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Getting Ahead

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Getting Ahead

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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.

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.

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Getting Ahead

  1. 1. GETTING AHEAD BOB PRITCHETT http://bobpritchett.com
  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 BUY HAPPINESS! But only to $75,000 / year Some more money helps with life’s problems Lots 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 YOUR SUCCESS Tips: • 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. REMEMBER Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. -- Dale Carnegie (and many others)
  6. 6. ALWAYS TURN TO GOAL • 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 MOVING The space between here and your goal is not filled with time • People have gotten ahead faster than you • Very little happens on its own The 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 COMFORT Get 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. DISTINGUISH YOURSELF Serving 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. DOING DISTINGUISHES Labels (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 attendance Distinct and useful activity isn’t easily labeled • Do stuff that you couldn‟t represent by checking a box on a form
  11. 11. EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE You don’t have to do something different from everyone in the world, just different from everyone in your current position
  12. 12. ASK QUESTIONS Ask anyone who can help you achieve your goal Ask anyone who has already achieved your goals
  13. 13. WHAT TO ASK Direct 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 YOUR VISIBILITY Familiarity bias advances people • People prefer people they are familiar with • Even simple exposure increases familiarity Doing 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 them Simple availability increases opportunity
  15. 15. CONFRONT FEAR Fear is the fence that bounds our success • You must decide if your fence is big enough • You can choose to expand your fence Everyone is afraid • Fear causes us to consider risks • It is healthy to consider risks Getting ahead involves risk and setbacks • Don‟t risk what you can‟t afford to lose • Do risk everything that isn‟t part of your goal Every decision is a risk • Inaction is a decision, and as risky as any action
  16. 16. GET ON THE RIGHT BUS Only 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 forward Ride 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 MORE MONEY You -- not your mom, boss, professor, or the president of the United States -- are the only person involved in determining how much money you make • In a market economy wages are set by supply and demand • You have monopoly control over the supply of your labor Own the responsibility for your wages
  18. 18. PAY IS INFORMATION What a job pays is information about the supply of people who 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 AND TEACHERS First-year New York City school teachers without graduate degrees make about $45,000 a year. The minimum pay for a first-year custodial engineer is almost $80,000 a year. “On what theory do custodians get paid more than senior teachers? It’s outrageous,” said former New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy. • It‟s supply and demand
  20. 20. MONEY IS ONLY PART OF PAY Compensation includes intangible benefits • Location • Safety • Job security • Autonomy • Purpose • Community Determine what you value and what it is worth in money
  21. 21. FACE THE FACTS The 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 that Everyone 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 AFFORD THIS JOB? Learn the range of pay for the position you have Would 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 THE FUTURE Would you be happy to never make more than the top pay available 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 ONE Turn off your television • You can‟t think when it is on • It fills the time you need to get ahead
  25. 25. START SAVING Save something – anything – starting now • Savings give you time • Savings create opportunities • Savings prevent a job from holding you hostage
  26. 26. KEEP LEARNING The sum of human knowledge is available to you at no cost • For the first time ever in history • An unprecedented opportunity Get 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 YET Don’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 YOUR NEXT JOB NOW You 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 resume You are more likely to be hired to do something you have already 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 UP The 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 pay The 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 BE HAPPY Ambition is a treadmill There isn’t a right or wrong job or pay rate in and of itself Own your responsibility for yourself • To make money • To provide for your family • To honor God in your work • To be happy You can choose to make more money You can choose to be content with the money you make
  31. 31. EMBRACE FREEDOM We have more actual freedom and opportunity than any generation 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 @BobPritchett Read my blog Join my mailing list at http://firesomeonetoday.com • I‟ll mail you if I turn this into something longer Read my book • 5 stars at Amazon.com • Free chapter and summaries online http://about.me/bobpritchett

Editor's Notes

  • http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2010/09/study-says-$75,000-can-buy-happiness.html
  • http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/School-Janitors-Can-Earn-More-Teachers-120023614.html
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