10 Ways to Up Your Pay

10 Ways to Up Your PayFor just about all of us, the idea of overnight success is a myth. Having worked in high-tech for a gazillion years, I certainly know a lot of people who've done well for themselves. And, without exception, they all worked long and hard for it.

So, when I read that, "If you want a life of affluence, you need to be making $100,000 by age 35" on Business Insider, it rang true to me. If your goal is to become successful and, someday, tell your boss where to stick it, you should probably set some milestones and identify the hurdles that stand in your way of achieving them.

Better yet, let's do that together, right now. Let's figure out what you can do to up your pay.

Now, over the past few months we've certainly had some controversial discussions over whether the gender pay gap is a myth or not, how to overcome tall white male syndrome, myths surrounding executive pay, and whether how you look has anything to do with how much you make.

Well, those are all things you can't control, so forget about them. Today we're going to focus on qualities, characteristics, and factors that you actually can impact. Here are 10 Reasons Why Some People Make More Money Than You and, get this, they're all hurdles you can overcome because they're entirely within your control.

  1. They get things done. Those who know how to get things done, meet their goals, and deliver on their promises, are like gold to an organization. More than almost anything else, it's a strong indicator of executive potential.
  2. They have a can-do attitude. As an executive, my go-to people were always those who took on challenging tasks and projects with a positive attitude versus those who had all kinds of excuses and issues. Guess who got the raises and promotions?
  3. They're in a more highly visible position. This is perhaps the most underrated factor for getting ahead in an organization, especially a big one. If folks outside your group know who you are and what you're working on, your boss's chances of getting you a fat raise or promotion are vastly increased.
  4. They're thought to have greater career potential. Once you're identified as a star individual contributor or an up-and-comer with management or executive management potential, the raises get bigger and promotions come faster.
  5. They work harder. Every time I read an article entitled Working Harder Won't Get You Ahead or something like that, I cringe a little. Not because it isn't true. It's a great message for those who already work hard. Unfortunately, far too many people aren't willing to work hard to get ahead.
  6. They're in a position to have a greater impact on the business. For better or worse, the closer you are to generating revenues and positively impacting profits, the more you'll make. In general, people in sales, product marketing, and product development, make more than administrative and support functions like HR, finance, even IT.
  7. The boss rates them higher. Like it or not, not only is this true, but it's exactly as it should be. One of management's key responsibilities is identifying and taking care of up-and-comers. Sure, it's an imperfect procedure, as are all processes that involve people, but in general, it works pretty well.
  8. They're more flexible. An oft-overlooked attribute that moves people up in the rankings and promotions is flexibility or willingness to do what's needed for the team or the company without making a big deal out of it.
  9. They get along better with peers and coworkers. Once you're indentified as someone who's hard to work with, a troublemaker, or even a pain in the ass, your growth potential in that group or at that company is limited.
  10. They negotiate better. Everything's negotiable, it's a skill you should learn, and that's the subject of another post for another day.
Bottom line. Look, you can complain about people getting ahead because of their looks or because they kiss up to management if you like, but as you can see, there are plenty of things you actually do have control over.

If you choose to whine about what you can't impact instead of improving in areas you can, then you deserve exactly as much as you make. No more, no less.

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