their room.

She can’t talk clearly, but I knew when she handed me a video that she wanted me to play it.  She gave it to me when I was busy so I wouldn’t go upstairs to lock the room.  I would hand it back and say, put it on the TV stand.  She did.   10 or 20 minutes later she brought another.  This went on until I played a video for her or put the videos away and locked the boys’ door.

She is how you should be in your job search. If I tell her, “No,” she’ll be back.  If I lock the boys’ door, she’ll be back.  She’s gentle and loving.  She’s quietly persistent.  She’s not unreasonable.  I want to help her.  She does what I ask when I tell her to put the video on the TV stand.

A job seeker with down syndrome sadly lacks Merrilee’s gentle persistence. Job seekers who feel down, just give up at the first, “No.”  There may not be a job today, but there might literally be one tomorrow.

Be persistent.  Don’t give up on the job or promotion you want.  Figure out how to gently and kindly get your qualifications before the decision maker.  Be reasonable, persistent, helpful and nice.  Take your resume to HR every time they ask.  Ask what you can do to qualify for and get the job.  Then do what they say.  After a month or two, try again.

If you make yourself qualified and have a great attitude, eventually someone will leave the door unlocked.  Someone will quit or the department will expand.  If you are kindly persistent and not irritatingly pestilent, you’ll have a great shot at the job.

You can’t have the blessing of the extra half chromosome that Merrilee has.  However, you can develop her persistence, love and patience.

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  (Coolidge)

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Something To Do Today

Is there a promotion you really want?  Are there companies you really want to work for?  Go to your job journal and write a plan for getting what you want by being persistent in a nice way.  Decide how often you can try again.  Set appointments on your calendar to try again.

Tomorrow:  Down Syndrome vs down syndrome part 2

What can I do to double my income?

Here is the truth no politician, few economists, few teachers want to tell people, and that few people want to hear: certain jobs are only worth a certain, maximum number of dollars per hour, whether you’ve been there doing it for one year, ten years, or thirty years. Longevity does not necessarily merit more money because the individual’s length of time on the job does not necessarily increase the real value of getting that job done. (Dan Kennedy)

Many helpdesk people would be happy to get their income up to $35,000 per year. They are doing a helpdesk job that requires a few months of education and some ability with computers. 

I am doing a search for a helpdesk person who will earn $75,000.  If I can find the right person, they will be hired in 2 weeks.  There will be no quibbling about the salary.  It really is just a helpdesk job.  But this job requires experience setting up security between servers and applications.  This helpdesk person is going to be helping experts. 

I know CPA’s who are Controllers earning $45,000 per year and others earning $250,000 per year.  Some of those $45K Controllers work longer hours than the ones earning $250K.

The difference is that the people earning less are easy to replace. They have prepared themselves only so much, and demand only a little from their jobs and themselves.  Those earning the big bucks have taken risks, educated themselves, taken responsibility, and proven that they will make or save a lot of money for their company.  

How you double your income is to prepare yourself for a job where you will be hard to replace.  And you will have to be willing to change jobs, if not companies. You have to become a people person and a problem solver.  If someone believes you will make them $4,000,000 in profit this year, they will pay you a $250,000 salary without blinking.  If you work for a company with total revenue of $250,000, you couldn’t possibly be worth that much in salary.  If you can be replaced by a smart person with a month’s worth of training, you will probably earn less than $40K, no matter how good you are.

You can double your income.  I have seen it done in one or two years by people earning $20K and $100K.  It took, training, people skills, hard work, focus on what’s important, and earning or saving their company a lot of money.

How to be sure of your career direction. Can you?

It can be difficult if not impossible to know where your career should go.  It’s not that you can’t pick a direction, it is making sure it is the right direction.  You may climb the career ladder of success, only to find out it is leaning against the wrong wall.

Here is a great article on how to figure out where you should go.

What will happen in this summer’s recession

I expect there to be a minor recession this summer.  We will be out of it before the year ends.

Three things will surely happen to companies in the next recession:

  1. Companies will have layoffs and close.
  2. A lot of people will retire.
  3. Musical chairs will become the biggest game in corporate America.

In a recession, companies close down divisions and lay off people.  Many will offer early retirement to their older and more expensive workers.  A lot of those retirees will decide to really retire.

I saw one estimate that half the US workforce is over 60 right now. I’m suspicious of that number.  However, there are a lot of people who will retire and won’t look for another job.  They are highly skilled.  Someone has to take their place.  Prepare now and you will find the coming decade to have incredible possibilities.  There will be more openings at high levels in companies than there have ever been in the history of America.

