222: The Quickest Ways to Earn an Extra Half Million Over Your Career with Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett

By October 27, 2017Podcasts

 

 

Paychecks and Balances Podcast hosts Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett share some of their biggest money lessons learned from guests, experiences, and past mistakes.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Pro-tips on getting hired for your dream job
  2. The critical thing to do before sealing the deal on your new job
  3. Why 90% of people become stagnant in their career by age 45… and how to avoid that

About Rich & Marcus

Rich Jones, along with Marcus Garrett, co-host Paychecks & Balances, a funformative podcast covering work and money for millennials. They leverage their experiences to provide entertaining insights and helpful tips on money management, professional growth, and other topics relevant to 20 and 30-somethings trying to get ahead.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Rich Jones & Marcus Garrett Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Rich and Marcus, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Rich Jones
Thanks for having us, man.

Marcus Garrett
Yes, sir, appreciate it.

Pete Mockaitis
Now I understand, Rich, is it you who was a part of a pilot for a relationship reality show? Can you tell us the tale?

Rich Jones
Yeah. So, I was at some club event, met somebody, gave me a business card, then met them later at a very seedy location. I guess it wasn’t really… That actually sounds really bad, especially with this happening in New York City. But I ended up meeting with someone who was a producer, they said they were filming a reality show, they knew that I was a relationship blogger at the time. And they said, “Hey, we’re shooting a pilot.” And so I’m like, “Cool, a reality show. That’s better than my day job.” At least it was at the time, and no offense to the company that I was working for at that point in my career.

But what it turned out to be was this crazy experience, where they had people shooting those confessionals and they were trying to basically mold me to be the relationship blogger of the show. And so when I would talk about my day job, they’d be like, “Cut! No, don’t mention your day job, that’s not cool. Talk about the relationship blogging.” And then I’d be super friendly and everything and they’re like, “You know what? We need more edge.” And I’m like, “But I’m not mean!” It was crazy.

And then ultimately when they got everybody in a room together for what was supposed to be the pilot episode, it was basically around this table at a restaurant and they just fed us drinks. So, that aspect of what you see on reality shows, there is some truth to that. And I don’t think I ever saw this show go on air. I believe the two sessions I was there recording for, that people walked off the set. I didn’t get invited back after the second go around, so yeah, that was my experience. It was crazy all around, man.

Pete Mockaitis
That is crazy, that is crazy. Well, a good story, a good ice-breaker. And Marcus, we’re not going to leave you out. Can you tell us – you have a cool tale in which you were at one point $30,000 in debt, and now no more. How did that go down?

Marcus Garrett
To be fair, I feel like I should’ve told my story first, ‘cause I feel like Rich raised the bar a little bit high here. So I don’t have a reality story; really as far as mine goes I think the story that people like the most is, I actually graduated school with about $9,000 in debt, which was in hindsight barely responsible. And I reached out to a consolidation loan company, which I’m not even sure is still around. They probably got arrested for fraudulent practices with all that they went down in around the 2005 timeframe.

And they sent me a consolidation loan, which I didn’t even know existed. I think I went with the one with the prettiest marketing on the front. I’m like, “Yeah, this looks good. Sign up for a consolidation loan.” And they sent me a check for, I believe $10,000, and I was like, “Ball out!” You send a 22-year-old a blank check, for some reason in my head – and this is the advice I give people now – is to direct deposit it. But when it came I thought they would pay off my credit. When came to me in the form of a check and I sign my name on it… Mind you, all they knew about me is that I was unable to spend $9,000 already, so why they thought I could spend $10,000 responsibly, to this day I still don’t know. And then I just went wild. So long story short, over the course of one weekend I went from $9,000 in $26,000 in debt, and that included…

Pete Mockaitis
One weekend, $9,000 to $26,000. Okay.

Marcus Garrett
Yeah, 72 hours. So a little bit of the math behind that. So I had the $9,000 originally, which I didn’t pay off. It cost three cards; I only paid off one. I basically just went on a shopping spree. I had a girlfriend at the time, so she helped me. She was an enabler. She was loyal, to be clear. So we both were spenders, and I talk a lot now about the spending personality and the saving personality. So we were enablers; we were both spenders. So we went out and we spent. We’d drink a lot of alcohol. I started to lose track of what took place around at this point; for my libation drinkers out there, you all know what I’m talking about.

But when I woke up I actually still hadn’t spent it all, so I was like, “I got a great idea! I’ll buy a car with rims.” And so, I put a down payment on a car. And I didn’t even negotiate it; I was just like, “That one.” And even the guy was like, “Do you want to talk about it? Let’s go back and talk to my manager.” I was like, “No, don’t worry about that. I got cash on hand. Just give me the one with the rims.” So, yeah.

By the time I came down from my blank check high… And in my head for some reason I just thought this was all free money. When I had that minimum payment I think it created this reality where I’d always been able to make minimum payment, so it really didn’t register how big of a deal it was. And the book is Debt Free or Die Trying: How I Buried Myself in Over $30,000 in Debt and Dug My Way Out by Age 30, is it took 10 years approximately to pay off that weekend. So in 72 hours I basically buried myself for the next 10 years of my life.

Pete Mockaitis
But you had the rims though. It was worth it, right, dude?

