Getting Ahead


Published on

Thoughts on getting ahead, specifically in your career and earnings. This is the blunt, direct advice I give employees one-on-one, and what I'm sharing with my kids as they head off to college.

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Getting Ahead

    2. 2. WHAT DO YOU WANT?Money? Fame? Power? Purpose? Happiness?It is easier to get ahead when you know what you want
    3. 3. MONEY CAN BUYHAPPINESS!But only to $75,000 / yearSome more money helps with life’s problemsLots more money creates new problems • “When prosperity increases, those who consume it increase. So its owner gains nothing, except to see his wealth before it is spent.” – Ecclesiates 5:11 (LEB)
    4. 4. DEFINE YOURSUCCESSTips: • Who you are and what you do aren‟t the same thing • Your character matters more than your job function • Outward orientation beats inward orientation • Do for others, not yourself • Doing beats being • Write, don‟t „be a writer‟ • Giving beats having • Aim to contribute, not accumulate • Money, fame, and power are corrupting goals • But they often accumulate as side-effects of better goals
    5. 5. REMEMBERSuccess is getting what you want.Happiness is wanting what you get.-- Dale Carnegie (and many others)
    6. 6. ALWAYS TURN TOGOAL• Every move you make should be a turn towards your goal• When possible, move directly• If you can‟t move directly to your goal, take the move closest to the goal
    7. 7. KEEP MOVINGThe space between here and your goal is not filled with time • People have gotten ahead faster than you • Very little happens on its ownThe space between here and your goal is filled with changes • Between here and your goal things must change • Increase the rate of change to arrive at your goal sooner
    8. 8. DESPISE COMFORTGet comfortable with being uncomfortable • Ignorance and incompetence are descriptive terms for a temporary state, not character failings • People who are learning and growing are by definition ignorant and incompetent • When you acquire knowledge and competence, seek another level of ignorance and incompetence • If you are comfortable now you aren‟t moving ahead
    9. 9. DISTINGUISHYOURSELFServing time and paying dues aren’t worth much • The value of a diploma is roughly equivalent to that of a “limited warranty” on a refrigerator • 20,000 high school valedictorians each year • 323,000 living alumni of Harvard University • 53% of all college graduates under/unemployed • Job titles are interesting in inverse proportion to the number of holders • If you sit in a room full of people with the same job title, you had might as well replace your name plate with a bar code
    10. 10. DOINGDISTINGUISHESLabels (diplomas, certifications, titles, etc.) are commodities • It wouldn‟t be a recognizable label if it weren‟t common • Limited usefulness; a form of warranty for basic competence or experience • Most are awarded for little more than attendanceDistinct and useful activity isn’t easily labeled • Do stuff that you couldn‟t represent by checking a box on a form
    11. 11. EVERYTHING ISRELATIVEYou don’t have to do something different from everyone inthe world, just different from everyone in your currentposition
    12. 12. ASK QUESTIONSAsk anyone who can help you achieve your goalAsk anyone who has already achieved your goals
    13. 13. WHAT TO ASKDirect questions • What do I have to do to make more money? • What do I have to do to be promoted to this position? • Is there anything I am doing that is holding me back?Rapport-building questions • How did you get to this position? • What do you like best about your job? • What‟s the most important lesson you‟ve learned along the way? • What is the hardest thing about your job?
    14. 14. INCREASE YOURVISIBILITYFamiliarity bias advances people • People prefer people they are familiar with • Even simple exposure increases familiarityDoing things increases visibility • “The one who did that thing” is promoted before “the one in the fourth cubicle from the back”Asking questions increases visibility • People remember people they have a conversation with • People are flattered to be asked questions • People like people who flatter themSimple availability increases opportunity
    15. 15. CONFRONT FEARFear is the fence that bounds our success • You must decide if your fence is big enough • You can choose to expand your fenceEveryone is afraid • Fear causes us to consider risks • It is healthy to consider risksGetting ahead involves risk and setbacks • Don‟t risk what you can‟t afford to lose • Do risk everything that isn‟t part of your goalEvery decision is a risk • Inaction is a decision, and as risky as any action
    16. 16. GET ON THE RIGHTBUSOnly ride a bus that takes you closer to your goal • Join organizations with opportunities aligned with your goal • Get out of an organization where you don‟t see the next step forwardRide safe buses • You should feel safe asking how to advance • You should feel safe asking for feedback • You should feel safe making a mistake • You should feel that your boss wants to see you succeed • If not, get off the bus – you are wasting time
    17. 17. MAKING MOREMONEYYou -- not your mom, boss, professor, or the president of theUnited States -- are the only person involved in determininghow much money you make • In a market economy wages are set by supply and demand • You have monopoly control over the supply of your laborOwn the responsibility for your wages
