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Why Getting Paid More Today Can Cause You to Make Less Tomorrow


by Glenn Shepard
May 23, 2017
Category: Careers




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Did You Know?

High school dropouts are 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates.
Source: A 2009 Northeastern University study 
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Imagine this:

You’re unemployed and applying for a job you really want.

Because it’s a new position with a new company, the compensation package isn’t etched in stone.

The company owner is a self-made billionaire, and can afford to pay whatever he needs to pay to fill the position.

How much would you ask for if you could write your own ticket?

Most people answer “As much as I can get!” While that’s not always a bad thing, it could be a fatal mistake.

There are three problems with asking for more money when you’re in a position like this:

1. Ask for too much, and they may find someone else who’s equally, or better qualified than you, but willing to work for less.

2. Even if they agree to pay you more, you may make yourself so expensive that you limit yourself on future promotions and opportunities.

3. When times get tough, employees who make the most are the first ones top management looks at cutting. (Regardless of whether you think that’s "fair", it’s an economic reality.)

The secret to coming out on top in a situation like this is to ask yourself one crucial question – “What’s my long term game plan?”

Decide if it’s just a stepping stone to tide you over until you find another job, or if it’s a company you can see yourself staying with for years.

It’s short-term vs. long-term thinking.

If it’s a company you plan on staying with, the amount of opportunity you have to get promoted and grow is as important as starting salary.

When I graduated college with a degree in management at age 21, my first job was as a management trainee with Cintas, the uniform company.

The starting pay wasn’t as high as with other companies, but they had a fast-track management training program that guaranteed an 8% raise every six months for the first two years, and the chance to climb the ladder as far as your ambition and work ethic would take you after that.

Of course at 21, all I was concerned about was starting pay. As the old Loverboy song went, I was “Working for the Weekend”. I wasn’t concerned about what I’d be doing two years later when I’d be an old guy at 23.

Fortunately, I had a roommate from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who was wiser and more mature than I was.

He was an Aerospace Engineering major who took a job with much higher pay, but that plateaued almost immediately. He pointed out that the training program and compensation package with Cintas was designed to groom people who wanted to climb the corporate ladder fast, and how much he wished there was a company that offered a program like that in his industry.

I took the job, and it turned out to be the best experience of my professional life.

If you’re looking for a new job, memorize the following and tell it to the interviewer:

“Mr./Mrs. (Interviewer’s Name), I will be the most dependable, hardest working, most ambitious employee you’ve ever hired. I’ll never stop learning and improving, so that I can be the best I can be. I don’t just solve problems, I prevent them. I take initiative to do what needs doing without being told to do it.  I understand how to serve my customers, serve my company, and get along with my team members. I’m low-maintenance and high-energy. If I give 110% every day, where would you see me in 5 years?”

You’ll get more job offers and have more doors opened for you than you can count.

To Your Success,


Glenn Shepard

YES, the text in the red paragraph is copyrighted material. You have permission to use it on two conditions:

1. You Pay It Forward by making a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in my name when you get your new job or promotion.

2. You share your success story with us and allow it to be used in a future book, article, seminar, etc.

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