Marcus Garrett
Yo, I love that car. Rich knows I have an emotional attachment to it. I had to let it go recently. I only let it go in 2016, but I drove that car and I put 180,000 miles on that car. So I got every dollar out of that vehicle, I feel like. I actually still miss it. It was a Toyota Camry, for my Camry drivers out there. I’m still loyal to the Toyota Camry, although I moved on to an American-made vehicle. But yes, I love that car. My parents are probably still upset with me because in all this time it is the only car I’ve never wrecked. I totaled every car I’ve ever gotten my hands on, until that one.

Pete Mockaitis
Wow, these are good tales, good tales. And that’s why it’s so fun to listen to you guys on your show Paychecks & Balances. It really does feel like no one’s lecturing at you like, “This is what you should do with your money”, but rather you’re just talking to some folks who’ve learned some things and are sharing those learnings and getting input from other folks. So, that’s kind of my take as a listener, but how about we get your take on what’s your show Paychecks & Balances all about?

Marcus Garrett
Handle that, Rich. Rich, open up. He always has the better openers, as far as the show, ‘cause he came up with the name. So go ahead, Rich.

Rich Jones
It’s basically personal finance and career advice for Millennials. And like you were saying, Pete, there’s really none of the pretentious or looking down, or “You need to be doing this”, or “I’m an expert because I have all of these letters after my name.” And initially when I was looking around for podcasts that talked about career advice or professional development or personal finance, a lot of the stuff that I saw out there, or heard out there rather, since it’s a podcast, was boring or it gave me that feeling where somebody was lecturing me, and that’s not what I find people in this Millennial generation tend to like, and I also didn’t like that approach.

So I remember going to Marcus and saying, “Hey, you got out of $30,000 of debt, I’ve been making my way up the corporate ranks, we’ve both been making our way up the corporate ranks. How about we start a podcast that hits both work and money and we give a fun spin to it?” And it really started to take off when we created the Paychecks & Balances podcast, which a lot of people don’t know is actually our second show.

Pete Mockaitis
What was the name of your first show?

Rich Jones
The first podcast…

Marcus Garrett
Dramatic pause.

Rich Jones
I realized I talked myself into that one. I was like, “Ooh, here we go.” So the first podcast was called Two Guys One Show. And there really wasn’t much reason to the name, other than it was something that we could both chuckle at and laugh at. And there was that whole hidden meaning behind it that looking back I’m like, “Probably not the best name for a podcast that’s supposed to hit on personal finance and career advice.”

Pete Mockaitis
This is for professionals.

Rich Jones
I mean looking back we probably should’ve called it NSFW, but I’m sure there’s probably a podcast with that name.

Marcus Garrett
Living on the edge! Sometimes I think it’s a lesson learned. I really can’t say that comes with youth, although I guess we were younger Millennials at that time. We were like, “This is just something cool to do.” So we just went with it. And I think we learned… Actually I know we learned a lot from that episode, and I think people benefit on Paychecks & Balances because of all the mistakes and lessons learned that we actually had on Two Guys One Show. So politically slightly incorrect name or not, we did get the appropriate outcome. I’m trying to spin it, I’m trying to spin it.

Pete Mockaitis
No, I’m right with you, when it comes to the learnings. I had a previous podcast called The Student Leadership podcast. And I didn’t really know what I was doing, but at the time most of my revenue was from speaking on college campuses about leadership and student organizations and such. And I thought, “Well that’s cool. Podcasting’s cool, I’ll do that.” But then I was always kind of fuzzy, in terms of, “Who is this for? Is it for a higher-end professional, is it for a student, or is it for both, or it just depends on which episode?” And so it was kind of always fuzzy.

Rich Jones
That was us.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. So then when you get that learning, like, “Okay, this is specifically for this audience, who have these sets of issues and questions and things on their mind”, well, suddenly you get some real momentum building that way.

Marcus Garrett
Definitely.

Rich Jones
Yeah, yeah, and that’s what we found, especially with Paychecks, because a lot of the listeners, of course they’re Millennials – 25 to 34. It’s actually expanding to where it’s now 25 to 44, and when we don’t shout out “Generation X”, we definitely hear about it in the podcast. But with this show a lot of it is really just meeting people where they are and then reflecting on the experiences that we’ve had and making fun of ourselves, like the way Marcus talks about getting into debt. I think we’ve both talked about how we’ve poorly negotiated in the past, and then had a company say, “Yes, we’ll take that”, and they bring us on board and we’re like, “Wait, that’s it? No going back and forth? You said ‘Yes’ too fast. Should I have asked for more?”

And so we have all of those conversations where we talk about past mistakes, but the other thing I was thinking about with this being our second podcast, and Pete, I believe this being your second as well, is that people don’t realize the amount of time that it takes. And it goes into that whole overnight success thing that we hear about, where it’s like, “Man, this show took of in a year and a half.” And it’s like, “Yeah, this show may be taking off within a year and a half, but you don’t know that there was a whole three years, 150 episodes, over 1,000 hours that came before this.” And that’s the amount of time it took us to really figure this all out.

