Maximizing Your Income Potential and Thriving in the Corporate World

Maximizing Your Income Potential and Thriving in the Corporate World

It’s been about two months since my last post (at the time of starting this draft), which is honestly surprising to me because I thought it’d been much longer.  Life got busy.  Work became demanding, my side business grew, and time became scarce.  Writing here wasn’t the only thing that got pushed by the wayside.

I was also getting into Tony Robbins latest book, MONEY Master The Game, right about the same time I stopped posting, and at the same time I stopped reading.  Lastly, I spent years expanding my skill set as a drummer when I was younger and on top of wanting to maintain that skill set, it’s also something that simply feels good to do and brings me great enjoyment.  Since early May, I stopped playing all together.

Oh, and let’s not forget numerous missed workouts at the gym.  But life happens.  Sometimes the job becomes demanding of a disproportionate amount of your time and energy.  It’s times like those where I question why I haven’t been able to figure out how to make a living on my own as opposed to working the rigid 9 to 5 for the benefit of a heartless money making machine that demands productivity.

I value my freedom so the thought of a few more decades as an office drone, caged in a cubicle sounds unbearable to me.  Getting a college degree, taking academic tests, slapping together a resume, applying for jobs, interviewing, and landing a role somewhere within the corporate pyramid-structure to me is absolutely settling in life, taking the easy road, and guaranteeing the minimal reward of a steady paycheck, which alone will never be enough, leaving you to show up again, and again, Monday through Friday ad nauseam.

There’s no freedom in that.  A corporate job for a college educated individual is the equivalent of working at McDonalds for a 16 year old.  It needs to be viewed as a stepping stone on your path to greater achievement.  Your corporate job should be the funding source for the purchase of assets which will provide a much more passive, or enjoyable source of income.  It should fund the exploration and experimentation with different ways of generating income outside of your salary, without the expectation of trading 5 days for 2, every week under a rigid schedule with minimal time off.

If you’ve ever worked in an office then you’ve seen how 95% of your colleagues have given up and believe the job they’re working is as good as it gets.  They do what they’re told, they work hard often to only be taken advantage of, they view members of upper management as super heroes, supplicating to them, putting on a front in their presence, and perceiving them as role models of success.

Well I’ve got news for you. In the grand scheme of wealth distribution in this country the $20-30k more your manager is making than you per year makes them basically your equal.  And it often times has taken them decades of their lives dedicated to unfulfilling work to happen upon the right set of circumstances, being in the right place, at the right time, well liked by the right people, to get to that level.

Maximizing Your Income Potential and Thriving in the Corporate World

Meanwhile I’m below that guy on the corporate totem pole, although his years of complacency were somewhat rewarded, or totally wasted, however you choose to look at it.  And with my outside income from making an effort to make money on my own, independent of being employed, if you were to compare the gross income line on his tax return to mine, assuming he’s the typical complacent upper management type with no other substantial streams of income, the figures you’d see would be about the same.

When he was in my shoes all those years ago he never dreamed of that amount of income at that time, and yet here I am matching what he makes.  By the time I’m his age, at this pace he’ll be left in the dust, and corporate culture tells me I should look up to him?  Is it just me, or is that a backwards set of values?

Maybe if I stay complacent for 15 soul sucking years of my life, I can make a little bit more than the majority of people who work here!  Then I can rationalize superiority and feed my ego with a job title, pay bump, and bigger office, thinking that this is what success looks like, simply because on that path, true financial freedom is never an option.

The corporate pyramid can be likened to a multilevel marketing pyramid-scheme.  One, society has deemed legitimate (the job)  so its less obvious than the  other, which is endlessly bashed by many as can be seen by a quick Google search of any MLM company.  In reality, the two have much more in common than you would  think.  The only real difference is that in one instance, it’s clearly obvious that the majority of people are working for free while the guy at the top of the pyramid is paid a nice chunk of change so everyone continues to work for free, hoping to one day become that person at the top.

