Career Economics: How To Get To Candy Castle

If asked about Economics, most of us would reference the forces of supply and demand. Our really advanced peers may riff on market cycles, game theory, or Egalitarian Pre-Capitalism

But no one will talk to you about Career Economics. 

Well, almost no one. 

Today I am sharing with you a little-known slice of the Economics universe that you won’t learn about in a classroom.

If you can master Career Econ, you’ll spend your days coasting through ice cream slopes and gummy hills, all the way to Candy Castle. Meanwhile, the rest of us are spending our lunch hour filling out expense reports. 

It’s Just Math: X + Y = Z

Instead of supply and demand, the forces at play in Career Economics are effort and experience. 

Effort x Experience = Income

Like physics, this applies to all people and things in the known universe. (Except Elon Musk. He operates outside the Laws of Nature.) 

The Typical Career

In your career, you can choose to be paid for your hard work (i.e effort).  Paid for what you’ve learned and know (i.e experience). Or some combination of both. 

In the knowledge economy today, most of us are paid for some combination of both. 

With a lot of sweat equity, hard knocks, and downright grit we plod along. Experience goes up. Effort goes up. Eventually…Income goes up. 

Finally, after a hard-fought 40+ career…we make it. (Sigh)

But there’s a select few of us who don’t slog out the career grind. They’ve mastered Career Economics and just like in Candy Land found themselves at Candy Castle. 

How did they do it?

Career Econ 101

If you unreasonably prioritize experience, i.e the dotted orange line, especially in the 1st half of your career, you will get leverage on the system. 

“When you do more than you’re paid for; eventually, you’ll be paid for more than you do.”

Zig Ziglar

Eventually, this leverage affords you the ability to continually increase your income, but at decreased levels of effort.

You are no longer being paid for how hard you work. You’ve tipped it. 

You are now being unreasonably paid for what you know. 

For example, in 2017 the annual median salary for a board member on the S&P was $80,000 with an expectation to attend 4-5 meetings a year. 

That’s 4-5 meetings of effort every 365 days. That’s what getting to Candy Castle looks like.

I attend 4-5 meetings before lunch. 

My Personal Studies in Career Economics

For most go-getters like myself, putting in the effort is what we do. Typically more effort equals good career outcomes. 

But what I’ve noticed most people don’t do is prioritize the second variable to generating income: experience. 

If you eventually want to be unreasonably paid for what you know, early on in your career, you have to get as much experience as you can. 

  • When the Sales Rep and Operations Manager roles came open, I said Yes.
  • When the General Manager and VP roles came open, I said Yes.
  • When I was asked to make lateral moves to revitalize other parts of the business, meaning more work with the same payoff, I hit my buzzer before the question was even finished…Yes.

Which Game Are You Playing?

Now, my story doesn’t have to be yours. I just want you to know which game you’re playing.

Are you playing Checkers, Chess, or Candy Land? 

Published by brianhquinn

I write a weekly post to help you grow professionally, elevate your career and Become an "A" Player.