Pete Mockaitis
I hear you. Now I want to hear about some of the things you figured out. So you also host some guests and spend a lot of time doing research when you maybe get a little bit stumped from a listener question, like, “I don’t think I actually know the answer yet. Let me learn some stuff in a hurry.” So, I’d like to hear what have been some of the most maybe striking, mind-blowing insights, lessons learned that were maybe even counter-intuitive at times, like you picked up some nuggets that just made a world of difference for you and listeners?

Marcus Garrett
I think for me, and even now, and it’s been a little bit easier ‘cause I just did an international podcast day where I had to actually speak on this topic. It’s still humbling for me for people to reach out, as Rich mentioned. I guess we’re talking to our younger selves, but they are that age, if that makes sense. So for a 25-year-old to reach out and be like, “Man, I never looked at personal finance in this way. I never would have considered my career and the trajectory it would have or the impact it would have in 10 years.” And I just wish I had a vehicle or a medium of which podcasting is, where someone could have talked to me and equally important that I would’ve listened.

So, a lot of people talked to me, but I ignored all of the above. So, there’s that component, but that’s also now wholly accurate, because I actually learned a lot going through; now we’re on like 67 episodes in, but especially in those early ones… What is the saying: “Those who can, teach.” So I’m like, “How do I teach someone this?” And it was a wholly different exercise than just going through the life experience. I never planned to write a book, so it’s almost insane to me now when people are like, “Man, I read your book and I learned this.” I’m like, “That’s still crazy to me.”

Because when you’re going through these experiences it’s like, I’m not going through this experience to write a book 10 years from now. I’m going through this horrible experience… Well, actually I’m not; it was actually really fun. It just had repercussions that made my life horrible down the line. But I wasn’t going through it like, “Man, I’m going to write this book, and then one day 10 years from now, a 25-year-old or a 23-year-old or a college student is going to write in and tell me how I’ve changed their finances or how they approach life, and they are now more responsible because of something I said.” That’s just not… It’s like that VH1 Behind The Music – it never really made sense, but now when people are talking me to about it I’m like, “Okay, I get that.” I didn’t see myself that way; I still don’t see myself that way.

One thing I was going to say that we did learn from the first podcast is to be comfortable with knowing what we were talking about. For months I think we were scared to talk about these topics, because we didn’t think anyone will listen. And so we talked about every topic under the sun – Beyonce… If we were still doing it we’ve probably would eventually been talking about Cardi B because we’re like, “Oh, that’s cool, that’s hip, that’s what the kids are doing.”

But we’re, as a junior Millennial called us recently “senior Millennials”, I think we’re trying to re-brand it now and make it “Xennials”. Whatever, Millennials are refusing to accept that they’re aging, but I think it extends to 34-35 now. We’re buying homes, having kids and family, and yet I feel like some of us are still trying to hold on to that, “Man, I’m still this title of ‘Millennial’.” I’m like, “Man, you’re 34.” Like Raul said in Street Fighter, “Go home and be a family man.” Although, I could make that same comment to myself.

Rich Jones
I think for myself, and especially from talking to guests and just realizing the number of paths to success that are out there – and of course, everyone’s definition of what success looks like is going to be different – but with each guest there’s really not much in common, except that they all had this spaghetti squiggly line path to wherever they were or wherever they are today. Whether they started as a teacher or they were doing some type of abroad program or they were a hip hop blogger and then next thing you know they’re a personal finance expert.

And the other thing with that is the importance of consistency, and we talk about when saying we’ve been doing this for three or four years. And just because we’ve been doing it for three or four years doesn’t mean that we’ve been consistent, but I think that we have, especially in releasing an episode almost every week with the exception of weeks where I’m traveling or he’s out of town, or it’s Thanksgiving, ‘cause we’re not trying to record episodes over Thanksgiving or over other holidays, where we’re chilling with family or women or whoever it is that we’re with.

But that also applies on the carrier front too, man, because when you think about it, for those people who rise up the ranks – those people didn’t just come out of nowhere. They’ve probably been working at whatever it is that they consider their craft for a very long time. And you hear that from our guests, where they’ve been doing it for five, six, seven… We’ve had people who’ve been doing it 10-15 years.

We had a guest on recently who was a childhood actor and a voice actor for TV commercials, and now he teaches people how to invest in stock. And that’s something that you build over the course of years. And I think what happens with a lot of folks, especially in the Millennial generation, is they get so focused on that, “Want it now.” And I’m still like that sometimes too, where I’m like, “Man, how come we can’t be rich and wealthy and have these chains and everything else already?” But at the same time, being realistic that everyone that we look to as a model of success, this has taken them a really long time, with them staying really focused on what it is that they’re doing.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I would like to hear a little bit about sort of your take when it comes to the rise for professionals. In your experience, doing some hiring, doing some HR, recruiting, manager stuff – what are some of the top perspectives that you’d offer to professionals, I’d say first look into to get a given job and secondly look into get promoted within that organization?

Rich Jones
I think for people looking to get a job, number one thing is doing your research. And Pete, you might be surprised, maybe you won’t be, at how little research some people do, where there will be times where I do an initial call with someone and I ask them why they applied to the company and they’ll say, “I found it on Indeed.” And it’s like, “Bro, sis, man, come on.”

And even in terms of whatever the specific role it is that you’re looking to do, taking advantage of a tool like LinkedIn… And I’ve talked about in the podcast before how I’ve used LinkedIn as my career consultant. And I think that that’s been helpful to me, and so I’ll say a little bit about what that means. And so when I was figuring out what I wanted to do, it was 2008 and I was working at a staffing agency at the time, I was already thinking about what my next move was going to be. And I had an idea of what my career path would look like, but how I was going to get there, how I was going to update my resume in such a way that I would get calls for more than sales jobs – the first thing I did was go look up people who had the job title that I wanted next.

And I took a look at their profile to get a sense a sense of what were the skills, the experiences, the places that they worked at, and that helped me to tweak my own profile to make it more attractive, so that if a hiring manager did look at my resume, or if a recruiter did look at my resume, they could see the path that I wanted to go and they would see a lot of the terminology that they were probably already looking for, based off of whatever requirements they were given by the hiring manager.

And the other thing with that, what I see a lot of people do, is they’ll have a very nicely-tailored resume, but when I cross-reference their LinkedIn profile, it tells a completely different story. And so, I always encourage people that yes, it’s okay to want to explore different avenues, but those avenues should probably have some things in common, because it’s super confusing when someone looks at your resume, goes to your LinkedIn profile, and those two things don’t match. And then it becomes, “Okay, is this person really telling the truth?” And then once you create that doubt, the hiring manager or the recruiter is much more likely to move on to whoever the next candidate is in the process, or in the pipeline.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood, thank you.

Marcus Garrett
And I guess I’m going to make my really dramatic statement, and then I’ll start with my easier one to warm the crowd up. And to Rich’s point, I will say to know your resume. So, it’s actually a best practice to tailor the resume to the job description, but don’t do it so well that then you get in the interview and I’m like, “Tell me about…” And you’re like, “What? Can I, can I see that?” I’m like, “I shouldn’t have to hand your resume back to you.”

So, if you are going to tailor it, be sure that you can speak to it. But the one advice, especially people coming out of school that I would share with anyone now… And I didn’t even know this existed; we actually found it when we transitioned to Paychecks & Balances – they did a study that found the difference between $5,000 in your career negotiation, or lack thereof, can cost you over $600,000 during the course of your career. And yes, I’m going to repeat that because it is very important. Specifically, they found starting at $55,000, as opposed to $50,000, could yield an additional $630,000 over the course of your career. Simply not negotiating…

Pete Mockaitis
In compensation that you earn.

Marcus Garrett
Yes. Simply not taking – and I would say five minutes – five minutes to say, “Hey, you offered me $50,000. Is it possible to do $55,000?”, could lose you over a half million dollars in compensation. I’ve said this statistic; I’ll probably repeat it more again, but it still blows my mind.

Pete Mockaitis
And so, is that just because if raises are done by a few percentage points against the previous compensation each year, that’s how it kind of gets huge? Or what explains that difference?

Marcus Garrett
Well, it’s an excellent question. And I think the analysis they use, and I’ll give it to you for your show notes for folks that want to read it themselves, is an estimate of about a 2% raise over time. But there was another article that went viral recently, although it was written in 2014, and it says employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less. And so that’s why, because typically your salary, and also your raise, is going to be based on your current salary. So if you stay in a company and you’re not competing with the market rate anymore, you inherently start to stagnate within the own organization.

And one thing that they found is, and I’d say this is accurate for a lot of organizations, but the ones that they studied, they’re not equipped to give you raises aligned with the market. So, in these examples what they found is that people who go into the market, and I say the market is literally as Rich mentioned – you go into LinkedIn and you start applying for jobs – those individuals were seeing 20 to 50% raises. The people in the exact same companies were only seeing 2 to 5% annual increases. I mean it’s not basic math, but you can see how that’s such a significant difference. That’s up to 48% difference.

Pete Mockaitis
That is huge. And so the idea there is it’s almost like the mindset of the management is like, “Okay, existing employees – you give them a modest raise each year, ‘cause that’s just sort of what you do”, versus the new hires, “Okay, we’ve got to pay what we’ve got to pay to get them in. So, what’s the market say we’ve got to pay?”

Marcus Garrett
Yeah. The example I use, and I just went through this recently is, it’s like your apartment. So, it’s cheaper to keep you, and they know that. So you’re already there. And I just moved recently. I really moved this weekend within the same complex.

Pete Mockaitis
I’m now a landlord as of days ago, so I am riveted at what you’re saying.

Marcus Garrett
So, in this exact scenario, they sent me… I actually had to go ask. So, I’ll walk through this. So the story was, okay, I wanted to move to the third floor. When I originally moved into this complex… And don’t worry, folks, I’m going to tie all this together back to your career. You’re like, “What is he doing? He’s talking about moving, I don’t have to move, I’ve got a home.” This is all going to wrap up very nicely with a bow.

I told them I was interested in moving to the third floor. Ten months went by, I had a 12-month lease. In the tenth month, they’re like, “Hey, if you move this week, we will give you $500 off your next month rent, and we’re going to raise your rent about $75.” I’m like, “What? $75?” And then they hit me with the switcheroo, “Or you can stay in the apartment you already don’t want to stay in on the first floor, and we’ll raise your rent $76.” So I go, “Let me get this straight. You’re going to give me $500 off to move”, ‘cause they know it’s inconvenient.