With a corporate job you’re not working for free, but you’ll never benefit from your labor more than a onetime payment locked in at the rate you’ve agreed to be your worth when accepting the job offer and salary.  You’ll also likely have access to a shitty high deductible health insurance and a few other benefits to help rationalize your decision to become complacent.

The point is, the very nature of a pyramid is structured in a way that is not meant for everyone to rise to the top.  Each level you climb, the number of opportunities above you becomes more scarce.  Additionally, your direct manager is only one rung above you, so how much authority do they really have to drive your advancement?  They can only promote you to a level just below them at best.  Not to mention office politics, favoritism, and cliques that exist pretty much everywhere.

Your manager can put in a good word for you to become their equal, but that isn’t their decision.  Usually you’ll have some access to, and interaction with your managers manager, but above that, you may never even meet the people higher up, especially within a larger corporation.  This is done purposely so that those in the higher positions can make logical decisions viewing people as a number and an expense, as opposed to actual people, who they have relationships with, who they may like, and based on relationships, be inclined to give them better pay.

This is not best for business, or best for shareholders who are the top priority to please and to whom executive management is legally obligated to act in the best interest of.  Employees never come before shareholders in any corporation unless by taking care of employees you attract top talent which will produce higher returns for shareholders.

All you have to do to validate this point is watch an episode of the show Undercover Boss.  It’s the same story every time.  CEO disguises himself as average Joe reality TV show contestant.  Goes into the business at the level of low income employees.  Bonds with them, gets tragic story about their life’s struggles, reveals his identity at the end and gives away money to those few employees who he, or she bonded with.

Great publicity for the business, however if this process was repeated with all the low level employees in the entire company then the CEO and company would go broke.  The corporate pyramid, as it relates to all job functions which don’t directly generate revenue (like sales positions) relies on complacency to keep positions filled.

In many cases you can have a department full of people possessing a higher demand skill set, who could easily add a quick $10-$20k to their salary by seeking out opportunity elsewhere, but if they’re all complacent then they’re never even going to think of doing a quick job search, or make a 15 minute phone call to a recruiter to see what else is out there, are they?  That would take initiative and a sense of self worth. Plus there’s risk involved with taking on a new job. Lots of uncertainty and many unknowns that you won’t get to experience until you’ve jumped in.

Plus you have to sneak around to interview and initiate that awkward conversation of giving two weeks’ notice.  To the complacent types, all this is enough to keep them ignorant and not even think of doing that quick job search.  They’ve trapped themselves in a self imposed prison where they will never be challenged by their routine work, and their loyalty will be exploited much more frequently than it will be rewarded.

This is your life and its ending one minute at a time.  Do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality.  Work for yourself, your purpose, your development and growth first, and put the demands of your employer second.  Apply the same values that they do.  Shareholders come first, everything else comes after that.  In the business of your life you are the shareholder.

You come first in all business decisions.  Your employers wants and needs are secondary to you. The same way your needs are secondary to their shareholders.  If you’re going to exist within the corporate world you need to understand the reality of the situation you are in, and play the game to win.  No one else can do that for you.

Maximizing Your Income Potential and Thriving in the Corporate World

Never underestimate opportunity cost and maximizing the return on your precious time invested.  If one hour gets you $20 here or $30 elsewhere, at the very least, you need to know that the opportunity to improve your financial circumstances is out there within your reach.  Growth and progression are yours for the taking if you open your eyes and refuse to be paralyzed by fear.

It’s absolutely true that money isn’t everything and you have to compare all variables before making a career move. Work life balance, culture, commute, opportunity to advance, training, overall performance of the company, job security, and benefits all need to be factored in to your decision. But if you’re not fully satisfied and you think you can improve your circumstances in most of these categories then you absolutely should.

Always do as much research as you can and talk to people with information and experience on a prospect employer. And better yet, make your dreams a reality and build your own business so you can monetize your passions and spend your time doing something you love, that you truly connect with.  Decide what you want, don’t worry so much about how you’ll get it, and begin to move towards that vision one day at a time.

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Andy RandonMaximizing Your Income Potential and Thriving in the Corporate World

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