The traditional way of growing your value in business was to do two things: Work for the company for a long time and learn stuff on the side. If you were loyal to the company, you could eventually work your way to a better job, a pension and a parking spot. While you might get a promotion every once in a while at your job, the idea of working your way up the ladder at the same company is gone for good. The economy is simply going to be too dynamic for such stability.
There is a way to adapt to this new situation and avoid getting stuck in a dead-end somewhere: always be looking for the next job, and always take a job offer that is either a move upwards in pay or upwards in title. Preferably, you always get a higher wage, but sometimes it’s okay to move sideways in pay as long as you get a better title or job description that will make you more marketable and employable in the future.
You don’t want a reputation as a job-hopper, but realistically, any company willing to hire you is willing to hire you, even if they know you were only at your last job for three months. But here’s a good general rule: work your current job for six months before you start looking for something else. If you cross the one-year mark, look harder for a job. Getting a promotion, a new job, or a raise resets your clock, but never let your career stagnate at the same job or pay level for more than eighteen months. Move, network, whatever, just don’t get stuck somewhere. Mathematically, as long as you’re moving up every time you do this, you should be able to get thirty or so “promotions” in your working life.
Something else you have to do is work really hard. This sort of thing is not going to work if you get a reputation as a slacker, a word that will follow you forever once someone utters it. But if you work really hard people will notice. If you become important and productive and your managers don’t want to lose you, it will give you the upper hand in negotiating wages.
Filed under: Business |