So basically they know you’re going to stay because there is a cost of inconvenience. And it’s an unspoken cost; it’s intangible. You can’t put a price on the inconvenience of moving, just in the same way that they can’t put a cost on the inconvenience of you looking for another job, finding another job. That another job might be across the state, it might be across the country. What is the impact on you, your family, your kids, your children, your wife, your dog, your cat? They know that, so they can offer you 2%, but the person who is hungry and actively looking for work – they can offer them 30% ‘cause they’re trying to lure them from the company they’re already at across the country, across the state. They are in the inverse relationship.

And another example I use and we talk about this… Now I realize that we haven’t talked about it recently, Rich. It’s like a relationship, and when a job starts to court you, it’s like an affair. They reach out behind the scenes and they’re like, “I was checking out your resume and you know, it’s really beautiful. Has your job told you how beautiful your skillset is?” You’re like, “No, they don’t even compliment me anymore.” They’re like, “You know, we can offer you 30% raise.” I’m like, “30? They just gave me 2% last year. Oh my gosh, let me get a conference room.”

It feels like you’re negotiating an affair, but at the end of the day, and I’ll get a little into details about this as we walk through it – I believe that you have to negotiate in the best and good faith for yourself. And I think that’s easier for Millennials and frankly Xennials, and Xs – I don’t want to leave anybody out – I think that’s easier for us to accept, but it used to be, and my mindset was, “I’ll go to this company and they’ll just make me a fair and best offer.” False! #Fail. They’ll make you a fair offer, but their bias and loyalty is to the bottom line of the company.

And so, to wrap all this up in that pretty bow I talked about, if you take nothing else from anything I say here and you zoned out around that apartment search time – negotiate every salary you are offered. Whatever they offer you, come back with, I’d say a minimum of 10%. And I’ve talked to hiring managers, I’ve talked to hiring recruiters.

I had one guy stumble up to me in a bar over listening a conversation I had, and he says he has 20% to work with. No matter what he offers, he has 20% to work with. And his compensation is based on how much of that 20% he keeps for himself. So, the company says, “You can pay up to $120,000.” So in his head he knows if he can get someone to take $100,000, he just made $20,000. And it’s just that simple. So, while in a perfect, idealistic world we would all negotiate in best faith and we would do onto others, and the golden rule and yadda yadda yadda, that ain’t how any of this works.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that’s so wild in that hiring managers at times are like… It’s often maybe not even their money; they don’t get a bonus for it, but they’ve got budget and it’s available to be distributed if they ask. But candidates don’t ask, and so it just doesn’t happen. And it’s wild how it can be that easy – money’s there if you speak up, but most people don’t, so never mind.

Rich Jones
It’s crazy ‘cause people become afraid for whatever reason. And I think, from a recruiting perspective, I see this with people earlier in their career, but they get afraid that if they ask for something, the offer’s going to be rescinded. I have never seen an offer rescinded because somebody countered. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that in your experience with people that you’ve consulted, but I’ve never seen… Unless it’s like, “Could I get a loft and 10 other things?”

Or where I do see people get into a hole is where they say, “If you give me X I’ll be ready to move forward with accepting this offer.” You give them X and then they ask for three more things. I’ve seen that backfire, but to make one ask and say, “Hey, I’d be willing to move forward and accept this if you could offer me X”, I’ve never seen a company go, “No way. This offer is rescinded.” And that’s how some people treat it. Even when they’re in negotiation, even going into a performance review conversation, where the person knows that they’re worth more, but they feel that if they make this ask that it’s going to come across the wrong way. And so it’s like, “What are you working so hard for? Why are you in there interviewing and studying and reading up and doing all this information if it’s not to get the amount or the value that you’re worth and that you deem you’re worth?” And when you don’t negotiate, I think that says something about you as well.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s powerful. And you’re right. I love that take – it’s like the worst that you could fear is they say, “You know what? Never mind, you ungrateful wretch. This job is gone. Say goodbye, you greedy little…” I don’t know, whatever. That’s like our worst fears. You say hey, those fears never have come to fruition that you’ve ever seen. And I’ve never heard that happening either. I guess the worst case scenario is just sort of embarrassment. So I’m going to ask for a raise and they say, “Sorry, actually these packages are pretty standardized across all of North America, so that’s just sort of what it is.” And that’s it. Maybe you feel embarrassed for like one minute, and then it’s over. That’s like the worst case scenario there.

Rich Jones
Yeah, and you never have to wonder. You’ve asked the question, so you’re not wondering, “Did I get the most I could get?” You asked and they said “No”. And of course, maybe they swindled you somehow or someway, but at least you put the question out there, and so you can move forward with whatever it is you need to focus on next.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so good.

Marcus Garrett
And I’m going to agree with Rich. To date… Now mind you, it may be that no one’s asked for something so egregious that I had to rescind, but literally never. Never. And I’ve done a number of negotiations. It has to be in the dozens. Maybe I just don’t want to age myself; it might be in the double of dozens. It might be probably 24 or something like that. But at no point has anyone asked for an amount so egregious I was like, “No, I rescind it.” Delete the email, put them on the block list.

