Does this sound familiar? Many people, even those who earn a decent salary, look at their annual earnings and wonder how they will ever get ahead. Sure, you might have some money socked away in a retirement plan, and even a healthy emergency fund, but you have yet to find the way to achieve real wealth with your current paycheck.
While the path to true financial freedom rests primarily on eliminating debt and making smart investments, earning more money certainly helps with that effort. So how do you earn more money, beyond the standard cost of living increase (if you’re lucky)? If a job or career change isn’t in the cards, making some changes to your mindset and behavior in the office is one way to earn a bigger paycheck. When you do these things, your boss is bound to take notice — and give you more responsibilities, a big promotion, and even bigger salary boost that come with them.
Show Up on Time
Your workday starts at 9 a.m. — so why do you roll in to the office closer to 9:30? Do you regularly take “extended” lunches and leave early? How about meeting deadlines — do you meet them, or are you consistently coming in just under the wire, or even a few days late?
Even if your boss is never at his or her desk before 10 a.m. and regularly takes lunches that last closer to the dinner hour, that doesn’t mean that the same rules apply to you. Your co-workers and clients are counting on you to be there when you say you will be, and to complete your work on time.
Ideally, you should be at your desk a few minutes before your day starts, take the breaks you’re allowed, and leave on time each day. When you do so, you show that you’re not only committed to your work, but that you can be trusted with greater responsibility — better paying responsibility.
Sometimes, it can feel like your workday is spent putting out one fire after another. You barely have enough time to handle the tasks that are on your plate, never mind work ahead or anticipate what’s to come. However, if you want to impress your boss and move up the ladder, you need to develop the ability to look beyond the immediate priorities — and the end of your own nose — and anticipate what others will need. That could mean staying on top of news and rumors without your industry and developing reports to share with your team, or simply taking the initiative to provide coverage when a co-worker is ill or a client needs something quickly.
Bottom line? Know your company, your department, and your role inside and out, and you’ll be able to step up when necessary and impress your boss.
Have a Positive Attitude
Managers note that one of the most impressive attributes in any employee is a positive attitude. When you come to work eager to be successful, no matter what it takes, you become a valuable member of the team. Not every task will be your favorite, and there may be times when you feel as if there’s nothing you like about your job, but maintaining an upbeat and professional demeanor will impress your boss and spur him or her to give you greater responsibility.
Showing up on time is just one way to show integrity in the workplace; you know your responsibility and take it seriously. However, employees that behave ethically and honestly at all times are promoted more often than those who waste time and resources, spread gossip, and generally create a negative and untrusting atmosphere.
When you walk in to a meeting, do you have all of your important information ready and available? Or do you look like a deer in headlights when your boss asks you for a status update or to explain a key question? Part of being a star employee is always being prepared. Before meetings, spend some time pulling together notes — anticipating potential questions and concerns — so you can answer confidently. When you’re prepared, you show that you’re on top of things, and you’re boss can trust you with more responsibility — better paying responsibility.
Landing a promotion and a bigger paycheck can put you on track to more wealth, but you have to be willing to work for it. On the days when keeping a positive attitude seems difficult, just remember that every day you show up on time and show your boss what you can do, you’re one step closer to reaching your financial goals.