How To Excel At Your Primary Job

Is a penny saved really a penny earned? Are you having déjà vu? Don’t worry – I’m not repeating myself. In my first article at Prairie Ecothrifter, I wanted to introduce two things: mental accounting and earning income. Mental accounting being the tendency people have to view money differently depending on where it comes from; and the idea of earning money is fun.

My plan was initially to focus on earning income in addition to what you earn at your primary job, “a side hustle” if you will. The majority of us slave away each day for 8-12 hours performing task after task we’re not extremely passionate about. Then we come home and do something enjoyable – we find our passion. For most of us, it’s either reading or writing about personal finance and/or self-improvement. For others, maybe it’s Facebook-stalking or watching Youtube videos (unfortunately neither of which provide income). The idea of creating passive income and finding secondary income is so much fun to think about. Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep?

Before we dive in head first, let’s take a step back. As much fun as it is to think about secondary income, let’s not forget: it’s secondary. It only consumes a few hours each night. The last thing I want someone to do is waste these 8-12 hours/day going through the motions waiting for the evening escape to arrive.

Before you develop a secondary income, you must first maximize your primary income.

To assist with this I’m going to present some not-so-normal business advice: realistic business advice that I’ve found very helpful. It’s not the typical “work smarter, not harder” or “think outside the box.” Using this advice has gotten me increased responsibilities and (more importantly) raises in salary. Plus it will save you the worry of ever dealing with an unfair dismissal which no one ever wants to have to deal with.

Fake It Til You Make It

I said I was going to avoid the clichés and then I hit you with “Fake it til you make it?” Might be the oldest one in the book but I love it. I was taking a course the other day that was taught by a former financial advisor. A few months after graduating college, he took a position as a financial advisor. Two problems here: 1. Who is going to take financial advice from a 22 year old? 2. He was 100% commissioned. He literally couldn’t afford to not know what he was doing. Would he have any clients if they found out he wasn’t in fact a financial expert? Would you trust your retirement with someone that worked at Foot Locker just six months ago? Probably not…

Excuses Are Like Butts

Everyone has them, and they all stink. I would guess that 90% of excuses are actually true. Unfortunately 100% are unacceptable.

Don’t Ever Say “I Was Busy”

Everyone is busy. If something is important enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Instead be honest and say “it wasn’t a priority.” This is also useful advice outside the business world.

Don’t Confuse Busy With Effectiveness

A lot of people pride themselves on not taking a lunch break because “I’ve been working on so many things,” but have you really accomplished anything?

Read Everything

Most companies provide you with plentiful resources. Try using them. Nothing irks me more than having someone ask me what an email said. You have eyes and (possibly) a brain for a reason.

Don’t Assume Your Boss Knows More Than You

Everyone is human. If you “read everything” then you’ll quickly figure out that a lot of those above you don’t. Be careful because this advice could get you into a lot of trouble. Just keep in mind, the person above you could be faking it like you – but obviously they’re better at it than you.

Don’t Complain About Uncontrollable Things

This is actually the serenity prayer in disguise.

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Courage to change the things I can.

And wisdom to know the difference.

I see too many people get irritated over their computer being too slow.

It’s Me and We; Not Me vs Them

If you don’t like your company, then quit. While you’re there – you really have to buy into the idea that you are the company.

Tell Your Boss Your Dreams

I had a conversation with my boss this past year where we sat down and I told her exactly where I envisioned myself going. Since then, she has done her best to help me get there.

What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

This post was written by A. Blinkin.


How To Excel At Your Primary Job — 13 Comments

  1. The best business advice I received was not to expect my employer or my boss to find out the best way to do my job. Hunt for methods that’ll help the company improve overall. Your boss and employer with thank you when you’re showing everyone that you cared enough to find ways to help the place rock-n-roll.

    • The buzz word around this the last few years has been “best practices.” Jeebers. We love sharing our best practices.

      But you’re right. We can’t assume our boss knows our job better than we do.

    • Why thank you 🙂 I actually had to catch myself because I was guilty of it. I was spending so much time focusing on side activities that would generate $20 and forgetting about the job that pays for everything else!

  2. I think setting expectations (and reviewing them regularly) is the key to a happy and productive work life. You need to make sure you and your boss are on the same page for what you put in and what you put out!

    Incidentally, a penny saved is BETTER than a penny earned because you don’t pay taxes on it!

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