Can you handle the truth?

So in the vein of Jack Nicholson’s famous rant, “…You can’t handle the truth!” I share the following:

“The cost of failure, successful people know from experience, is very modest compared to the cost of inaction. Failure means you are smarter the next time. Inaction means there is no next time. There is only a lifetime of unhappiness – first of worry and then of regret.” – Michael Masterson
Don’t make a life of regret. Take action.

I recently had an Aunt chide me for not having a “real job.” I suppose she meant working for someone else, but the reality is, I have 3 employees who depend on me not having a “real job.” For what it’s worth, my family can’t understand that I am actually really enjoying self employment – one of the perils of an academic and professional (i.e. lawyers and doctors) family.

So if you are considering a blast into your own entrepreneurial adventure, I whole-heartedly support you. Do make the proper preparations, but once you have, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Get to it!

Want to read more of Masterson’s work? Try his ezine Early to Rise or one of his books on Amazon.

Due Diligence for approaching Boss for Raise

Step 1: Consider your case.

What have you really done this past year? Did you drive more profit to the bottom line in a meaningful way? Did you suss-out a production inefficiency that has saved your company thousands/millions of dollars? Did you introduce your Boss or Boss’s boss to a premier customer with whom your company now does business? These are the kinds of things to consider. What have you REALLY done that goes beyond showing up for work sober. You DID show up for work sober, right?

Step 2: Begin to Prepare your case.

This is a finer comb activity. This is where years of experience playing chess may net you a nice bag-o-coin, but fret not, you navigate situations like this all the time. To wit, you navigate a freeway all the time (probably). This is just like that. On the freeway you have to avoid the crazy, angry drivers (my father) who cut you off/curse/slow/speed-up at whim, the half blind drivers (my grandfather, who is now no longer driving thankfully) who don’t mean to cause trouble, but can’t really comprehend (due to physical and visual limitations, not competence issues) moving at the speed of the rest of the traffic and aren’t really willing to try, and last but not least, the incompetent drivers – I don’t know what their motivations are, but avoid them. All this, plus you must move your body as quickly as possible to your destination safely. In some cases you dodge, others you may have to weave, but in all cases, you must keep going forward. Right?

Okay, so the destination is your raise/bonus. It is your responsibility to get everyone (all the drivers) to your destination. Which driver is your boss like? Who is in front of him? If your boss is an angry driver and his boss is a grandpa driver then you have a hot head stuck behind a slow poke. Yes? If you give the hot head room to maneuver around the slow poke, that will dissipate some of the angry driver’s energy and he’ll be kinder to you, the helpful driver.

This would be akin to you introducing your boss to a key customer that will give your boss a chance at a big promotion himself. Make sense? Since you’ve played the helpful driver, you can show your boss how you helped him meet “key customer” and that has opened up “door x” to “promotion y” for him. Do this subtly to avoid being tacky.

What if your boss is grandpa? Show him how you helped him stay safe by shielding him from the angry drivers. This would be along the lines of you taking on an extra assignment that his boss was throwing down the line of command; you working on and completing that job quickly, without need for supervision or direction from your boss so your boss’s boss is happy and your boss isn’t burdened with extra duties.

In essence, how have you worked WITH your boss (even if you think he’s a stinking rat fink) to make his/her life easier? Demonstrate that in your request for the raise. Do not expect your boss to remember every detail – to him, to her it was probably of very little consequence. Be succinct. Be clear. Tell the relevant details, get the memories going, make him feel good about how useful, helpful, productive you are and THEN ask for the raise.

Position yourself.

Step 3: Have a non-company mentor review your request.

Always put your request in writing so you can fully frame what you want to say and how you will say it, answer questions, respond to push-back. You may deliver orally, but be prepared in writing. Your boss may actually ask you to submit a paper request – sometimes as a stalling technique, sometimes for official documentation, sometimes just so she doesn’t forget you’ve made the request (me!). This request can be reviewed by your mentor for tactical opportunities, logic and relevance. If you have chosen a mentor in the same industry retired or with another company, she may know things about your company that can help you with your raise request (your Co. is about to win a big contract, your Co. President just lost 1/2 of this year’s earnings on a trip to Vegas, etc.). Do ask her to review your request.

Step 4: Practice, practice, practice.

Business is about presentation. We are constantly marketing ourselves, our product, our service, etc. just to keep the doors open. Embrace it. The better you do with fundamental activities, the higher you will rise. Practice how you will talk to your boss, your responses to questions, your tone of voice. Do it. Seriously. Make it natural. Confidence is earned through mastery of fundamentals – you cannot fake confidence.

If your boss sees you making a very natural request for a raise, he’s more inclined to give it to you.

Step 5: Go for it!

Ask your boss for a meeting time and then make your pitch. Be prepared. Good luck!

How to Build Wealth – Automate your Plan

Wealth Building Tip #3 is all about the mechanics. You have a plan. Automate it!

You may not love spreadsheets like I do . . . that’s cool, here’s how some of my clients set up their accounts and how they manage them with minimal effort. Building wealth happens best when it can function on autopilot.

So the sets of accounts are out there: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Step 4 is a bonus. You can rip through this entire process in a weekend if you must. Given the impending doom of Credit Card bills in January, now might be the best time to take a look.

Thinking about what to give your parents for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus? How about giving them the gift of a wealthy you! They’d rather see you able to thrive on your own than buried in debt buying Dad an Ipod nano and cordless screwdriver set.

Day 2 of How to Stash Your Cash

So now that you know what you want and how to divide the rest so you can get what you want, you need a place to store it, yes?

Enter: Stash your Cash. Part 2 is live. GET TO IT!
Start at the very beginning. Go here if you are just joining us at Miss Mentor and want the full Monty of personal finance.

Start at the beginning of Stash your Cash – the kinds of bank and investing accounts you need . . . even when you don’t think you have money to put in them if you missed yesterday and can’t be bothered to scroll down.

Why is it important to know how to build wealth, um, seriously, do you need to ask that?

Day 2 of Personal Budget is live

You need a personal budget. Whether you are cube-bound and looking to make a break for it or trying to create wealth, you need to sit down with your papers at least once.

I know, I know, this is about as *Hot* as an Igloo, but we’ve made it super easy for you to do. Yesterday was part one of the terms you need to know, today, part two.

Tomorrow we will share the wide-view of where you want to go. In the meantime, get your personal budget

Cubicle Etiquette – Annoyingly loud

So the question FREQUENTLY comes up, “Is my cubicle mate trying to drive me crazy, or is it just me?”

Okay, so actually most people ask that more like this: “My cubicle neighbor is such an (insert explitive here). He cranks his music up and I can’t concetrate. Should I contact Human Resources?”

WHOA! NO, do not start by contacting HR. First that makes you look like you can’t handle your own business. Second, your fellow cube dweller is 90% of the time simply oblivious. By assuming the worst, you are mentally gearing up for battle. Fine, play world of warcraft at home, but keep your latent hostilities OUT of the office my friend.

I’m not going into the biology of why we tend to assume the worst – survival instincts kicking in, etc. – but suffice to say, you are not being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, so put down that spear. You need to get a good visual to aid you in your cubicle etiquette lessons.