So I hope everyone had a great Father’s day! My dad has been gone a few years now and of course I thought of him yesterday. It was kind of an odd activity that brought back memories of some excellent advice he gave me early on in my career which I’d like to share.
My career in broadcast journalism took some time to launch back when I got out of college. I had a ton of practical experience, but it was a tough economy, so I just tried to get my foot in wherever I could. My first job was as a board operator for a small radio station. I was paid $4 per hour. Even then it was low, it was an opportunity. I had to drive 40 miles each way, but the experience and contacts were invaluable.
After some months on the job I asked my manager for a raise. I’d do a great job if he could commit a bit more money to me, I assured him. I told my dad this and he said, son, don’t ask for more money and tell them you will do a better job, you have to show them you can do a better job and point backwards to what you have done and then ask for a raise.
Excellent advice. I have passed it along to my children and now to you.
From then on I tried to show every employer that I was worth more than they were paying me. Not by doing more than 100%, but by hitting 100% of my potential. It’s all I ask of my children and there is nothing more than 100%, it’s just that some never achieve, or aspire to be their best.
My reflection on this topic came yesterday as I was washing cars. I know, crazy, but washing cars is relaxing to me and it was a gorgeous day here in New Hampshire, so there I was. I was scrubbing one half of the car and thought what if I were working with someone who was on the other side and neither one of us went past the halfway point. How would the job get done, and how would the car look if we fell short of 100% of our side?
This is the way to think of your work. Don’t worry about going above and beyond to get the job done properly. If I go a bit over half and so does the other person we have a clean car and a job well done. If either of us falls short….a not so nice dirt stripe down the middle.
Oh, and my raise at the radio station never came. After about 8 months I got fired…eventually so did the entire staff. The station was sold and went through a format change. That’s radio for you. Sure, I miss it, but not the $4 an hour.
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