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Do More Than You’re Paid to Do

First a quote: “People who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do.” ― Elbert Hubbard, American Writer & Philosopher

Good morning and happy Monday!
I have always attributed my work ethic to my parents, and perhaps being raised in the great state of Iowa, surrounded by all kinds of hard-working people.  Early in life, Dad always said, “If your boss asks you to do something (and it is legal, moral and ethical) then do it willingly with a positive attitude. If possible, complete the task sooner than they asked and better than they expected.”  That philosophy has always served me well.

As a young photographer, my primary responsibility was taking pictures of products to be featured in the company’s bi-annual sales catalog.  I was given “photo layouts” to complete and return to the print-production department. I made it a habit of completing the “photo spreads” quickly and then asking for additional layouts or other assignments. The more “layouts” I was able to complete in our “in-house” photo studio, the less we needed to send out to the more expensive Chicago studios. I was excited about saving our company money on production costs, and of course, experiencing the pride of seeing my efforts published in catalogs and seen by thousands of customers.

It wasn’t long before two work associates invited me to lunch under the guise of mentoring.  Their advice: I was being taken advantage of by management. They pointed out that as a salaried photographer, my pay would remain the same regardless of how many photo assignments I completed. Their advice was to slow down and do no more than required. They argued if management wanted me to take more pictures and complete more photo layouts, then they should pay me more first.

Fortunately, I chose to follow my dad’s advice. Within two years of that lunch, I was promoted to “Sales Promotion Manager”. I was the youngest person to hold that position in that company. And, do you want to know the ironic part of that promotion; guess who never received one promotion in all the years we worked for the same company?  Yup, the same two people who advised me not to work so hard, the same two people who suggested I do less until I was paid more. 

The philosophy of doing more than I’m paid to do is still my goal today. One of my mentors, Doug Park, a friend and advisor for many years; built a successful consulting business with a similar approach: whenever possible under-promise and over-deliver.  Do more than expected and you will be rewarded for more than you do. Again, good advice and wisdom that has served me well in my career.

I agree with the following expression: “If you want to have what others don’t, you must do what others won’t.” More often than not, doing more than you’re paid to do will pay long-term dividends.

Where can you exceed expectations in the coming week?
Have a great week and a wonderful holiday season!  Cheers!
Bryan Yager
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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