    18. 18. PAY IS INFORMATIONWhat a job pays is information about the supply of peoplewho can do the job and the demand for the job to be done • Air Traffic Controllers: $108,000 / year • Not everyone has the training, or can handle the complexity • The job is stressful and difficult • Hand Laborers and Material Movers: $22,000 / year • Almost anyone can do it, many people will • Hazardous Materials Removal: $37,000 / year • Almost anyone can do it, fewer people want to • Fine Art Landscape Painter: $0 / year • Requires training, unique skills, can be done by few people • Approximately zero positions need to be filled
    19. 19. CUSTODIANS ANDTEACHERSFirst-year New York City school teachers without graduatedegrees make about $45,000 a year. The minimum pay for afirst-year custodial engineer is almost $80,000 a year.“On what theory do custodians get paid more than seniorteachers? It’s outrageous,” said former New York CitySchools Chancellor Harold Levy. • It‟s supply and demand
    20. 20. MONEY IS ONLY PARTOF PAYCompensation includes intangible benefits • Location • Safety • Job security • Autonomy • Purpose • CommunityDetermine what you value and what it is worth in money
    21. 21. FACE THE FACTSThe default annual raise for any position is zero • Your employer was willing to pay x to have this job done • Unless something changes in the overall market, there‟s no reason to expect the job will be worth more than x next year • Employers want to make more money, too, and reducing, not increasing, the cost of labor is one way to do thatEveryone is paid for the value they add • You are always in competition with everyone in the world who can add the same value for the same, or less, cost • Time in a seat adds very little value to the performance of most jobs
    22. 22. CAN YOU AFFORDTHIS JOB?Learn the range of pay for the position you haveWould you be happy to make the top of this range? • If so, ask about what‟s required to move to the top • If the answer is “only time”, change jobs • Otherwise, start doing what‟s required to move up • If not, change jobs
    23. 23. PLAN FOR THEFUTUREWould you be happy to never make more than the top payavailable for the job you have now? • If so, congratulations! You have arrived • If not, identify the next job you want to pursue • Most likely involves knowledge or skills you do not yet have • Most likely involves doing something you don‟t presently do • Jobs others don‟t, won‟t, or can‟t do pay more • You are more likely to succeed if you enjoy it
    24. 24. STEP ONETurn off your television • You can‟t think when it is on • It fills the time you need to get ahead
    25. 25. START SAVINGSave something – anything – starting now • Savings give you time • Savings create opportunities • Savings prevent a job from holding you hostage
    26. 26. KEEP LEARNINGThe sum of human knowledge is available to you at no cost • For the first time ever in history • An unprecedented opportunityGet online and research your next success • Use free online classes and training videos • Don‟t just read blogs, email the bloggers • Every online writer wants to know someone read their stuff • Find a community of people doing what you want to do
    27. 27. DON’T ENROLL YETDon’t pay to learn what you can learn for free • Paying for more education is not the first step to a better job • The cost (or debt) of education can even set you back • If a job requires a diploma or certification, seek that after exhausting all the free education you can on the subject • Your diploma will take less time, effort, inconvenience, and likely less cost if you have studied ahead • You will get more from formal education if you have prepared with informal education
    28. 28. START DOING YOURNEXT JOB NOWYou don’t need anyone’s permission • Do it as a volunteer • Do it for a blog • Do it to build a portfolio • Do it as practice • Do it for your resumeYou are more likely to be hired to do something you havealready done than to do something you might be able to do • Prove you have done the job to get the job
    29. 29. STEP UP OR SHUT UPThe employer’s point of view • We agreed that I‟d pay you x if you did y • Not much has changed since yesterday • There may be small increases over time • Experience makes you incrementally more valuable • There are transaction costs in replacing you • Only a significant change in the market, or your contribution, warrants a significant change in payThe market point of view • If you aren‟t doing something different than the people around you, don‟t expect to be paid differently
    30. 30. IT IS OKAY TO BEHAPPYAmbition is a treadmillThere isn’t a right or wrong job or pay rate in and of itselfOwn your responsibility for yourself • To make money • To provide for your family • To honor God in your work • To be happyYou can choose to make more moneyYou can choose to be content with the money you make
    31. 31. EMBRACE FREEDOMWe have more actual freedom and opportunity than anygeneration in the history of the world • There is no excuse for feeling trapped by circumstances • Choose to live the freedom you are blessed to have
    32. 32. WANT MORE?Follow me on Twitter @BobPritchettRead my blogJoin my mailing list at • I‟ll mail you if I turn this into something longerRead my book • 5 stars at • Free chapter and summaries online