And in fact there’s been people who do ask for a ridiculous amount. They’re like, “I want a 50% increase.” And all I ever say is, “Let me get back to you.” And then I take that back over to HR, because think about all the levels at that point you’ve gone through for me to make an offer for you. And that’s the part, especially folks that haven’t been in the hiring manager role. And to be fair, I never was either. I was on hiring panels, but I’ve never been in a hiring manager role until recently.

I have to interview 10, 15… Well, first of all, I’m going through hundreds, and I don’t even know what HR goes through. So they send me the triage amount. Let’s say 100 people apply. They triage that and they say, “Okay, half of these, 50 are qualified.” Now I have to go through 50 resumes. I get that down to 20 or 25, I rank or do whatever matrix that I’m in. So I want to bring in the first 10. I might not even be done. I just want to cycle through the first 10. Scheduling, weeks, months, times. There’s a lot of… It’s soft; it’s not like there’s a hard dollar cost that’s charging, but there is a soft cost to all that hours and time that goes in.

I finally narrow it down, I get this one top tier individual I want, and I’m going to rescind it ‘cause they ask for 10% more? That would be insane; that would be dumb on my part. It’s just not going to happen. So, feel validated in the worth that you bring to the table, and even if you weren’t… Like Rich said, let’s say you did just find it on LinkedIn or Indeed – if I did make that offer to you, I see value in you. And here is an amount, and I likely have 10, 15 or 20% more that I could offer you anyway. So, know your value, worth and feel comfortable in it.

And I think, to bring this all back to… I just try to make analogies that people can relate to – it is like dating. The worst that can happen is I’m like, “Hey, can I get your number?” And I’m literally offering you a number – it’s $50,000. The worst you can say is “No”. And if you say “No, you didn’t really try very hard. I’ve got other guys out here trying to get my number and they’re offering $55,000.” I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t mean to offend. I think I’m back with this number. Let me court a little bit more.”

Be respectful of the courtship, the dance, because that’s really all it is. You’re definitely not going to offend me, ‘cause as you said, Pete, I’m unobjective. It’s not like me, Marcus Garrett, is writing you a check. I’m not taking out my checkbook or debit card and it’s like, “Oh man, this is going to cost me $50,000.” It’s just the amount HR has told me that I can go with. And there’s probably, like I said, a wiggle room. And in fact, if there wasn’t, I usually say, “This is a firm number”, because every now and then you’ll get somebody who’s at the top of your budget, as you mentioned. But if I do that, I’m going to tell you upfront, “Hey, here’s the amount, and this is firm. This is non-negotiable.” And I might find some other incentives to still bring you in. But if you don’t hear “This is firm”, negotiate.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh that’s great, that’s great. It’s like you need to have a signal not to ask. Your default should be asking. The worst fears are imaginary, and the odds are tremendous and the sums really add up. It’s a bulletproof case. I mean, I’m sold. I want to get an offer somewhere so I can ask. I’m so fired up about it, but I guess I’m my own boss, so I have to ask me. It’s like, “Pete, can I get a 30% raise next year? I’ve been doing great. The podcast has really been growing.” It’s like, “Alright Pete…”

Marcus Garrett
It’d be funny if you had to turn yourself down actually, like, “Nah, I rescind it.”

Pete Mockaitis
“Sorry Pete, that’s firm. That’s firm.” Well tell me – Rich, Marcus – is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some your favorite things?

Marcus Garrett
Yes. And I’m glad you gave me that segue, ‘cause we’re going to have to shift gears to something much happier after this. And so I think the $55,000, the $50,000 you earn, you just made yourself another half million dollars over the course of your career. Congratulations! Success, and handclaps. I’d clap, but I don’t want to mess the mic up.

But one other thing to keep in mind – and it’s actually the same study, this is two different articles that I’m referencing – is, they found that your wages for the most part stagnate for 90% of people. So, most part isn’t like half, it’s not 51%. It’s 90% of people stagnate at age 45. Now, depending where you are on that scale, you might be like, “Oh, that’s forever away.” To me, I’m like, “That’s right around the corner”, ‘cause I have a whole different perspective on a 10-year timeframe now.

And I’m going to break down why that’s so crazy. And I didn’t realize when I first read it. I’m like, “Okay, that’s 15 years, 10 years”, whatever the math may be, as far as Xennials and Millennials go. But that means at age 45, let’s say that you’re the average worker – you have a 50-year career. You start around 21. I started working at 16, but whatever. Let’s say you have the luxury of starting around 21; you’re going to retire at 67. So that’s 46 years; roughly a 50-year career. If you hit your max salary at age 45 and you stagnate – in fact they found that most people decline at this time – you’re only halfway through your career arc. So for the next 22 years of work, you’re making less money every year.

Pete Mockaitis
Ouch.

Marcus Garrett
When adjusting for inflation. And that’s why it is important to know your value in the market, because if you stay in that company where now you’re not getting those raises and now you’re stagnating and technically you’re making about 50% less every time that you don’t go out into the market after that two-year mark… And Pete, you actually had an interesting comment. You were joking, but there was a CEO – I forget his name, but I saw it in one of those Upworthy trends or threads or articles where I only read the headline, I’m like, “Oh, that’s fascinating” and I moved on.

