Boosting Your Earning Power During Tough Economic Times

Since you are reading this
article, you have probably already done one of the most important things you
can to boost your earning power:  You
have joined a growing, dynamic industry that is constantly recreating itself as
the market changes, always looking forward and investing in the future, and in
the process, creating opportunities for you that no stagnant or shrinking
industry can match.  However, even within
media and telecommunications, the best opportunities go to those who are best
prepared to snag them.  Here are some
ways to be on the winning end of the scale. 

Think revenue.  In any organization, a person who contributes
to growth in revenue, especially new streams of revenue, will be paid more than
those who don't-no matter how good their job performance may be.  It is an over-simplification to think that
managers pay more for performance (a term that is much too broad and
ill-defined anyway).  For most companies,
what counts is productivity, whether it's producing more revenue or higher
profit relative to investment or expense. 
If you are increasing the bottom line, you are growing the business, and
companies value growth above all else.

If you can't boost revenue,
grow cash flow.
every job or profession lends itself to revenue generation.  If you can't make that contribution directly,
you will still increase your value to the organization if you find ways to cut
expenses while improving outcomes.  The
key to making that happen when others before you have not is simply to think
differently.  It is very rare in business
that following the same old routines results in significant improvements in
efficiency or effectiveness.  While
first-class execution can separate the great from the good, it does not create
revolutions.  Look at other industries,
or other professions within this one to find methods, resources or perspectives
that can lend themselves to your situation. 
Find new ways to solve old problems - then follow through flawlessly.  The cash will roll in.  The quest for new ideas also makes social
gatherings more interesting; wherever you go, pick the brains of those who work
in organizations different from your own--and take good notes.

Go.  At some point in your career, you will have
an opportunity to relocate or take a temporary assignment.  It will be unglamorous, inconvenient and may
even cost you some money in the short term. 
In the long term, however, you will be the person who is different, who
has the unique experience, who answered duty's call when the company needed
you.  International experience, field
experience, secondment to a vendor are all opportunities to learn.  No new degree or classroom training can give
you the career-propelling insight that a unique assignment can.  During tough times like these, there are
always business units that need fixing. 
Be the first to volunteer and know that you're building good career

Habla Español.  Every business, but
especially media and its aligned industries, needs to prepare for a more
diverse market.  America is
looking more diverse every day.  If you
want to see a bigger paycheck, learn how to speak at least one other language,
but don't stop there. Learn to appreciate and think within the cultural
framework of that ethnic community. 
Spanish is an obvious choice, but many Asian, South American and
European communities are growing, too. 
Convergence and wideband will mean more ethnic content, more ethnic
marketing and more opportunities for those who can help.

Fall in love.  Is love only borne in the
heart or can you make yourself fall in love? Only you can decide that and then
plan accordingly.  However, people who
are in love with their company or their industry will always make more money
than those who are just in it for the cash. 
If you are sincerely emotionally invested in your work, that fact will
come through in the quality of your contribution to the organization. Engaged
people simply perform better.  If you are
not emotionally engaged in your work, you still may be able to increase your
earning power, but it is going to be much more difficult - even painful - to
do.  The concept of loving your work is
coupled with the decision to choose a business that genuinely appeals to
you.  If you are not in love with
media/telecom, but feel you can't possibly start over elsewhere, look for
another type of work within this industry that you would enjoy more. That may
entail taking a short step back on compensation at first, but ultimately the
combination of engagement and diversified experience will pay off personally,
professionally and financially.

Invest in you.  Your career is probably the most valuable
asset you have-so maintain and nourish it as you do your home, your car or any
other important asset. In particular, don't sit around waiting for your
employer to provide skills training or send you to a seminar. Instead, take the
advice of my colleague Mike Butler, senior vice president of compensation and
benefits at Cablevision, "Do everything you can, formally and informally, to
gain new skills and enhance current ones. 
Earn a formal degree or professional certification. Opt for internal
training or developmental assignments both within and across departments or
functions.  Volunteer to work on a
project or fill in during staffing shortages or peak work periods.  Bottom line: if you see an opportunity to
learn - grab it!  Aside from the specific knowledge you gain skills you
acquire or hone, demonstrating curiosity, initiative and eagerness to improve
will land you a prime spot on management's radar screen."

All in all, there are plenty
of ways you can elevate your earning potential, and there is no time like the