Why Not You?

After writing a book titled Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites, I was given the opportunity to pen several byline articles and blogs. There's a common thread in everything I write, and it is that you are in charge of your own destiny. That is, in spite of what you're being told by politicians on both sides of the aisle lately, you are not a victim, and while it certainly can be difficult, you can still achieve the American dream.

Surprisingly, I've gotten a lot of pushback on that statement. A number of people have said that the deck is stacked against them and that the system is rigged. Some of them believe that wealth will continue to go to the top 1% and that the rest of us are screwed. I'm sorry, but I don't believe this for a second. In fact, when people ask me what I do now that I've retired from Microsoft, I tell them I help people recognize and break down the self-imposed barriers to their success.

You see I truly believe that we can have all that we want if we're just willing to work for it. I don't think we need someone to fight our battles for us. It's really very simple. Find out what it takes to move ahead in your company and do it. Other people at your company are getting raises and promotions and maybe bonuses and stock. What are they doing to earn those things? What's stopping you from doing the same things?

The company you work for is trying to increase its sales and profits; it's the primary reason that most companies are formed in the first place. Are you doing the things your company needs you to be doing to increase its sales and profits? Are you doing the things your boss values? If you are, the company will give you the rewards. After all, it's in their best interest to do so.
While some people have disagreed with my opinions on this subject, others have agreed but then followed with the fact that not everyone can or will receive a bonus, or not everyone can be promoted and become the boss. These are indeed true statements, but someone will earn the pay raise or the promotion. Why can't it be you?

My book is filled with stories about the number of times I started at the bottom of a company and worked my way up. For instance, the time I started as a clean-up boy at a Burger Chef making 65 cents an hour and later become the manager of that same Burger Chef. Or when I landed an entry level job at Microsoft where one of my responsibilities was to keep the test lab clean; I retired twenty years later with the title of Partner Engineering Manager. I achieved this success without a college degree or any real computer or software training.

I agree that not everyone is going to move up or get the raise, bonus, or promotion. Not everyone can be in charge. But someone will. It's a competition. The person who gets the results will reap the rewards. This competition benefits both you and the company. So, again I ask: Why not you?