Hi There!

I hope you are enjoying your Thursday. Welcome Back To Another Episode of Ask Ash, where I ask WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbashfrooshan questions on various topics, ranging from what is going on in the news, to career advice for students and entrepreneurs.

Today, I wanted to talk about promotions and raises in the workplace. At the end of the day, besides family, money is the most important thing that we can have. When you get promoted, you will have more responsibilities, and likely a higher salary. I wanted to get Ash’s views on what he thinks the best to get promoted is, and how to get a raise. 

1) What’s the best way to get promoted?

When you’re hired for a given job, there are responsibilities and tasks. That’s the first layer really, it boils down to accountability of responsibilities and tasks: are you doing what you’re expected to do?

Now if you’re doing the bare minimum, depending on the demand and supply dynamics of your industry and the company’s growth opportunities, that may not necessarily lead to a promotion. 

That takes me to the next layer, which is accountability of results. Ultimately in life – sports and definitely business – effort is required and valued but only results are rewarded. Reward comes through promotions and salary increases.

So if you have not been promoted after a number of years, it may be that you are simply a task executioner and not actually involved in the critical thinking and management of people which usually come with promotions. 

I’ve worked in service as a waiter, busboy and bartenders. I’ve also worked in customer service at a bank. I pride myself on such jobs so the following is not meant in a disparaging sense at all but more as a reality check: at McDonald’s for example, there’s a Fundamental difference between a cashier (who takes your order and is the face of the brand to consumers) who may also be tasked to serve fries, vs a manager who Coordinates scheduling or does inventory ordering. To say “but now I’m also serving fries” misses the point that it’s still a simple task that makes sense for the cashier to do when the kitchen crew is hustling to get burgers out.

Yes there’s some critical thinking that goes into being a cashier, but it’s clearly not the same as the manager who must troubleshoot a puzzle wrt personnel and inventory. That is a basic example but it’s perfectly illustrated as of the mistakes some younger employees make when they start their career in wondering why their career seems to have plateaued. You’re doing your original job, but there’s someone else eager to take that away from you… what are you doing to protect your job and ideally, take on a new role at the company?

2) … get a raise?

So that’s actually a perfect segue: in general, if you are still doing the same job fundamentally years after starting you may be earning more as a reflection of inflation (which frankly historically has been one or 2% per year). At WatchMojo, our annual wage increases are much higher as we’re in a high-growth industry. In most years wage increases are greater proportionally (%-wise) than revenue increases, but as we have a distributed model, that works for us.

Do you really want to make more than that? It boils down to taking on more and delivering the results.

I also think of that scene in Mad Men when Jon Hamm’s character Don Draper basically tells Peggy “that’s what the money’s for“ – she was complaining about his lack of overt explicit appreciation but money is also basically code for “are you helping your boss?”

You may be thinking you’re helping your boss but if your boss is managing you, pushing you to do the basics, well they don’t necessarily think you deserve the reward that you feel you deserve personally. There’s a brutally honest Steve Jobs reference where employees ask him why Apple paid less than other Silicon Valley start up businesses and he replied ask your managers why they feel you should be getting paid what you’re getting paid. May sound brutally harsh but it’s true to the best managers and entrepreneurs and executives and leaders, money & title are all just a means to an end.

I tell my executives “pay your team what you want, what you feel they should earn, use money as a motivator and as a reward mechanism for them to help you, that way 1+1 = 3.”

And this is not just common sense for the greater good, it may be altruistic but it’s also self-serving: no employer or manager wants to replace good employees, but what constitutes “good” is in the eye of the beholder. This is not limited to employees but all individuals: I may think I’m a great partner but if people don’t think of a great partner then you could control conclusions… 

Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash