Pile of twenty pound notes. (c) 2011 TaxFix.co.uk Ltd.. (CC BY 2.0) Via flickr.

How Ed Went from $35k to $115k in an Afternoon

Forrest ChristianCareers, Organizations, Reviews - Books, Underachievers Leave a Comment

Four years ago, I posted about the difference between Closed-Sector and Open-Sector careers. It’s worth looking at again, because your choice of career will affect the choices that you have.

A brief excerpt:

If your first appointment in a Closed-Sector Career matters, it may be used as a proxy for capability. I may assume that you are low-capability because you were hired as on the shopfloor even though you are quite clearly more complex than your co-workers or boss. Likewise, if you are hired into a managerial position, I will assume that you have the complexity to advance according to the same rate I advanced. This lets me off the hook for personally evaluating you as a subordinate, and thereby not have to do one of the key elements of management.

This means that if you came into an organization at a low level, you will have to leave it to move up. Also, when people ask for your salary requirements, give a number that is bigger than you think that you would ever get. Ed, the guy I bought my house from, got a job in Florida this way. His in-laws live down there and wanted the grandkids nearby, so his father-in-law arranged for a interview with a trucking company. (Ed did logistics.) Ed was making $35k, barely able to make ends meet with the surprise second baby. After the interview, the company said, “We want you. What will it take to get you down here?” Ed thought about all the trouble that this would cause, with moving and all, and gave them a number he knew that they would refuse: “$115,000,” he said. Done. He’d left $20k on the table. But by coming in at a worthwhile rate, he not only raised his standard of living and allowed his wife to not work and stay home with the babies, he put himself into a position to move ahead.

Several years ago, my brother worked as a recruiter in the oil industry. He made an interesting point that once someone had decided that you were worth $100k, you had broken the magic barrier and everyone would assume that you were worth that much. There’s some play in this, but it’s especially true for managers. Once you have a large “command” and get paid X, you are always going to be thought of as worth the money. Unless you do something really stupid.

Ed commands much more than $115k. And in the summer of 2001, his household income was $35k. Impressive, isn’t it?

Enjoy the relevant blast from the past.

Image Credit: “Pile of twenty pound notes“, © 2011 TaxFix.co.uk Ltd. (CC BY 2.0)

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