Feelings About Work 💼
☕ Happy Monday! ☕
We've been having quite a few heart-to-hearts spurred by this month's career theme. So many young people (minorities especially) struggle with corporate culture, self-advocacy and confidence at work.
We have been so proud of friends and readers taking recent steps towards salary discussions, career changes and all around tough conversations.💕 Everyone gets there. It just takes practice
If you have any topics you want to chat, give us a shout, because we'll be hosting periodic office hours on Instagram for some deeper chats.
What’s on Our Mind: Making Cash Money 💸
Last week, we reflected on work-life balance, an essential question to figuring out the right career moves. We talked through the Performance Pyramid and how establishing rituals can help with the building blocks of our careers and personal lives.
Today we'll discuss salaries and W-2 income as our initial strategy for building wealth.
(1) Know what you're signing up for and ask the hard questions.
Most people choose a career path in their teens or early twenties. Career paths change, but to minimize the stress and confusion, we feel strongly that you need to ask the hard questions.
These aren't questions you ponder in a forest. Make calls, read books or even reach out on LinkedIn. Find an internship or shadow a professional. Look up salaries and open discussions in your industry (hint, try starting with our #ShowMeTheMoney series).
Careers are very different on paper vs. in real life. You learn about the job and about yourself by just doing it.
The Hard Questions
- What salary can I expect and how will that grow or stagnate? Also how much money do I truly need for loans, family obligations, myself?
- How comfortable am I with the lifestyle and demands of that job?
- Do I have a sense of what that job entails (skills, culture) before I dive in?
- What are the exit opportunities in case I change my mind?
- Where in my life (classes, clubs, teams) have I had the fulfillment? How do I recreate that?
Note, plenty of college graduates flock to finance, tech and consulting because they've carefully considered the practicalities and are relieved (especially in this economy) to have any job.
But you also want to be in touch with those moments where you do feel in your zone. For example, Anna loves mission-driven social impact and it was a big part of her identity in school. So she runs YMP and is on the impact investing initiative in her day job. Just tailoring small parts of our lives in the right direction can be fulfilling.
Plenty of others juggle their passions through work specializations, hobbies and volunteer orgs. You're never going to love 100% of any job. They're paying you because they couldn't find volunteers.😏
(2) Understand the perks of the job that money can't buy.
Yes, we love 💰 but you have to think long term. We have learned from our own blood, sweat and tears that a good boss is worth her weight in gold. Not only will you learn the right skills or get promoted faster, but you'll also learn how to manage and hopefully be a better person too.
We also value team culture and work-life balance (which we discussed in last week's newsletter).
A quote that gets us inspired:
"Play long-term games with long-term people." - Naval
(3) Set goals for career performance and salary.
If you want to grow your income, set a personal goal and interview around to see if other people would pay more for your skills. Consider perks outside of money and bring up a potential raise early (ahead of budget season) with your boss.
Make your case by highlighting the valuable work you've been doing and what comparative compensation internally (or even externally) would entail. Then, listen and ask follow up questions! Your boss could have any number of responses, but you should come out of that conversation with a clear sense of what is possible and what isn't.
You won't get more money just because you ask for it. In corporate America, everything is a business decision and trade-off. Paying you more means less budget for other people or investments. So it's your job to prove and convince others of your worth.
In negotiation, leverage is the power you have to influence the outcome, based on cost / benefit to the other side. You will have more success if (1) you make your contributions known and (2) understand what your employer loses if you leave.
Focus on adding unique and high quality work. Interview occasionally to know what market rates are for your career path.
After all this money talk is done, take a step back and count your blessings.
We have a theory that everyone thinks they're underpaid. If you're reading this, you're probably had your fair share of luck relative to the history of the world. The world is unfair but sometimes in your favor. 😉
What We're Reading: Work Edition 📖
(1) Naval's Guide to Wealth and Happiness: Our favorite principle is: "play long term games with long term people" but we enjoy this venture capital's thoughts on life as well. (Free Book)
(2) How I Built This by Guy Raz: We love hearing about others finding their careers and companies, because the path is never ever linear. Pro-tip: If there's any public figure you admire, go find their podcast interviews! (Podcast)
(3) r/Careers on Reddit: Any salary or culture question you have is probably answered on the internet. We like Reddit and Quora, but there are industry-specific websites too for finance, consulting, PhDs, anything! Try Google.