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January 14, 2010


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I can vouch for the efficacy of everything this article mentions. As a retired "Rocket Scientist" I can say this topic doesn't take rocket science to understand, it's just pure, basic common sense.

You have to a very visible presence in your workplace and make sure that your boss and your boss's boss are both well aware of your hard work, dedication, loyalty, long hours, and hard work. You must never drop the ball, you must work tirelessly to finish a project successfully and on time. That way your reputation grows and when you get called in to receive your annual performance appraisal you come out feeling great and with your appraisal in hand showing a nice raise for the coming year. You have to ask, "What do I need to do to climb to the next rung on the ladder?" and then work hard towards getting that next promotion. My company had its own education and training department and there were many in-house classes that were of great benefit in learning new methods and techniques that weren't around when you graduated - you need to continue to learn and improve long after your formal education ended. There was also the opportunity to win achievement and cost saving's awards and they help tremendously in making your management aware of your progress. If you're good, don't be afraid to flaunt it occasionally.

Sometimes you will find that there's another employee that's in direct competition with you to lead a certain project. In this case you have to assess his strengths and weaknesses and then devise a strategy whereby you can concentrate upon your strengths and his weaknesses so that when the time comes for the person to be given the responsibility to head up that project that you get it and not your competitor.

You definitely have to give 110% if you want to attain your full potential - you won't get it by being late for work and the first one out of the door at the end of the day, and declining to work overtime, and never taking any work home with you. Let's face it, the letters after your name aren't enough. You cannot rest on your laurels, you have to prove yourself day after day, week after week, if you want to climb the ladder and obtain the highest salary possible.

Good article. However, the best raises come when you change jobs. I've seen this over and over in the corporate world. We were taught that one should be loyal but when I look around it's actually the opposite.

@Old Limey - on the technical track your advice is spot on but on the manager/executive track it's what I stated above.... imho at least.

Good post/topic. I think the same thing goes with people looking for a job. Potential employers have plenty of people that will say they are hard workers, faster learners, etc. What they really want is to see someone that has a list of accomplishments so that they have a better idea as to what they will do for their business.

And then there are those who refuse to work beyond their job classification because they won't"work for free". Usually they end up complaining when someone else got the promotion. " I could do that, they say"; I used to tell them, then why didn't you?"

It is imperative to sell/market yourself. It took me a while to learn this and frankly didn't do it well. But I managed to do okay.

It's too bad, but I have to agree in part with texashaze. It does seem to be true.
I on the other hand stayed with the same organization and it paid off for me.

I work as an engineer for a non-profit company in the defense industry (betcha didn't know many of them existed). From what I have observed, the surest path to a promotion or significant pay raise is for management to believe you are about to leave the company. Only then will they feel compelled to sweeten the pot to retain you. Sadly, hard work and innovative solutions to hard problems are not rewarded directly.

@Paul - This is SO true. I've worked for companies in the past where I've followed all the suggestions in the articles above (it's called good work ethic), but when I've asked for a raise, I'm told that "the company cannot afford to give raises". But when I threatened to leave? Ooh, the money magically appeared! Imagine that.

Sure, there are good companies out there who reward hard work and results without a hassle (i've never had the pleasure of working for one), but so many other companies will only give you a nice raise if you threaten to go to another company.

Another way of getting a good promotion is to be the first person in your company to get a highly sought after credential, certification, or license (for technical fields anyways. For example, when LEED (green building stuff) first came out, if you were the first person to become a LEED AP (accredited professional), lots of companies created a new higher paid position for LEED. Now its old hat though and LEED AP's are a dime a dozen. Same thing happened with the PMP designation and the DBIA. Be the first. Also, the interesting thing is that early on, the examinations to get these above mentioned credentials was easier. Now that everyone is trying to get these credentials, they made the tests harder.

Hearing what you're saying about threatening to leave, but ... how would you do that effectively? How would that kind of a conversation sound, I wonder?

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