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Your career is very important!

To achieve financial freedom for yourself, your career is very important and the pay check you draw (and save from it) will help determine in a great part whether you can break out of the rat race.

Many of you may be familiar with Robert Kiyosaki's cashflow's quadrant below.


The idea of the financial freedom game is to move from the left quadrant to the right
But in true honesty, how many of us can actually become a business owner or an investor successfully without first being good at our career? It is not easy to be an entrepreneur and you will have to find out for yourself whether you are able to take this path. :) If you know that you want to be one, the earlier you start, the better it is if you want to be an entrepreneur or the opportunity cost will get steeper and steeper. 

I have chosen and taken a path from an employee (E) and an investor (I) in my pursuit. I am thinking of adding (B) eventually but this has to be carefully planned out because i need capital to be a B. If i miss a step, i may end up being a "J". Jobless. hahaha.

Anyway, back to the topic today. In case you have not visited this interesting website, it is salary.sg. From here, you can benchmark your current salary to your job. How i wish there are someone to guide me when i was much younger but in any case, you will need to know for yourself what motivates you in your life. (The fact is if you are reading this blog, i will know what motivates you).

Your career is very important and from the experience it gives you and the salary it pays, it will help determine how fast you can move from the E quadrant into the I quadrant.

I have mentioned previously i started out as a lowly paid auditor but the annual increment was good. Within 3-4 years, the pay doubled. Actually i was doing pretty well in audit. I have the so called "major clients" which you will only be assigned if you are good and the partners trust you to 'service the clients' well. But the working hours are very long and while I am not sure if i can last till partnership, i am prepared mentally to slog it out to become a partner. 

Then an interesting call came. My client in the fund management industry (i use this sector very widely) poached me to join her firm. Actually that client was not the first to approach me. Another client of mine tried to ask me over and also offered to give me a good increment, but i wasn't interested in the advertising industry. I know from day one, i want to move into the fund management industry. I know what i want very early on in life as my passion is in investments.

Lesson learnt - You will need to excel in what you do and the opportunities will come.

When you start out, excel in whatever roles you are given. Have a positive mindset and mentality. The opportunities will come. It is very interesting to note that if you have in a client facing job, be professional and maintain good relationships. The referrals to future jobs or opportunities will come from there.

In my second role, i stayed on for 7 years. During this period, my boss left and i replaced her. This is the place where i built my track record as i rose through the titles and job scope. It is important to build a track record. Without a track record, the next client wouldn't dare to employ you. The period of 7 years also indicate that i am no job hopper and is a stable and mature employee.

Lesson learnt - Build a track record in your profession and don't job hop unnecessarily.

It is not too good to stay in a job for too long so that you wont get stagnant but at the same time it is a bad idea to job hop too frequently and reflects very badly. You will have to build a track record in your career and i emphasize again that the first 2 jobs you have is critical as it will determine your future career path. As such, choose wisely whenever you are presented with a job opportunity if you are graduating (seems like i am getting a lot of young facebook friends on my page).

My second role while paying a decent salary, wasn't a excellent paying one. However, it allows me to create a track record as it gave me very good experiences and wider job scopes. By the end of 6 years, i knew that i am "underpaid" relative to similar positions in the market. I had interviews with several firms but none of the interviews came through but the joke was that even though my experiences fits what they are looking for, they don't dare to hire me because i wasn't paid well enough at my current place. Isn't that ironic.

Interestingly, just when i decide to leave and start my own fund management firm, an offer came through a headhunter. It was for a front/middle office role in a foreign bank and it was then i realize foreign banks do pay very good basic salary and bonus. I even had a small sign-on bonus and that was during the Global Financial crisis. On hindsight, the decision to join the bank was a good one as it would have been difficult for me to raise funds for my small fund. It also widened my experience and network.

Lesson learnt - If you want to be an employee, work for a very profitable company. They will pay you generous bonuses during good times.

I can imagine that profitable foreign banks and oil companies will pay excellent bonuses during the good times. That is why the employees hardly leave the good firms and can stay on for many years. So if you want to get a well paying job with decent bonuses, it is important to join a company that is very profitable. They will be more generous in attracting and keeping talents and they have the means to do so.

As fate would be, in 2010, i receive a call from a headhunter for a firm I couldn't say no to. So here you go. I am in my fourth job since graduation and each time i moved at my own terms. However, i still call it a job because it is in the left "E" quadrant. The difference is that i have made use of my opportunities to move into the "I" quadrant in the last 8 years. My plan is to move to the B quadrant but it is truly not easy. I may still start my own fund management firm one day ;-)

Anyway, the emphasis of my story today is that your career is very important. I summarize it below for those who are at the crossroads or at different timelines. 

Before graduation - A good degree is critical in opening doors but it will depend on your capability thereafter. However, if you don't have a good degree, then you may have to take a longer path.

Upon graduation - it is important to choose a firm that will give you the experiences and the career progression. Your first 2 jobs will determine your future career path. Build your network but never burn your bridges.

When you are in your first or second job - Focus on creating a track record in your career. It will be a defining moment if you can demonstrate your career path within the same firm.

If you are only after $, then it is important to choose a profitable company.  If you are after $ and career, it is important to choose a profitable firm that offers good career prospects :-P (Isn't this obvious).

Update your CV and contact the headhunters once in a while. If you want a salary jump, you may need the help of headhunters and let them have your updated CVs. However, never lie about your credentials, current salary and experiences. Integrity is critical as what you write in your CVs are easily verifiable. A person with no integrity will never go far.

Take good care of your career and plan it well as it will determine how you achieve your financial freedom.

That's it for the day. Have a good weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Based on how you had described your career path, you seemed like someone I know haha.

    ReplyDelete