Having a high income is one of the easiest ways to become financially independent. The response, ‘if only I had the capital to invest in that’, is overused when investment opportunities arise in our lives. Instead of wallowing in the pits of poverty and providing excuses for your situation, let’s focus on increasing our capital by maximizing our income!
The best (and most realistic way) to become wealthy is by increasing your income. Whether you are a blue collar worker, white collar worker, or entrepreneur, these 3 principles will guarantee success in your career.
I live by these 3 principles and I was able to get an 80 percent increase from $50k to $90k in my salary after 2 years of working.
1 – Define Your Own Role – Take Initiative
This piece of advice does not mean ‘go do whatever you want at work’. What I am referring to when I say ‘define your own role’ is to do ancillary work in addition to your written job description or predefined responsibilities.
Too often does it seem that employees try getting away with doing the ‘bare minimum’. The ‘bare minimum’ will differ from job to job and from industry to industry. Doing the minimum can translate to the office worker who simply pushes e-mails all day while trying to do as little ‘real work’ as possible. Or, the minimum could be a cashier who simply takes orders and enters them into the POS (point of sales) without providing the highest level of service possible.
Whatever the case may be, humans are inherently lazy and we tend to whip out our phones as soon as we get the chance.
The habit of doing just enough to ‘get by’ will leave your income stagnant, therefore reducing your ability to achieve financial independence early in life. We should all be working as hard as we can during the hours we are paid.
In addition to performing tasks in our actual job description, I urge all my readers to take initiative and define your own role in your company. If you see a broken process, suggest ways to fix the process. If you see a way something can be improved, speak up. If you see someone breaking fundamental rules, then make it a point to correct that person privately.
You may be surprised how susceptible some bosses can be to new ideas.
For new employees, it is easy to be timid as the newbie on the team, but having ‘fresh eyes’ has many advantages. Instead of remaining quiet, be bold and take action! If you see any opportunity at work where you can add ‘value’, then take advantage of that opportunity!
Once you begin adding additional value outside your job description, you will have the leverage to negotiate for a higher wage.
When I first started working in the corporate world at Bank of America, I had no idea how things were done, but I spoke up (that’s just the way I am) and was recognized for it. That recognition is what made an Executive Director (my boss’s boss) from Bank of America reach out to me personally and offer me an opportunity to work with him after he moved to a new firm.
2 – Bring Solutions, Not Problems – Make Your Boss Happy
One important detail that no one ever thinks about when joining a company is: Will my boss help accelerate my career?
Your boss’s opinion of you may be the most important thing when it comes to your income and compensation at work. If you and your boss have a toxic relationship, you can be sure that you will not be getting a promotion or raise anytime soon. On the other hand, if you and your boss are best buddies and grab lunch together, then you are in a much better place.
Your boss can either make you or break you, so let’s try to get on our boss’s good side.
I did not learn this lesson early in my career but learned this lesson the hard way when I became a manager. I always dreamed of being a manager at a young age, as I imagine many people do. The idea of delegating work and being a ‘manager’ seemed relaxing and easy – it is anything but easy.
Being a relatively young ‘manager’, my direct reports were even more inexperienced than me. They constantly asked questions that can be easily answered by Google or a little more effort on their part. By the time I would be able to answer their questions and get them started on their task, I could have completed that task and grabbed a cup of coffee.
It was at this point in my career when I realized what I was doing right without noticing. Every time I found a problem or had to ask my manager a question, I followed the problem statement with a proposed answer to the issue. So, my boss was able to (1) understand the issue at hand and (2) was relieved to know that I had thought of a solution for this issue already.
Having the additional step of thinking about a possible solution to the problem will make every manager’s life easier! You and your manager will thank me for this piece of advice.
3 – Attitude Makes All The Difference
Smile! People don’t smile enough. Ask people how they are and actually be interested in the answer.
I get it, you have a job that doesn’t check every box on your ‘dream job’ list. Maybe you are underpaid, under appreciated, or undervalued, but that doesn’t give you the right to have a sh*tty attitude.
Get over whatever job position you think you are entitled to and come to terms with your current situation.
Having a good attitude in life (and in work) will only move you closer to your goals. No one wants to spend time with a sourpuss. Even truer, no one will give a sourpuss a raise or promotion.
The people that receive raises and promotions at work are the people that not only work hard but have a great attitude on top of their hard work ethic.
No matter how much bull sh*t and corporate nonsense I put up with in a day, I always greet people with a smile. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a positive attitude at work when you detest everything at work, trust me, I get it. However, this effort will absolutely pay off as your boss may not remember your proudest accomplishment from the past year, but they will absolutely remember how positive you are even on the busiest days.
Seems simple enough.
- Define Your Own Role – Take Initiative
- Bring Solutions, Not Problems – Make Your Boss Happy
- Attitude Makes The Difference
Doing these three things will absolutely put you at the ‘head of your class’, metaphorically speaking. Just a little bit of effort goes a long way in the professional world.
There are many people that scrape by doing just the bare minimum of what is required of them. Make sure you are not like these people, put in the effort to stand above the crowd.
*If you have any other principles you live by at work (or life in general), please share them in the comments as I am sure it will help others.*
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