I wasn’t thinkin about how to get promoted on the day I’m about to tell you about. I was sitting in my cubicle not doin my work, plannin my escape. See I was only there cause my clients had dried up and I wasn’t sure what to do. I had never had a real job before. I was 35. I dreamt of living like so many of the marketing and business gurus I listened to via audiobook and podcast. Then my boss snuck up behind me:
I quickly close a few tabs on my browser and put a confusing spreadsheet in front of me, “Hey.”
“Feel like I’ve been avoiding you,” my boss says.
Me: “Oh, not at all. Why? You wanna rap?”
Him: “Yeah, let’s catch up.”
“A bit later.”
Cool, so later that day he comes and gets me and we go to the conference room.
Let me backup a moment…
How to Get Promoted with Sheer Honesty
See, I was hired to do their social media. I hate social media and even during the interview I told them that. I said my background was in digital advertising, and not at all in social media. I told them social media was a waste of fuckin time and possibly the worst thing to happen to humanity.
“So what do you suggest?”
“I suggest building a digital marketing division for this company. I’ve already been running ads on Facebook and Instagram for us, and it’s working.”
Then the owner walks in.
“Whattaya guys talkin about?”
“Oh, just chatting about how to do more with what we’ve got,” my first boss says.
The owner nods his head and sits down at the conference table and looks at me through my soul and squints a bit. Then
“Who are you?”
“Why are you here?”
“Well… I’m here cause you hired me to do your social media and FB ads.”
“No, no, like… Where do you see yourself? Why are you here? Who are you? What do you do?”
“Where do I see myself?”
“In one year, where do you see yourself?”
“Hmm… I’m uh…”
“Do you like what you’re doin, eh?” The owner asks me.
Now, like I said, I had no interest in how to get promoted at work, my only interest was how to leave work. But on that day, I thought to myself… Fuck it. I got nothin to lose. So I said:
“No. I fuckin hate it. I hate this job.” I have his attention. I continue: “Social media is whack. It means nothing. It’s a waste of time, and I hate doin it. But I do it cause you pay me to do it.”
“What else?” The owner asks me.
“I’m here too long. There’s no reason I need to be doin this all day. I get done in one hour but I don’t wanna tell you that cause I don’t want you to give me more work. I don’t wanna be punished for bein effective, you know?”
“I mean, you only pay me ____ grand a year, and I already made my salary in sales in less than two months, so I feel like I’ve earned the right to not do any more work for the amount you’re payin me. And do I like it? No. It sucks.”
“Okay, so what would you rather do?”
“I’d rather run an actual marketing campaign.”
“So why don’t you?”
“I can’t do it by myself, and I can’t do it in a cubicle.”
“So what do you need?”
“A team, an office.”
Then the owner starts runnin ideas by me:
“So, I got this idea. Let me tell you what I’m thinkin. You think I should get rid of the walls? Make an open office area?”
“No. Probably people like their privacy.”
“I might get another showroom in Pennsylvania maybe, you think that’s a good idea?”
So I tell him: “Why not just take that twenty grand a month you’d be spendin on rent for that new showroom or whatever it’d cost and sell more shit online with a digital department. That makes more sense. You build a digital showroom and then you can stop putting up real estate everywhere. It’s way more effective.”
Then he looks at me. “And you could do that?”
I think for a moment. “Yeah, I could.”
“In otha, words, what if you was hirin the people to do the things you hate, like social media.”
“Yeah, I mean, sure. I could do that.”
“Okay, put a plan together and let’s keep talkin bout this.”
And that was that for that day.
Don’t Stop, FINISH! How to Get Promoted at Work ASAP
So, the next day I came in and sketched out a funnel. I go to the owner’s office and hand it to him.
“This will work, it makes sense.” He puts his reading glasses on and studies it. To him it’s a bunch of bubbles linked together with lines. “I can explain it if you want.”
“Yeah, let’s get Bobby and go to the conference room.” So we head back to the conference room we were in yesterday and I sit down at the side of the table. “No, you sit there,” the owner says, and he motions me to take the head of the table.
So I stand up at the head of the table and walk em both through how this funnel will work and what the bubbles and flow charts all mean. And none of this is even my idea. I got the idea for this funnel from this online course I signed up for. I paid 6K for that course. Now I’m re-teaching it to my boss.
At the end of the presentation both my bosses love it.
“Okay, fuck it. Let’s do this,” the owner says.
“Yeah?” I ask.
“Why not?” He says as he flings himself back in his chair and crosses his arms like he’s ready to take a chance.
“I would love to do this, but where the hell am I gonna do all this? I need space and a team. I gotta be able to be loud and put shit up on the walls,” I say.
The owner looks around the room. “What about in here?”
“The conference room?” I ask.
“Yeah, make it your office, fuck it, can’t use it anyway.” (It’s the middle of COVID)
“Umm… I guess I could do it here.”
“Done,” he says.
And this is the most important time of your work like if you want to know how to get promoted at work. If you want to know how to get promoted, you have to clearly address what the promotion is that you want. And it’s not just resources, it’s money. So I bring up the money…
“Well, maybe we should talk about money, cause I ain’t doin this for what you’re payin me now.”
“Whattaya got in mind?” The owner says. By the way my other boss is carefully listening to my pitch.
So I say, “Look, I don’t wanna insult you with a high ask, I mean, I’ve only been here four months. I don’t wanna insult you and make myself look like an ass by asking for too much money, but it’s a lot.”
“Well look,” he says, “I don’t have a number in mind.”
So I say, “I’ll tell you this: you wouldn’t find anyone that knows how to do this for less than _____K.”
“Let’s start you at (less than I asked for) and see how it goes,” he says.
Negotiate Your Salary Like It’s Your Last Paycheck
This is the most important part of how to get promoted. You have to stick to your guns cause this number will follow you for the next few years of your life, in fact, it’ll follow you for more than that; your duration at the company. Cause if you start getting raises little by little, it’ll all be based on this one number you’re about to settle on, so make sure you don’t cave into a number you’re not satisfied with. I knew what he offered was too little. So I said:
“Nah. That’s too little. I’d rather do social media with no responsibilities for ___K than all this for ____K. I’ll start at ##, and that’s as low as I’ll go, and I’m happy to let you fire me if I’m not doin a good job.”
My two bosses look at each other.
“Fuck it. Done. Look online, pick out all the supplies you need, get yourself a computah, papah and the stuff you need. Shit, you got a biggah office than me now!” He says with a chuckle. I really like this guy, I think to myself.
But yeah, we all laugh slightly uncomfortably cause while I’m excited about this new project, I don’t want the world to hate me cause I have a bigger office than everyone else.
Anyway, that’s how to get promoted at work: Tell your boss what you’d actually love to be doing and how you plan to do it and WHY the company will benefit from it. REMEMBER: The best time to renegotiate your salary is on DAY ONE so make sure you ask for what you want…
If you’re too scared to ask for what you want, you certainly won’t get it.
Now here’s a story about a really shitty client that was also pretty fuckin cool…