But he said that he encourages his own workers to go out and apply approximately every two years, because he wants them to remain hungry and know they are valued and know they are being appropriately paid in his organization. So he was so confident that he is compensating his employees well. And something to keep in mind is, we’re talking a lot about compensation, we’re talking a lot about salary. That’s not the end all, be all, but I have bills, taxes and things I need to cover, so it counts for something.

That’s not the end of the discussion, but you also want to keep in mind, are you being paid fairly? And then balance that with, “How much do I enjoy my job, my environment, my co-workers, my employees? And what’s valuable and important to me?”, because you can either be paid poorly at a job you dislike; ideally you’re paid well at a job you love; or you’re paid well at a job you tolerate. But to be paid worse and decline every year at a job you don’t like – that’s just not a winning scenario for anyone.

Rich Jones
Agreed.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so good. No, it’s a terrible situation to be in, but a great point that you made. So now, can I hear a little bit about a favorite quote, something that you two find inspiring?

Rich Jones
For me the quote is super simple. I don’t even know if I would call it “inspiring” per se, but it’s, “This too shall pass.” It’s something that we hear people say all the time. And I’ve never been in a work situation where I’ve made a mistake – and in the moment it may have felt like it was the end of the world, the CEO heard about it, someone else heard about it, my manager heard about it, or if I am the manager I gave my team member some bad advice, a bad way to handle the situation – and it didn’t pass. It may have sucked in the moment, but eventually there was something I learned from it that made me stronger and allowed me to be more effective in the future.

So, I wouldn’t call it “motivational” per se, but when things are hitting the fan and I feel like I’m in a situation where I’m like, “Aw, this is a stressful day, hour, week. This person is getting on my nerves, this presentation didn’t go as well as I thought” – it’s just a blip in time. And so I just encourage people to remember that whatever it is that’s happening, even most times in your personal life… Of course there’s going to be things that they don’t just pass right away or maybe they’re around forever, but I’ve just found that every situation that I’ve been in, regardless of how negative it may seem in the moment, there’s been an insight that I’ve been able to glean from it, and looking back it was something that was just a blip on the radar of life.

Marcus Garrett
I’d say for me, and I hate to be cliché, but I’m reading Good to Great right now by Jim Collins. It’s not because I’m smart or some great person; I actually had to do it because of work. So, it was like a work assignment. But that being said, I think it’s the opening quote, and I was trying to Google it, but Rich finished too soon. So I’m going to paraphrase it, but also butcher it. So please be gentle and also look it up later to get it right. But it was something to the effect of, “The enemy of great is not bad; it’s mediocrity.”

And what I took from that is, most of us have the capacity for being great. And you had a guest on your show recently that was talking about – and it was helpful for me – that some people believe growth is finite, like you are what you are, what you’re born with; and others believe growth is unlimited and you can learn, you continue to learn until your last breath is given, I think was his quote.

And both of those were better and helpful for me, because I think a lot of us are like, “Well, it’s good enough.” And you can even be made to feel guilty for when you try to achieve more than that. Then people are like, “Oh well, keep in mind that this is going wrong over here and over there.” I’m like, “Yeah, but it’s going wrong here, now, me, at this exact moment.” So, I am sympathetic and I am empathetic, but that is not dismissive of the role, struggle, situation or obstacle that I’m facing.

And I feel like a lot of us feel that we can’t either speak to that or we can’t address it ‘cause it’s like, “Oh, that’s good enough.” And I’m like, “Well, it’s also not great, and maybe it could be better.” And it took me a long time to make peace with and feel comfortable with, “Well, I don’t want to just do good.” There’s greatness out there. I don’t think I’m great in all things, but I think we all have felt what greatness feels like in something that we succeeded in. And it is a whole different feeling from, “Ah, I did good today.” You can rest easy with “Ah, I did good today”, but that’s a different feeling to, “Today was a great day.” And I want more, and in fact as many great days in my life as possible. Good is good, but great is better.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely, thank you. And how about favorite books for you two?

Rich Jones
I think for me one thing… And this has been especially important as I moved into more of a manger role – The One Thing by Gary Keller. And really it’s just helping you get to what’s the one thing you can do that’s going to help you be most effective and it’s going to make all those other things easier? And so, as an individual contributor that could be you’re working on six different projects, “What’s the one way I can do this that will allow me to knock out multiple projects at once or finish three of these fast so I can get to this other thing that this maybe not as valuable?” Or as a manager, “What’s maybe the one thing I can do to structure my team in such a way that it’s operating at the most efficient level possible?” So that’s been super helpful to me.

I’m going to give you two. And because I’m also an introvert – Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. That’s been one of the most impactful reads that I’ve had over the past couple of years, and specifically as it relates to being an introvert. It’s helping me focus a lot more on my strengths and realize that some of the things that I thought were weaknesses were really just differences. Especially given that we work in a very extrovert-centric society in the Western world, where it’s all about who can be the loudest and who can yell the most about their accomplishments and who can make the most connections. There were things that I previously thought about myself, where I was like, “I’m not good at this, so this is a weakness. What’s wrong with me?” And I’m like, “Yo, those were just differences.” And this book really helped me realize that.

