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I vividly remember my first performance appraisal, the conversation went like this...

Boss - Jason, I have some great news for you. You are receiving a 3.75% ($1,600) raise. (My boss is smiling while sharing this information)
Me – Gas just went up $1.45 per gallon in the last 30 days (this was 2008) and I paid more for my bulldog than the amount of my raise, this will not even keep me up with inflation.  If you want to retain talent, you must pay talent.
Boss – (face was shocked at what I had just said) Well, you really received over a 7% increase this year because I see that you received a 3.33% salary adjustment four months ago.
Me – Yes, but that does not count because it was a salary adjustment to increase my salary to the company’s new minimum starting salary for my position.
Boss – Yea, I hear you. (Nodding sympathetically)

After that discusssion the company put me on their "fast track" and listed me as a high potential employee. Over the next few years I placed myself on my own "fast track" by earning my MBA and an industry certification.

 

1,583 days + 4 total raises later my salary had only increased BY $12K

 

At this point I was in my late 20's and could not see the light at the end of the professional tunnel. I was stressed and worried all the time about my mortgage payment, my car payment, my student loan payments, monthly utility bills, unexpected expenses, and saving for the future. By the time I paid all of my bills there was little money left to spend on entertainment and experiences. #adultingisnofun

This sucked! I thought I was doing everything correctly and that I was on the “fast track,” but I knew something was wrong when I was having anxiety about ordering an extra drink or appetizer when I was out with friends and loved ones.

 

I remember thinking to myself, "this is not how it is supposed to be, I MUST BE DOING SOMETHING WRONG"

 

In late 2011, a former coworker recruited me to join a firm that he was now working for.  Fast-forward 14 months and it was the same frustrating story, you are one of our best employees, here is a 2.7% raise. We would also like you to obtain a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. I remember having the following conversation with my leadership team:

Me – Sure, no problem. Will I receive a salary adjustment upon completion?
Practice Leader – No, but we will pay for all training material and the cost of the test.
Me – I obtain a certification that increases my billable rate by 25%, but my salary does not increase.
Practice Leader – Correct.

MY billable RATE INCREASED by 25%, but my salary DID NOT CHANGE

I obtained the certification, my employer did increase my billable rate to the client, and my salary did not increase.  At this point I felt under appreciated, I knew I was underpaid, and I was certain that I was underemployed, but I still did not know how to earn my worth.

I found the solution by reading and learning as much about the best practices for job hunting and interviewing as I could find on the internet and by reading a lot of books. I was shocked at some of the basic things that I was doing incorrectly during salary negotiations in both my current role as well as in interviews that had cost me thousands of dollars.  I also found that my current compensation did not match my experience level and that I truly was not earning my worth. I remember one night being so embarrassed when I learned one tactic that recruiters and employers use regarding compensation that I had been responding incorrectly to for years! 

I FORFEITED MANY ANXIETY FREE NIGHTS BY NOT LEARNING what I KNOW NOW SOONER

By fall 2013 I became devoted to learning and equipping myself with the secret formula for job hunting, interviewing, and negotiating so that I could get my family and myself on the real fast track to our dream life.  By the end of 2013, it was like I had the magic key that unlocked any professional door I wanted to enter. It was a Merry Christmas indeed! I was on cloud nine and didn't think it could get any better and then it happened, in just 10 weeks I doubled my salary. You heard that correctly, I doubled my salary.  

 

Companies I'VE worked WITH since learning HOW to fast track my career

 
 

A 5% raise is good, a 10% raise is great, but a 25%+ raise is life changing 

 

This changed everything for my family and alleviated my stress and anxiety on all fronts. The quality of my family's life truly increased and not only because of the extra money, but because of the peace and freedom that it brought to us.  I remember being able to quit my part-time job and gaining the much needed free time in my week to be able to spend more time with family and loved ones. I remember that summer renting a house on the beach instead of a few blocks from the beach. I remember how it felt to pay off my student loans. I remember how great it felt the first time I ordered off a menu that didn't list the prices and didn't have to worry about whether or not I could afford the amazing meal my family and I were about to enjoy. 

REMEMBER THE "WHICH IS TRUE QUESTION" FROM ABOVE?

The answer is that all three facts are true.

  • I relocated to a new city and within ten days of posting my resume online I had three job offers exceeding $100K.  
  • I resigned from a role, traveled for 90 days and returned to an offer with a 15% salary bump from the same company.
  • I have had three different instances in my career where I have secured lucrative job offers via a phone call.

UP UNTIL NOW I've kept all these strategies to myself. but now, I want to share them with you: