How to “take off” the career ladder and salary level?

How to “take off” the career ladder and salary level?

Every company that employs more than two dozen people has a career ladder. In large corporations it is very long and complex, in small ones it is short and straight. Your income depends on which rung in this ladder you are on.

And in recent years there is an opinion that once you get a job in a corporation, you should not just work, but immediately build a career. This is the only way to quickly build up your income and financial well-being.

However, the vast majority of those who work for hire do not have a well-developed strategy for career advancement. And as a direct consequence, they can’t boast of a high salary, or at least a ghostly prospect for it in the foreseeable future.

In today’s article we will talk about what will help the “careerists” to quickly turn their most ambitious dreams into reality. Read these 8 tips for ” taking off” your career ladder:

1. Overwork and overachievement are no guarantee of a career

The very first thing to do is to assess your prospects at your current job very honestly. Do you have, in principle, any options for career advancement? Is there an income “ceiling” that you’re going to have to reach once and for all?

Don’t delude yourself with illusory hopes that if you work hard and diligently, sooner or later your boss will give you his chair or raise your salary above the market average.

Don’t be naive: your boss doesn’t care how hard you work. What’s more, he’s even fine with you exceeding your plan and bringing him more money. Therefore, your promotion is the last thing he will think about (because it is not worth breaking what is already profitable).

2. Find the right “point of growth”

All firms and corporations are different, and so is the career path. Nevertheless, all professions and positions can be very roughly divided into two large groups:

  • Front office: these are the people who communicate directly with customers and partners (sales managers, consultants, logisticians, marketers, etc.). This is the most profitable departments in corporations and therefore people working here has the highest salaries;
  • The back office: these are the service personnel for the firm’s work who are not directly related to revenue (accountants, system administrators, warranty managers, secretaries, etc.). They are also important people for the company, but they do not generate revenue, but absorb it (with their salaries). This is why the salary ceiling is more limited here.

In the front office you can build a career faster. For example, you can find 3-5 big clients and quickly get the position of deputy director of sales. This is impossible in the back office: you have to work for many years (3-5 or more) just to get noticed.

Therefore, in fact, it turns out that the big money can only be counted on the front positions. So that’s where we’re headed!

3. Make a “stakeholder map”

I agree that this sounds a bit complicated, so I’ll explain.

You need to understand who the decision makers are in your current organization (or in a new, much more promising job). Then your task is to establish a business relationship with them. So that they know/remember you as an employee on whom you can fearlessly rely and to whom you can entrust responsible tasks.

4. Don’t make people angry

When you get a new job, don’t show your ambition right away. Don’t make enemies. For in the corporate “backstabbing” it costs too much.

Instead, learn to communicate with everyone in corporation in a friendly, polite, and somewhat detached way. No one should be afraid of losing their place because of you. Moreover, friendly team relations will give you more information on how to promote yourself faster.

5. Take part in a noteworthy project

9 out of 10 employees at any corporation are afraid of the any extra responsibility. And that annoys the bosses wildly.

Be different! Take on a difficult project or task that no one else wanted to do. Use this as your trump card, shine brightly on your talents! That way, first of all, you’ll get noticed. And secondly, you will strengthen relationships with key decision-makers.

6. Make yourself “indispensable”

Your position may be only a tiny “detail” in a huge corporate business mechanism, but if this mechanism cannot work without you – it will give you “super-power”!

Of course, no one is irreplaceable. But when a new position opens up, your boss is more likely to prefer you (proven and predictable) to looking for someone on the outside (untested, unpredictable or too expensive).

7. Take care of your “batteries”

Many people make the mistake of trying to “be perfect” in every aspect of their work. They end up grabbing every task they’re given, plus taking on tasks from co-workers, they constantly overworking, and coming into the office even on weekends. It’s a mistake.

Remember: the ideal and perfection are subjective and changeable concepts. What was ideal and perfect yesterday is maybe not enough for tomorrow. That’s why even if you do your job perfectly it is not a guarantee of climbing the career ladder (because tomorrow it will be do perfect someone else).

So, if you’re building a career in a corporation, it doesn’t make sense to focus on the quality of your work. Instead, focus on the most important cases and the most challenging projects (ignoring everything else). Why? For two reasons:

  1. First, as we said above, this way you’ll get noticed faster by your supervisors;
  2. Second, you won’t burn out from overworking. Your “batteries” will remain functional. That way you will have both the time and energy to implement your career strategy.

8. Ask and you shall receive

To get a new position and a raise of salary, sometimes all you have to do is ask for it.

This trivial step is often overlooked. But without it, you can’t get a raise or climb to the next rung of the career ladder.

Last main advice

In most cases, people get new positions (and raise of salary) not because they are good at what they do, but because there is no alternative in the market. For example, a firm needs a new sales department, needs a new manager. But you are clearly better suited for the role than outside applicants.

That’s why it’s important for you to show yourself not only as a good and responsible employee, but also to show yourself in complicating projects, to show that you are not afraid of new challenges and difficulties, that you are ready to grow and develop. That’s why it’s important to become a strategist and always think about your future in corporation. You need to focus on the most important things that move your career and income forward.

The wisdom of all quick career boosts is to be able to be “in the right place at the right time” (e.g., finding a “fat” client when the corporation is doing poorly). This is a much more effective strategy in career advancement than simply overworking at 2 or 3 times the normal rate.


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