Take advantage of the future retirements.  In your company and division decide who is going to retire in the next 3 years.  Someone will fill their job, and then a domino effect will happen.  It will look like musical chairs as everyone scrambles to fill open seats created by the guy who just got promoted.  Musical chairs in the corporation is going to be incredible.  Prepare now and position yourself.

There is no such thing as luck. There is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe.  (Robert Heinlein)   

Something To Do Today

 

Figure out who will be retiring where you work.  How can you take advantage of it?

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Later:  Some jobs give you a bad reputation, no matter how good you are.

What a big house or a great job costs

I was at a gorgeous house.  It had radiant heating, an indoor basketball court and swimming pool, wonderful view, and enough room for anyone’s desires.  I loved it.  The hosts were generous and kind.  Then I decided to tally up the cost of owning a house like that.  My estimate is $24,000 per month without mortgage payments.  Owning that great house had a price tag that I can’t ever see myself paying.

Last week I also talked with people in jobs that paid $100,000 – $250,000 per year.  They are wonderful jobs.  Nice offices, private secretaries, authority over others, and a sweet lifestyle come with the jobs.  They are leading financial and accounting people. 

There is a price those people pay.  First is education and certification.  Then comes an apprenticeship with 60-90 hour weeks for months at a time during peak seasons.  Without that apprenticeship with the “right” companies, they would be earning half of what they are.  The “right” companies now means choosing from 4 major CPA firms and toiling there for at least 4 years.

With all that hard work, we still need to mention another 5-20 years of always putting in 50+ hours per week. There is a very high price for those jobs, and there is high pay. Many people try to get around the education, certification, and apprenticeship.  Notably, a few people make it without those exact experiences.  But those who get around it are either obviously geniuses, or have worked even more to rise from obscurity to notoriety than the path I outlined would have taken.

If there is a high and mighty job you want, there is also a price to be paid for it.  Go ahead, get that job.  As you earn that job, make sure that you always understand the price of the next step or two in your progression.

Both a big house and a great job have fine rewards.  They also have their own unique costs.  It can be worth it.  Is it worth it for you?

Something To Do Today            

Invite to lunch a person who has the job you want. Ask them about the price they paid in the past and they price they pay now for that job.

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Later:  What may happen in the next recession

How to get your pay above $125K

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (George Bernard Shaw)

I talked in depth with salespeople earning over $200,000 per year.  I asked, “How did you get into the position where you won’t even consider taking a base salary under $100,000?”

The answer is very simple he said, “It is all in how you position yourself.”

I talk with accountants, programmers, managers, salespeople, engineers, and others every day who would never take less than $100K.  Others doing similar jobs can’t conceive of earning over $40K.

The difference is that the well paid people are always trying to develop the skills and experiences that are rare.  One salesman said, “I’m highly paid because of who I can get in to see.  I can talk to people in research laboratories and CFO’s of companies all across America.  I know how to get their attention and sell to them.  In Philadelphia there are thousands of salespeople who sell well in Philadelphia, but can’t or won’t sell in New York or Boston.  If you are competing with a thousand salespeople for that Philadelphia only job, guess what?  You may think you are worth $200K, but there are at least 500 other people willing to do it for $50K-$80K.  You will never get paid $200K because you have positioned yourself wrong.  Too many salespeople have positioned themselves to sell in Philadelphia for $50K.”

The same applies to computer programmers, managers, accountants, and even call center technicians.  I know a lot of people earning over $100K because they have looked at their business carefully for years.  They constantly ask, “Why is Joe earning more than me?  What jobs are paying big bucks?  What do I have to do to get there?”

First you need to position yourself at entry level so you can get experience. Then you have to see where the rare talent is.  What are people doing that earns them the money you want to earn.  Then you need to educate yourself, volunteer to help on projects, and get involved in decision making.  Eventually you will work up to the rarefied air of the best paid people in your field.

So how are you positioning yourself?  How will you be positioned next year?

Something To Do Today            

Make a list of 5 people who are doing what you want to do and earning what you want to earn.

Now go invite each one to lunch.  Whether they accept your invitation or not, ask them for help.  Ask them how you can join the rarefied company at their level.

11 reasons you are getting a miniscule raise

It never seems fair when you get a cost-of-living raise or less.  But there is usually a reason.

Here are 11 reasons you may not be getting what you think you deserve.