Thinking of Your Career as a Startup
Thinking about Career Decisions
Broadly speaking, it’s useful to think of your career as a startup.
Your profit+growth percentage should be a minimum 40%
So say, you join a big company like Microsoft and your skills grow at 20% every year, while your pay only grows 10% - that's bad.
You need to grow your skills and outcomes faster
The other extreme is also fine: You join a small startup which can make great use of entrepreneurial DNA plus specific skills.
Your pay jump is 30%, and your skills grow only 10% - that is fine too
Your pay is profit. Growth is demonstrable skills growth.
Think of each career move as a Merger and Acquisition: Write a detailed document with the best reasons for making the switch.
Make the steelman argument.
And then, red team it. Shred it to pieces.
I've done years where I grew by ~50% because of 15% pay jump and ~30% skills jumps - but doing it consistently is what matters. I’ve never done a 2-year streak of 40%+ growth in my career.
Most college graduates that I know - earn double of their starting pay at 30 years old. Which is effectively the growth rate of a fixed deposit. Fixed deposits are among the worst asset classes to invest in India.
Their gains come from savings and investments and the magic of compounding, not higher income alone
Your starting income should be high, or restart your career in some way e.g. moving to a new country
Charge more. Grow more.
Inflation and Taxes
The retail inflation in India is around 8-10%, so a 15% hike is actually a 5% hike.
And you get taxed at 30%.
So your effective growth is actually closer to 2-4% for a 15% hike in pay.
So that we can feel good about ourselves, we’ll count it as 15% anyway
Assigning a % or $ value to your skills
The most common criticism of this approach is this: “I don’t know how to measure my skill growth - it’s intangible”
Saying something is intangible is a way of saying it has large error margins, it still has a minimum, median and a maximum.
Figure out all three, you don't need precision - you need worst case scenarios.
Look at any company's balance sheet: They've a "brand value" intangible and they assign a $$ value to it.
Millions of people pay millions of dollars for the Nike, Apple, Sony brand every year - it's a not a miracle.
The $$ values don't have to be precise. People always get lost in details.
I just ask them for the minimum, maximum and median - and people are like --- ohh, yeah, that makes sense - we can guess these with some work.
Do the work. Charge more. Grow more.
Mummy ka Raja beta,