Most workers spend their life trying to climb the corporate ladder. Since I worked as an employee for only six months, I am not an expert, but I think it’s quite obvious most people are bad at it. Working for one year to get a 2% raise? Seems pretty fishy if you ask me. There is so much you can do in one year to grow as an individual - I can safely assume you can deliver at the very least 10% more in value if you set your mind on it.
People aren’t lazy, it’s not the issue. We are just bad at selling our expertise to gain leverage. Good news: it can be learned.
How do we demonstrate this expertise then? You can get a college degree or a certification, that’s the most mainstream approach. You can also hope someone will give you a chance at a prestigious company and leverage your newly acquired title to navigate the corporate world. However, the simplest and most actionable thing you can do today is to create something on your own.
I’m not telling you to become an entrepreneur, I’m merely suggesting you should demonstrate your skills with concrete pieces of evidence. You don’t get a promotion, a raise, or a better position at another company by writing a motivational letter. You want something that is tangible, that can be quantified.
You can, for example, build a side-project: a small product, a community, or an event.
Even simpler: create content. It literally takes $0 to publish content on a regular basis. On the Internet, content is king: it attracts people, and thus opportunities. Developing an audience is incredible leverage to increase your quality of life: an expert is someone people listen to, it increases your perceived value to a potential employer.
One piece of advice I’d give my younger self: build a personal website, write a blog, actively and publicly collaborate with others on projects you are passionate about… the kind of leverage you can accumulate in a sustainable fashion is the one which actually compounds.