Let's call her "Tina" because her name was fucking Tina.

How I Chessmastered Myself into a Promotion

Those of you who follow us on Twitter already heard that I’m up for a promotion at work.

It feels unwise to talk about it because it’s not official yet. There’s no contract in place, and we haven’t done title or salary negotiations. It’s possible that circumstances could fail to come together. But I’ve interviewed for the role with all stakeholders and each one has given a green light to the role change. The woman who will become my boss has already added me to her regular staff meetings and tasked me on a new project. It feels like a done deal, so I’m taking the karmic risk of telling you all about it now.

Plus, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give you all rolling updates!

It’s the first promotion I’ve ever received while working at a large corporation. (I was promoted in my first job from unpaid intern to intern with a stipend, basically. After I cried in front of my boss about money issues. A STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME!) I’m not entirely sure how to navigate it gracefully, but I’ll certainly invite you all along upon my journey of discovery.

The better part of getting this promotion was luck. And I think that’s likely true of any promotion.

But luck is boring to blog about. And it ain’t everything. I Underwooded a good portion of this shit. So let me tell you what I tried and rate how well it worked.

Welcome to Washington.

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This is the "caulk the wagon and float it" method for getting a promotion.

Santa Isn’t Coming and Neither Is Your Promotion

Some people are told there is no Santa Claus. Their dick cousin tells them, as vengeance for a lost game of Monopoly Junior. Or they saw Gremlins.

Others figure it out on their own. I was one of these. It took me eight years of cognitive development to get there. The physical impossibility and the logistical improbability pressed at my young mind, but the biggest question I had was one of motivation.

At eight years old, I had recently begun to understand money. I’d come to understand that one Breyer Horse was equal to approximately one thousand years of untouched allowance. I’d also begun my education in the concept of Stranger Danger. I had a newly honed ability to scrutinize adults for their intentions.

And I found myself wondering, “If this old man has such limitless wealth and power, what is his angle in using it to buy presents for children he’ll never meet?”

So I asked my parents, and they confirmed. “Yeah, that’s a thing adults made up to incentivize kids to conform to behavioral expectations,” they said, in so many words.

The thing is, Santa Claus is not an isolated incident. False or greatly exaggerated incentives exist everywhere to compel you to behave yourself. I’d like to talk about one of those false incentives today. The merit-based promotion is a comforting myth that took me thirty years to unravel. Much like with Santa, it was a rude awakening, but I’m much happier knowing the truth.

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PEOPLE DIE OF EXPOSURE.

Stop Undervaluing Your Own Work, You Darling Fool

Like many Millennials, I’ve got multiple income streams. At my day job, I work for a salary that I negotiate upwards every so often. But as a side-hustlin’ freelance editor, I set my own rates and negotiate directly with individual clients for each new job. This means I’m in a position of awesome power with every customer. Like Ursula the Sea Witch, I can name whatever price I like, and if the client wants both legs and a hunky prince, they’re going to have to give up their beautiful singing voice or THE DEAL’S OFF.

But what if the client can’t afford my price? What if they find my rates completely unreasonable and expensive compared with industry standards? What if they’re bargain hunting and willing to work with someone less qualified for a steeply discounted rate? What if they’re really nice and I feel uncharacteristically sorry for them?

What if instead of their beautiful singing voice, they’re only willing to part with the sound of their burps, the noise they make right before yakking up last night’s vodka tonic, their impression of Marlon Brando in The Godfather? What then?

When you set the price for your own work, there are innumerable reasons you might be tempted to lower it. This is a way of undervaluing your own work, and trust me my beauties, it is not worth it.

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