How is your “career stock” trending? Are you a rising star, working on high-profile projects and seeing your income rise? Or do you tend to be a “steady as you go” performer, treading water salary-wise? Or, worst case, do you find yourself losing ground lately, professionally and economically?
Whether you work for yourself or for others, you are the boss of your own career. Maybe it’s time to convene your inner board of directors, assess your current performance and develop strategies to make yourself and your paycheck more valuable. Here are some “self-investment” areas to consider.
In today’s collaborative work environment, sharing your knowledge and skills with team members is expected. Not being a team player will derail your career faster than abandoning your sashimi in the company fridge. (Seriously, will you toss that out?) To increase your mutual trust index, contribute in every meeting; seek out your peers, in person and virtually, to toss around ideas; and be sure your personal strengths are driving team goals and making everyone shine.
Technology is transforming every business sector and the life cycle of skills is shrinking. No matter how secure your position, constantly seek opportunities—classes, seminars, books, mentoring—to upgrade your skills so you remain relevant and upwardly mobile in your career. Innovation and fresh ideas provide the competitive edge in business today and if you are an agent of positive change with the right mix of assets, your rewards are likely to be greater.
Annual or quarterly reviews are outdated. Research shows that ongoing “career conversations” with a manager or team leader are more effective in accelerating one’s professional and income trajectory.1 They’re a great opportunity to solicit feedback (“How am I doing? How can I make myself more valuable to the organization?”) and to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals so your performance aligns with business needs and delivers a high return.
Negotiating a raise, promotion or new job is part of business. Begin by doing your homework. What salaries do peers with your professional skills and experience command? What do companies in your profession and geographic area pay? Importantly, what matters most to you? Do you prefer to rise up the ladder or, instead, move laterally into a new area of responsibility? Would greater job flexibility please you more than a fatter paycheck? Is it time for a career pivot? Knowing what you value is the prerequisite to getting what you want.
Research shows that overall life satisfaction is linked to financial well-being. You don’t have to earn millions, but people are more confident when they have a plan, learn more about financial concepts, balance growth and protection products and work with an advisor. And just as creating a plan and putting it into action is part of confident living, devising a career plan and deploying appropriate advancement tactics can lead to work that is both personally and financially rewarding. And that’s the kind of stock that always appreciates.
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2017-51963 Exp. 12/2019
 “Talk the Talk: How Ongoing Career Conversations Drive Business Success,” Right Management, 2016