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The best piece of career advice my mentor ever gave me

(EDITORIAL) The best career advice my mentor ever offered has helped me along my path immensely, and will help you to get that raise or promotion, too!

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Thanks goes out to my mentor

I’ve always been an overachiever, it’s because I can’t sit still. As a child, down time panicked me, and I would hide away and read, write, or draw. Not much has changed except for the fact that I have bills or whatever (adulting is hard).

That said, even overachievers can’t always describe to you what they’ve accomplished, especially when it comes time for the dreaded annual review.

“So why do you believe you are deserving of a raise?” they ask, and before I had a mentor, my internal answer was always, “because I like to eat food and I work 60 hours a week for you?”

But my mentor set me on the right path. He told me to journal.

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I can hear you thinking right now, “Lani, what is this hippie bullshit?” But wait, don’t go…

Okay, here’s how it works:

He challenged me to end each week with a list of my top three tangible work accomplishments, be they small or large, and my top challenge to overcome. Then, he asked me to end each month with documentation of the top accomplishment that would merit a potential raise or promotion.

Come annual review time, I had 156 reasons to offer that indicated my worthiness of a raise or promotion (that’s three things every week times 52 weeks, guys), and can point to areas where you’ve made improvements.

Narrowing that list down to the top 12 accomplishments (particularly something I could type up for the boss man) not only gave me solid talking points, but I knew well what my accomplishments were and what challenges I had worked through to become a better employee, a better team player.

It works for underachievers and overachievers alike

My mentor asserted that by journaling, I was committing to these accomplishments and challenges, and he was right. I still remember some of my small accomplishments from a decade ago that I would have forgotten otherwise.

So whether you’re an underachiever or an overachiever, commit to journaling. It feels weird at first, but keeping track of how you are an asset to a company is one of the best ways to present yourself as such when it comes raise or promotion time.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



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