Now that I’ve moved out of the corporate world and am running my own business, I’ve experienced a huge mindset shift. Quite simply, I now look at my life decisions – not just business – in a Return On Investment (ROI) frame.
Growing up, my schooling and activities were paid for by my parents. When I got to college, they helped me out with the first year and a half, and I paid for the rest.
But I wasn’t thinking of this as an investment of my money that would give me great returns – I wasn’t that sophisticated. To be honest, I went through college because it was expected, because I was good at it, and I looked forward to the kind of work that would give me after I graduated.
When I moved into the corporate world, any work-related expenses were generally paid by my employer. If my boss said we could afford it, great, and if not, I’d get annoyed but would comply with the constraints.
This is a dangerous mindset. You’re giving up responsibility for key decisions to other people.
When it came to personal expenses, I adopted a frugal savings philosophy taught to me by my parents, and combined with a great-paying job, we’ve done very well. I was never challenged very deeply.
Then I lost my job.
It was hard to know how to make decisions in this environment. With no income, everything was more than I could afford. So I had to switch to a different way of thinking about it: What would give me the greatest return on what I spent?
Here’s an example: I recently signed up to have a booth at a local business expo. $400. I need to have a big sign that will make a professional impression, $325. Other bits of necessary marketing paraphernalia, another $100 or so. All things considered, this is actually quite cheap – it would have been trivial for me to spend $3000 on this.
But here’s the return:
Of course, I have to make sure I’m not kidding myself about getting a client. But I’ve done my homework and I’d say the probability is well over 50%.
In the past, what would have held me back from this?
Here’s the challenge I’ll give to you, then: When you’re working on your next job change or career transition, what’s it worth to YOU? Not to your current employer. Not to your future employer. To you.
If you’re going to get value – in having a better life, achieving your goals, increasing your possibilities – then go ahead and spend the money and time. Don’t look for permission or help from your boss. OK, go ahead and ask for some assistance, that might help. But don’t let that hold you up.
|Carl Dierschow is a Certified Small Fish Business Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with small business owners who need to create breakthroughs in achieving their business goals. Find out more at www.Dierschow.com and www.SmallFish.us.
If you are interested in individual career coaching, group coaching, or other resources which might help you with difficult choices, please contact Carl at email@example.com.
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