The Corporate Hack

The unofficial guide to modern career management

Make More Money by Moving

It’s not exactly news that the people making the most money live in cities. Metropolitan areas offer access to labor, infrastructure, and capital. In turn, corporations base their major offices and highest paying roles in those areas.

Unfortunately for corporations, once they plant roots in a city it’s extremely difficult and costly to move. For an individual however, the cost to move is de minimis, especially if you negotiate a relocation package (which you absolutely should; a post for another day). Most people really undervalue the leverage this creates in favor of the individual. Failing to understand this leverage can easily cost you a million dollars over the course of your career.

How to Get Your First Promotion

I offered some advice on how to manage the overall arc of your career in an earlier post. Today, I’ll focus on the the halcyon period of entry level work. Specifically, how to get promoted out of it.

This should unquestionably be the easiest promotion of your career and you should aim to get it fast. If you linger too long in low level work your professional brand takes on the untenable scent of “failure to launch” and practically speaking almost all entry level work is underpaid, so getting up and out quickly is important in your quest to make real money and start building your net worth.

The Mental Framework of Success

What attribute correlates most strongly with career success?

People often point to externals – an ivy league education or a well connected family member. Occasionally, they’ll cite internal aspects – an abundance of talent, chart-topping intelligence or an immutable work ethic. The more nihilistic might chalk it all up to luck – just being in the right place at the right time.

Without question, all of those factors will help, but none of those will get you anywhere without the right frame of mind.

The Smart Path to Wealth

Over the years I’ve become incredibly focused on achieving financial independence (FI). Simply put, FI is the point at which one amasses a personal net worth large enough to support your lifestyle through investment income. Essentially, it’s the point you can retire. There are a ton of great communities, blogs and websites out there dedicated to the topic. I’ve found however, they mostly focus on the personal finance aspects of the pursuit: budgeting, investing and generating incremental income through side hustles. Those are all important tools in the wealth building toolbox, but they don’t offer much in the way of optimizing the biggest piece of almost everyone’s finances – salaries. By huge margins the biggest piece of nearly everybody’s financial puzzle is labor-based income.

Income Over Investment

Lets look at two young professionals making a yearly salary of $50,000. Professional A, lets call him Saving Sid, focuses his efforts on cost-cutting and intelligent investing. Sid is able to cut $10K/year from his spending and invests the money wisely over the long term, earning on average 8% a year. He never really outpaces inflation with his yearly cost of living raise but, thanks to the magic of compounding interest, after 30 years Sid admirably added $1.2MM to his retirement portfolio with that $10K/year investment. Nice job Sid.

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