Since we are devoting this week to stopping excuses, today I’d like to find out if excuses are why you can’t get ahead at work. A consensus of comments on my recent debt payoff interview seemed to argue that my situation is not real world and that most people have an “average salary” from a “normal” job and don’t earn enough money to pay off debt. I know there are people who make much more or much less than we do, but I think we’ve all heard the excuses people use about their work and salary. Today, it’s time to stop the excuses and either be happy with what you have or find a way to change it.
I Hate My Job
If you continually complain about hating your job, it’s hard to get ahead. If you think your boss doesn’t know that you hate coming to work, you’re probably not paying attention. I’ve always been able to tell when an employee stops liking their job, and I can’t think of a time when this has happened and performance didn’t decline. You don’t have to love your job, but you do have to realize it provides a source of income. Think about not having any job, and you might like yours a bit more.
I Don’t Make Enough Money
Sadly, many jobs don’t pay well. With the internet, it’s possible to look up any job and get an idea about how much it pays. If you don’t make enough money at your job, why did you take that job?
- Was it because you are in debt and had to take whatever came along?
- Did you lose a good job during the recession that you can’t replace?
- Did you choose a field based on something other than salary?
If you answer yes to question 3 and chose a career that doesn’t pay much, you really shouldn’t complain. Jim went into teaching knowing that he would top out at around $45,000 with a master’s degree in our district. He never complained when he got tired of earning a low salary. He made connections, worked his butt off on projects, and got another degree to move into a different, better paying position. Why aren’t you doing the same?
If you answered yes to one of the first two questions, maybe now is the time to start developing a side hustle or another job. Yes, it takes up free time. Yes, side jobs can be hard work, but if there is absolutely no chance of increasing salary in your current position, you’ll have to do something different to earn more money.
I am not a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger the person, but I love his ideas about work ethic. This is a quote from a speech he gave at a USC graduation in 2009.
“But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work.
None of my rules, by the way, of success, will work unless you do. I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.
Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish. As a matter of fact, Ed Turner used to say always, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”
I’ll Never Get Promoted
I do realize that some organizations make it hard to get promoted. There might be office politics or unethical employees that always seem to stifle the honest worker. However, is this really the case or are you using it as an excuse? I’ve heard many people complain about these type situations while they are the employees who show up five minutes late and leave 10 minutes early while spending the majority of the work day planning next weekend’s barbeque.
I’ve always thought that with all the jobs I’ve ever had, even the crappy ones, I needed to give my best effort. If your boss doesn’t notice, someone else probably will. In my optometry office, we’ve gotten some of our best employees after “stealing” them from other places. They were noticed for their superior attitude and excellent customer service. I don’t think not getting a guaranteed promotion is an excuse to be a slacker at work.
I Can’t Start My Own Business
I know there are tons of people who want to work for themselves. Why do some people cling to a job they hate instead of going out on their own? There are many reasons not to start your own business, and it’s never a good idea to tell your boss to shove it without a plan in place, but anyone can be an entrepreneur if they want.
You’ll have to work very hard at your business, possibly while still working a full time job. You might not make any money. You might fail miserably, but don’t use the excuse that you can’t. You may not really want to when it comes down to it, but that’s much different than can’t.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s also OK to be happy with the status quo. We often compare ourselves to everyone else and think we need to be making a certain salary or socking away so much every month. While I do like to use other people’s achievements as motivation, I don’t feel the need to imitate anyone. Work out your own numbers and decide if you need to move ahead at your job or if you’re fine with what you have.
There is probably an excuse as to why you can’t get ahead at work. There might be multiple ones, but that’s all they are. An excuse isn’t concrete. It can’t hold you back unless you let it.
Are you letting excuses hold you back at work? Who do you think is to blame for why people can’t get ahead at work?