Managing your finances is a broad church. A big part of it comes from doing the best with what you have. This can mean stretching every penny you earn as far as it will go. Of course, this can take many forms; it may simply involve better meal planning and preparation so that you’re able to avoid the allure of convenience foods, restaurants and takeaways, or it may mean staying on top of who’s selling the cheapest gas and even adapting your driving style to be more fuel efficient. It could mean repurposing your used items, thrift shopping or any number of money saving options. A big part of it comes from supplementing the income from your day job. This may come from developing a side hustle which may well turn into a lucrative business, selling your unwanted items on eBay or putting a little time, effort and resources into monetizing your blog or your YouTube channel.
But as long as you remain in your current job, you’ll always be banging your head against a glass ceiling placed squarely over your earnings. Realistically, there’s only so much time and effort you can invest in growing your wealth outside of your career endeavors, even if you have a healthy and diverse stock portfolio. It’s widely regarded that the best path to financial security is through work. Indeed, that’s pretty much the basis of the American dream and the goal of capitalism. Nonetheless, when it comes to your achievements at work, things are kind of… stagnant.
It’s not that you’re bad at your job. Far from it. You are a master of the minutiae and a go to point of reference for new and veteran colleagues alike. You’re dependable, reliable and punctual, and you’ve been with your employer for so long it’s almost like you’ve become part of the furniture. You’ve become an integral cog in the machinery of your workplace and you do your job so well it’s almost as if you’re not even there at all. This may seem comforting and familiar, but if you want to give your household finances a much needed boost and give yourself and your family the gift of financial independence, you need to dig yourself out of this happy little rut you’ve dug for yourself. It’s time to get your eyes back on the prize and start climbing that greasy pole upward to promotion, better pay and better conditions. The future of your finances depends on it.
What happens if you do nothing
We get it. We really do. It can be all too easy to settle into a rhythm at work, especially when we have other priorities like spending quality time with our kids, our partners and our friends. When we become unconsciously competent at work, everything becomes a matter of muscle memory. We get to the point where we literally could do our job in our sleep (when you dream about work this has a number of implications– not all of them positive). When we fall into these rhythms we usually find that even when we’re working hard, we’re not working too hard. Our job becomes easier and, whether we admit it or not, we get complacent. We may not make mistakes or mess up at work, but we don’t shake things up or make an effort to get noticed either.
While this may seem innocuous it can have implications for your family’s finances. Let’s not forget that in many countries, though inflation may drive your cost of living upwards your wages may not grow to meet them. In an uncertain economy many corporations hedge their bets by under investing in their employees’ pay, and if they can get away with it now, they’ll probably still be getting away with it in 5 years’ time. Thus, while you may be earning “the same” amount, the real terms value of your wages will erode year on year, making it harder to steer your household towards financial independence. This can’t be allowed to happen! It’s time to take action…
Dress for the job you want
Yes, it’s an old cliche. No, you shouldn’t turn up for work dressed as Batman. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of appearance in getting us noticed at work. Most of us turn up for work in our sharpest suits, dressed to kill and looking super professional in our first few months of work. However, as we look around us at how our peers are dressed, we can slide into more casual modes of dress. While this may not contravene your workplace’s dress code policy, it’s also unlikely to get you noticed or put you in mind when those opportunities for promotion come along.
No matter what your job, there’s no denying that (rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly) your employers will judge you not just by your deeds but your appearance. On the plus side, however, it needn’t cost you a fortune nor inconvenience you to look your best at work, even if you work in an inherently messy job like nursing. Just get a load of these tidy medical scrubs at Med Couture Scrubs. Not only does dressing to impress get you noticed by your higher ups, it makes you feel confident and empowered, allowing you to become a formidable presence amongst the workforce.
Don’t take on too much all by yourself
We want to convince our management that they can trust us to handle the tasks that we’re given with complete autonomy. The trouble is that while this impulse is noble and admirable, it can all-too easily become a rod for our backs. When we take on too much work, we don’t want to admit that we’re out of our depth and will likely eschew the aid of colleagues who may be able to help us. Unfortunately, this can lead us into counterproductive behaviors that damage our efficiency and actually cast negative aspersions on our performance in the eyes of our bosses.
It can lead us to manage our time poorly and mis-prioritize our workload. It can increase our stress levels, which can cause us to behave in erratic and emotionally volatile ways as well as clouding our judgement and impairing our cognitive processes. Needless to say, this can alienate you from your colleagues and management, meaning that when those opportunities for promotion come along they may well pass you by.
While stress at work is inevitable, managing it effectively can make a universe of difference to your productivity (which, in this economy, is most likely your boss’ number one priority). Be open and honest about your limitations, and only make promises that you know you can keep. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that you need help or an extension on a deadline. If you feel that stress may be holding you back, take steps to manage it while identifying key stressors in your workplace and taking steps to mitigate their effect.
Didn’t get promoted? Ask why not!
When we interview for a promotion, a completely common but remarkably unhelpful cognitive process occurs. We start thinking as if we have already got the job. We start thinking about who we’ll tell first, how we’ll manage the responsibilities, we even start thinking about how we’ll spend the extra money. We may fool ourselves into thinking that we’re being positive, “visualizing” or thinking like a winner, but what we’re really doing is setting ourselves up for a huge fall if the job doesn’t land in our laps. We can fall into the trap of thinking that “our” job has been taken away from us, but the truth is that it was never ours to begin with. Of course it’s disheartening and demoralizing when we get passed up for a big promotion. However, how you conduct yourself when passed up can make a huge difference in how you are perceived when the next opportunity comes along. Firstly, try not to harbor any feelings of resentment towards your colleague who got the promotion over you, and respect the fact that an experienced panel ascertained that they were better suited than you to the job. Secondly, have an open and honest conversation with your boss about where you fell short and what you can do to improve next time. They’ll welcome the conversation and see it as a sign that not only are you ambitious and goal oriented, you’re a team player too!
Don’t be a sycophant!
It’s a rookie mistake, but lots of people still think that they key to promotion lies in baking their boss cupcakes, laughing at their jokes, and providing an echo chamber for their ideas and ideology, while stating their disagreement behind the boss’ back. Bosses don’t like sycophantic brown nosers. Indeed they actually want to be challenged. You can be respectful and even reverent while providing a dissenting or challenging voice when it will benefit the organization.
Stick to the above advice, and steer clear of the common pitfalls that tend to affect those vying for a promotion, and you will find that your hard work, effort and persistence pay off.