One of the best pieces of advice I ever received is to think of your career like a business, with you as the CEO. There are a few different ways to look at that advice, but one of the most important is that your career will have revenue and expenses – just like a business.
Revenues and expenses
All successful businesses pay attention to both sides of that equation, because they’re ultimately all about profit – which is your revenue, minus your expenses. As the CEO of your career, you need to do the same, and pay attention to both.
On the revenue side, you need to know how much you’re making, and take ownership of asking for what you’re worth. Yes, that means doing the negotiation thing, even if you’d really rather not ask for more money. Trust me, it’s worth it. On the costs side, you’d be surprised at how expensive it can be to have a career when you break it all down, and I’m not talking about the exorbitant price of printing your resume on nice paper.
Pro tip: No one ever got hired based on the quality of their resume paper. Focus on bigger wins.
Here are just a few of the heavy-hitting career decisions you need to rock in order to be the CEO your career deserves – and make a healthy profit while you’re at it.
Choose what to do – and where to do it
It’s easy to ignore that article your mom sent you about the highest-earning majors, or the fact that your cousin in Dallas can buy a five-bedroom McMansion for the cost of a tiny studio in your “up-and-coming” neighborhood in NYC. But where you live and what you do are some of the biggest money decisions you’ll make in your life, and you deserve to know what you’re getting into.
Those two decisions will have arguably the biggest impact on your lifetime wealth. Luckily, you’re not a tree: if you don’t like something, you can change it. Yes, that applies to your career too, even if your major didn’t 100% prepare you for your field.
Get the job
While the cost of buying business cards can seem small when compared to the price of a San Francisco rental, those little costs can add up to something pretty major if you’re not paying attention to them. When you’re on the hunt for a job, it’s far too easy to justify an expense as a necessity, since it’s all in service of the ultimate goal: a full-time, well-paying gig.
There are so many ways to keep your costs reasonable while you build a network, apply to jobs and slog through interviews. Once you do score a position, just think of how great it’ll feel to have even more money in your pocket, thanks to how well you controlled the costs of your job hunt.
I feel like that money would be best spent on a celebratory round of drinks. Yes?
Dress for success
Getting a job is just the first step; now you have to actually do the job, probably five days a week, and not feel like a total imposter while you’re at it. That alone can be enough of a free pass to hit up Banana Republic and make your credit card weep, but that’s not the best way to handle the daunting task of fitting in at work or “looking like a professional.”
Trust me, anyone can swipe their way to a work wardrobe, but there are more effective ways to be taken seriously at the office (plus, they cost less). Take it from someone who bought a ton of Serious Professional Clothes only to work in places where jeans were the norm: there’s a better way.
Navigate the tricky parts
From the office holiday party, to the conversation where you take a deep breath and ask for a raise, careers are full of fun minefields that we all need to navigate from time to time. Getting through them without completely embarrassing yourself isn’t only good for helping you face the office the next day, it can also be good – or great – for your money.
Whether the tricky part has to do with not spending a boatload of money on something that won’t help you get ahead, or navigating the jungle that is office politics, at the end of the day your money will thank you for being such a boss about handling it like a pro.
Over the next few months, we’ll be taking a deep dive into careers and money, looking at all of these topics and more.
What are you especially interested in hearing about? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments.
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