There are no shortage of FIRE articles covering the ways to cut costs, investment advice, and how to execute on entrepreneurship. But we’re not all cut out to be entrepreneurs; many of us spend our working days employed by someone else. From personal experience, I wanted to share how to elevate your career through more traditional means, but at an elevated pace. So lets make some money!
Step 1. Become in demand in your current job.
High demand, low supply, makes the price go up, right? Well that’s true for your price as well. You need to make yourself a high demand commodity, and your price (wages) will go up. There are a couple ways to do this.
The first and easiest: become a favored employee. Go above and beyond. Make friends with your peers and leaders. Kiss ass, and cover your ass. You need to make yourself someone your employer doesn’t want to lose.
Step 2. Become in demand outside of your current job.
Next, apply apply apply. Apply to jobs at a higher position or that you believe will pay you more. Apply a lot! Apply every week. Submit hundreds! Even when I had what I felt was a great position at the company, I was applying to other jobs. Even the next day after I was promoted, I was applying. You need to get an offer for another position, even if the pay is just marginally more. Do lots of interviews, get good at them, and secure an offer.
Step 3. Set up the Negotiation.
Now that you’ve become a go-to resource in your current job, and you’ve finally got an offer from another company (or even within the same company at a different department/location), even just marginally better, prepare for negotiations. You need to rehearse these conversations dozens of times to get comfortable having these tough talks with your boss, and with the new company. Anticipate all the different questions or challenges they might have, and be ready with a well rehearsed response. Here is how:
Approach your current boss, let them know you have received another offer, but you’d much rather stay. Unfortunately, it meets your financial goals and is an offer that you might not be able to pass up. Ask if there is anything they can do to align your current job with your financial goals.
Be prepared, your boss may call your bluff and offer you nothing more. If so, get creative and ask if there is something they can guarantee in the near future (in writing) for growth opportunities, if they can do one-time bonus for some of the recent hard work you’ve put in, or even expand your responsibility or position title (*more on this in a different article: “Position Chasing: How it worked for me”).
Next, circle back with the company (or internal department) that made you the offer, explain that their offer is really great, that you either (a) received a counter-offer from your current employer, or (b) wanted to see if there was anything more they might be able to throw in, like a sign-on bonus, a slight increase in wage, or some commitment to future growth in position in the near future. Similarly, they may call your bluff and offer you nothing more, but always at least ask.
If you are receiving counter-offers at this point, continue to go back and forth until one gives up. I once went back and forth about 5 times before one side finally held firm. It was an amazing increase that year!
Step 4. Make the decision, and get back to applying!
Now you’ve got your options in front of you and you can make a more informed decision with hopefully higher wages or a higher position than where you started. The most important thing to do next, repeat step 1! In my career, I’ve received promotions and new offers in a matter of months after being promoted. One year I even jumped two levels!
So what is your career growth strategy?