Career Development

The Early Part of Your Career is a Time To Learn, Not Make Money

Ooo does that ruffle the feathers?

Maybe if you’re an investment banking grad it does.

It’s easy to fall into the instant gratification trap of immediately making as much money as possible. But, what if I told you this is finite thinking?

If you want to play the infinite game (aka the long game) to future-proof your financial capability, then I have a strategy for you.

In the beginning

When you first start out, you don’t know shit about shit.

You might think you do (our egos convince us of this). Yet just like Mike Tyson’s opponents in the early 90s found out. You get knocked out quicker than you think. This is a good thing though.

Yes, I said it was good. Sometimes a reality check is just what we need to set us on the right path.

When you first jump into the career game you’re earning potential is capped by 3 things:

  1. Skills
  2. Experience
  3. Credibility (industry and/or subject)

The only way you can improve on these is through learning. Your money can’t buy any of this, no matter how hard you try.

“Everyone has a plan until they got punched in the face”

Mike Tyson

The Short Game vs. The Smart Game

Every career has two paths.

The first, the short game, is about immediate gratification. It’s the quick promotions, the hefty bonuses, the flashy titles. This path often leads to a glass ceiling.

At this point, players in this game face their first real challenge, “How do I break through the glass to the next level?”

Without investment in the 3 pillars we discussed earlier, it’s bloody hard. Often, these people are trapped in this level longer than their peers who did invest. Sometimes they never breakthrough.

The smart game, on the other hand, is a marathon.

It’s about pacing yourself. You could say it’s sacrificing the financial gains today for the bigger prize down the road. Like a savings account that never stops paying out great gains.

The first 5 years of your career is a great time to be a sponge.

Ask the stupid questions, make mistakes to learn from, and build your network. This is the way to build your skills, experience and credibility.

Time spent annoying your boss for a promotion or more money when you have little to exchange in return is not the best strategy.

The Long-Term Benefits of Learning over Earning Early

Consider this: the skills and knowledge you acquire compound over time.

Compounding is a beautiful thing.

Whether it be money, skills or anything else. It has the best returns, always. Don’t just take it from me, here are much smarter folks talking about the same thing:

Before you go… 👋

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