Wednesday, March 09, 2005
If you were the boss, would you hire you?
The latest from The Ticker blog
I used the time, as well as time on the flight, to read David Bach's "Start Late, Finish Rich" (Broadway, 2005). Among the many achievable directives he provides for achieving wealth, he suggests that individuals start with their current income and ask for ... an increase. He writes "Let's begin by looking at your current income and seeing if we can get you a raise." Can you earn more money doing exactly what you're doing, where you're doing it now? Before one has time to figure out how to best make that request and decide how to save the extra bucks, though, he asks the bigger question. Knowing what you know about yourself at work, "Would you hire you? If you were running a company, would you hire you? And if you would, would you pay you what you're currently being paid?" When he asks that question at his seminars, he writes, he always gets a laugh because people "seem to think the idea of hiring themselves is REALLY FUNNY." Many folks, he argues, wouldn't hire themselves if their own company's success and future employment depended upon it. Kind of harsh.
Beyond asking yourself if you'd hire you, he counsels that one need consider, before asking for a raise, what "your boss thinks of you." Based on his personal experience and what he's heard from others, he created a list of things that keep bosses "up at night, worried on the weekends, and generally drive them crazy."
According to Bach, "bosses often hate their employees" because:
They don't do their job. They don't do what they say they will do. They come to work late. They come to work with personal problems. They wait to be told what to do. They punch the clock. They are content with mediocrity. They complain.
They gossip. They never say thank you. They have bad attitudes. They smoke - and take smoking breaks. They surf the Internet, check personal e-mails, and spend time Instant Messaging their friends. They lie. They steal. They do good work, not great work.
Bach purposely saved the "good work, not great work" issue for last because it's the "single biggest problem that all bosses face." When you talk to truly successful business owners, they will tell you that it's not bad employees who concern them, because those people ultimately will quit or get fired.
He continues, "what really bugs [bosses] are the good employees, the ones who do what it takes to be OK, but never enough to be great. Bosses don't hate these good employees, but they don't love them either."
Bach suggests using the list of what bosses hate as a "checklist of all the things NOT to do at work, you'd become one of those great employees that bosses treasure. And, that would put you in the driver's seat when it comes to asking for a raise."
His final suggestion on being an employee? "Commit to becoming not just a good employee, but a great employee."
Bach's wealth building advice is built on the premise that "To get to the next level, you need to acquire new knowledge and to take new action." For him, it isn't just about capturing the "latte factor" (the small daily purchases that add up to "real" money when saved), it's about new knowledge and new action in all arenas - including how we act as employees.
Bach's question "Would you hire you?" was followed by what I took as a brutal summation of the work force. I don't think his characterization fairly summarizes everyone in the workplace. I do, though, think what one can take from Bach's work is that it often pays to become one of the elite, few "great" employees.