My first job out of college was as a Graphic Designer at an advertising agency. When I interviewed for the position they were looking to fill two positions. When I got hired, I learned they filled the two positions they were looking for, but they were so impressed with my persistent follow-up, they created a position for me.
My first year in the real world was one of the more challenging years as an adult. I had just graduated from school and had a false sense of reality. They said some nice things about me so my ego was inflated. I probably spent more time building relationships with my co-workers than I did working. Finally, there was two or three times throughout this first year I really pissed my Creative Director off.
As I was eagerly awaiting my one year review I had this idea that I was going to walk into the meeting, get my 3% raise, talk about how great my design work was, and resume my life.
At my one year review I was presented with three options, in which none of them had to do with a raise. If that wasn’t bad enough, none of them had anything to do with me continuing to work there either. I was no longer wanted. I was getting fired.
I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been. They had reasons to do this. I had made mistakes and I was unprofessional at times. Looking back, if I had been my Creative Director, I would have fired me long before he did. We discussed a number of things that led to this decision, but for me it came down to one thing.
I wasn’t profitable!
I wasn’t profitable in my day-to-day job. I was great at design, but didn’t understand business. I didn’t understand that my employer billed their clients an hourly rate while at the same time they were paying me an hourly rate. In order for the company to reach its goals I needed to complete my work in a certain period of time that allowed them to maintain their profit margin on each project. I didn’t get that.
You have to be profitable!
Bottom-line, the survival of a business depends on one thing: Making Money! If a company isn’t making money, it isn’t going to be around long. If an employee isn’t contributing to the company making money, they won’t be around either.
The best way to be profitable and increase your value and job security is to understand the business you work for. Not just your role, the entire business. Take some time to understand the business from the leaders’ perspective. What are the types of things that keep them up at night? How does your position in the organization impact these issues?
Career advancement, promotions, and raises happen when the people who understand the business recognize the impact you can make. They value and need people who can make an impact. If you don’t understand the business and how it makes money, how in the world are you going to contribute to the bottom-line.
Increase your value and understand profitability!
How profitable will you be by 30?