Our world is in a state of turmoil.
Change is the new normal.
Jobs are not secure.
But the educational system, government and big media keep selling kids a lie that you get a college degree and you’ll get a good job.
They sell this cool concept. And everyone of them (educational system, government, and media) support this big lie.
And so like lemmings, kids are churned through overpriced college indoctrination systems. And when they get out – whether with a college degree or without one – they’re given a blank slate to figure out the rest of their career and life with.
That really sucks.
And does it really make sense?
To spend tens, and in some cases hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Get deep into debt. And come out the other side with no job (or one that pays the same as they could have gotten had they taken the four to six years of college and done something else with it).
So that where you are today.
You have a job.
You may have developed a career. And like most people you are finding your paycheck shrinks year after year.
You may get regular raises (2-4% per year) or not (not every business gives annual raises).
You may have been subject to layoffs or reorganizations where you’re now doing the work of two or three people.
You want to know how to get ahead in this chaotic world we live in. But how?
Well maybe you’re not cut out for starting your own business. You don’t want the unpredictability of a business where if you don’t sell you don’t eat.
And maybe the Uber lifestyle isn’t for you. You’re not quite ready to spend another 10-20 hours a week developing a side hustle business.
You’re an employee and want to stay one. So you can have more of a personal life than running a full time business or freelance gig would offer.
So does that mean you’re destined to working day in and day out in the company coal mine with no hope of getting ahead and having a better life and more options and opportunities for you and your family?
There is another way.
A way for you to survive and thrive within the system.
No, you’re not likely to get “hit the lottery” strike it rich kind of results.
But you can find fun, fulfillment, and moving yourself into the top tier of employees in your job category.
And trust me, the joy and sense of control over your destiny that comes with that is worth the effort.
And if you do find your company hits hard times, when employee layoffs happen you’ll find yourself at the top of the “must keep” mental checklist management is using to make tough decisions.
And if you do want to make your own move and find a new organization to support you, the relationships you’ve developed, the results you’ve created, and the confidence and skill you’ve gained will help you rise to the top of any competitive interview situation.
So how do you do it?
Let’s walk through the steps together.
Step 1: Be someone they can count on.
It all starts with being a reliable and effective contributor to the company. You can’t be viewed in a positive light if you don’t consistently deliver when asked.
Whether you’re working project work or just doing the daily work that needs to get done.
If you don’t get it done it falls on someone else’s plate. Or their work gets backlogged by yours. Not a good situation to be in if you’re trying to boost your personal brand with your coworkers and boss.
So get it done. Do it on time.
Step 2: Share your struggles and your results.
Everyone likes to commiserate. Misery loves company. And struggling against a common enemy (a frustrating client, an employee you don’t like, an annoying boss, an underperforming vendor) binds people together like superglue.
But like superglue, you must use it sparingly.
Being seen as a Negative Nelly won’t get you ahead and will keep you buried in the world of the under-performers.
You need the second part of this which is share your results.
If you want to get ahead it isn’t enough just to do the work well and assume you’ll get noticed. True people often do notice and you will get opportunities that way.
But you can add rocket fuel to the situation if you do effectively communicate your successes. And sharing some of the secret sauce of how you did it can go a long way towards building your personal brand.
Don’t do it in a bragging kind of way.
Just segue into it as conversations naturally turn to where you can drop in a comment or tell a story.
Step 3: Give away the credit.
Nothing will undermine your future success more than taking public credit for something that someone else created. If you’re a manager, when you have great results from your team, compliment or call out one of the team members who made something happen that was critical for the success of the venture.
People remember and support those who can get their ego out of the way and build up others. As you get into management you realize that all major successes come through others.
My biggest role typically is that of amateur therapist and cheerleader.
As you get bigger and bigger roles or projects to contribute to you’ll find your influence increases and your stature in the company become larger as others support your grand visions.
Step 4: Volunteer.
If you’re expecting to get paid to do the next job up before you get it, you’ll find you’ll never get there.
People hate risk.
And managers are no different.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Would you promote someone who never has shown they have the skills to deliver in the role?
Or would you promote the person who has already done all the elements of the role?
It’s a no-brainer, right?
So why would you think your situation is any different?
If they can’t see you being successful in the role then you’re not likely to get there. You’ll be passed over for that promotion year after year. And then you’ll find yourself discouraged and doing even less to justify you’re right for the job.
And if there are special projects coming up? Situations that create visibility that you just won’t get in your day-to-day job. Will you be offered them if you’re not showing you can handle them?
It starts with you.
Begin with small opportunities. They’re all around you.
Whether it is helping a coworker with something.
Contributing your expertise, knowledge or energy.
Maybe it is offering to work a few hours of overtime or work over the weekend to help deliver some critical commitment to a client.
And as you get your results-oriented muscles moving it will start coming easier.
And you’ll start seeing more opportunities to contribute.
And others will bring you increasingly challenging opportunities to make a difference.
And you’ll find you’re enjoying coming to work more.
And your annual reviews will start to look better.
And raises and bonuses and promotions will start to happen more frequently.
As you find yourself growing into a full-fledged “Employee-preneur”.
So go take the first step…