Pete Mockaitis
Beautiful, thank you.

Marcus Garrett
Yeah, I’d say for me, I don’t know yet ‘cause I’m still working through this, so I guess I’ve got a two-fold response as well. So we actually started a 10 pages a day challenge, where actually a guest came on our show – Lisa Nicole Bell on Episode 26 and she said that you can finish most great books – just by math with 30 days in a month and reading 10 pages a day – that’s 300 pages, so you can finish most great books in a month. I honestly didn’t believe her, or I took it as a challenge, “Challenge accepted.” I’m not really sure why, but I was like, “I’m going to test that out, man. I don’t think that makes sense.”

And it was basic math, and she was right. I read like four books after that show and I started PaychecksAndBalances.com/Books. So, right now it is looking like this Good to Great book is going to be one of my favorite reads thus far. And along those lines of, it would be nice with infinite time to read all the books, but I’m not trying to read all the books. I went out and I looked at all the great list, I looked at personal finance, professional development specifically, because obviously that’s the lane we are in for the show.

And I felt something I’ve talked about on the show is complementing interests. And it took me a long time; I used to have competing interests. So I’d be like a cat chasing after a laser pointer – I’m like, “Oh, that’s shiny. Oh, that’s cool.” And I’d never seem to get anything done; I’d did 10% of everything done. And going back to that quote, I was mediocre at a lot of things and great at nothing. I was, as I said on the show, the jackass of all trades. I wasn’t particularly great at anything, so I become more focused over time. And I think this book is going to be it for me, but if not, I have 14 personal finance and 15 professional development books that I’m going to read through right now. So Good to Great would be my current recommendation, subject to change.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so cool. Nice lineup there, keep you busy.

Marcus Garrett
Yeah, yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
Marcus, Rich, tell me – do you have a final parting word, a challenge, a call to action you’d issue to folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Rich Jones
Yeah, I think it is easier said than done, but I would say comfortable in self. I wanted to say “confidence”, but that didn’t seem grandiose enough. But it took me probably recently and I feel like it’ll be a continuous journey, but at some point I crossed over that hill, where I was pushing the rock up the mountain where I’m unsure, I think I know things, I’m uncomfortable considering myself an expert. I’m getting these validations externally, but I didn’t see it in myself.

And I finally did. And I don’t know when that breaking point was; it wasn’t like I just woke up one day and like, “Man, you’re great, you’re awesome!” And people like me; it wasn’t like I was talking to myself in the mirror, but one day I’m like, “Huh, maybe I do know what I’m talking about and I have something that I can give back to people.” And whatever that is for you in the listening audience, I think the quicker that you can come to grips and peace with that… I just felt like it opened up a whole new door for me. And it wouldn’t even feel like the sky is the limit; it feels like the floor is the sky.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s awesome.

Rich Jones
I like that. I like that, good brother.

Marcus Garrett
Thank you, sir.

Rich Jones
So I think for myself, or I guess what I would recommend to people who are currently working is, getting clear on expectations. And this is something that I’ve thought a lot more about since becoming a manager and how I can be a more effective manager, and even some of the things that I did when I was in more of an individual contributor position. I find that a lot of people don’t really take the time to get clear with their manager, their supervisor about what’s expected of them, what’s a good job, what’s a great job, and even expectations around the person working on the right things. Are you spending your time on the right type of projects that are going to help you get to wherever it is you want to go in your career?

And especially with it being, or starting to be, performance review season at lot of places, and we have this coming up I believe on episode 68, we talk about this. But with it being performance review season, it’s a great time to think about expectations. And if you haven’t had that conversation with your manager in a while, it’s a great time to think what are the things that you want to accomplish, what are the things that they can help you do to get there, and they may be able to suggest some of those things based off of where you say you want to go. And it’s kind of thinking of it in terms of mutual expectations. So there’s what’s expected of you, but also what are you expecting of your manager so that you can do the most effective job possible.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, there’s so much good stuff. Rich, Marcus, this has been a whole lot of fun. I had some flashbacks to podcast movement, chicken waffle, fun times partake in activities. It was good to reconnect with you in front of thousands of folks. And I hope you and the show Paychecks & Balances just continue to grow and flourish and be a lot of fun for you and everyone checking it out.

Marcus Garrett
Yeah, I appreciate it. I forgot to do this in the beginning, and I think Rich did as well, ‘cause it’s normally my line. So follow us on the social medias, @PayBalances is the show account; personal accounts are @IAmRichJones and you can find me @TheMarcusGarret on Twitter and @TheMarcusGarrett on Instagram.

Rich Jones
And I’m happy to be here. Also great catching up, having some chicken waffles, activities, and looking forward to seeing you whenever the next thing is, man.

Marcus Garrett
May I jump in real quick for that?

Pete Mockaitis
Oh yeah.

Marcus Garrett
I feel like we should explain the inside joke. So if at any opportunity you are in California… I’m going to only hit on the high notes. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, in which I was able to enjoy the delicious chicken and waffles with these intelligent young men, start this conversation. And that’s another thing that we didn’t talk about. I’m not going to rabbit-hole here, but networking, continuing to make those important contacts, and you can be awesome at your job. Or on the show to talk about it as well.

Pete Mockaitis
Word.

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