It’s good to be the boss. People in charge of an organization not only make more money, but they also have happier family lives, are more satisfied with their work, and worry less about their financial futures, according to a 2014 Pew Research report. Those in the top levels consider their employment a “career,” not just a job that pays the bills.
So what can you do to get a promotion to those top levels? There are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances of advancing your career, whether with your existing employer or a new one. Your long-term success depends on having as many options as possible and being prepared when an opportunity arises.
11 Ways to Advance in Your Career
Getting to the top of the corporate food chain becomes increasingly more difficult in the higher tiers of management. In many organizations, average performers in the lower ranks can expect some promotions by merely being competent and building tenure. Attaining more senior positions or advancing at a faster rate, however, requires the following strategies, at the very least.
The #MeToo movement exploded into America’s consciousness in the Fall of 2017, shaking executive offices and boardrooms across the country. Initially promoted in 2006 by women of color who had suffered sexual abuse, the movement became mainstream on social media after actress Alyssa Milano’s tweet, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” The massive response to her tweet was unexpected and became the basis for a national movement.
Encouraged by movie stars recounting their experiences, millions of women (and some men) have written or spoken about their mistreatment by powerful men and women. For many, the extent of sexual harassment and abuse in our male-dominated society was a revelation as it became clear that no sphere — schools, sports organizations, government agencies, churches, or workplaces — has been immune to the powerful exploiting the powerless for generations.
The consequences of sexual misconduct are swift in today’s climate. As TIME magazine reports, “Nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.” Time’s Up, an advocacy group formed in 2018, focuses solely on sexual harassment and women’s issues in the workplace. One of their aims is to bring about additional federal and state legislation to punish companies that tolerate harassment.
While many companies have had sexual harassment policies in place for decades, this new atmosphere places managers under even stronger pressure to uphold these policies and provide employees with a safe, supportive working environment. If you’re a manager wondering how the #MeToo movement affects your responsibilities, here is what you need to know.
How Extensive Is the Problem?
WIRED magazine reports that the extent of harassment in the workplace is unknown due to the increased use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in settlement negotiations. Confidentiality provisions can hide the acts of serial abuse by powerful, wealthy men such as current President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and Roger Ailes for years. As former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who sued Ailes to escape the NDA she signed with Fox in 2013, told WIRED, these agreements “both silence the victim and fool our culture into thinking we’ve come so far when we have not.”
Women have silently endured sexual harassment in the workplace for generations. In previous generations, they rarely reported or spoke of these instances for fear they might lose their jobs or chances for promotion. A 2016 study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that three-quarters of working women had experienced unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion (including physical touching) on the job, but less than 10% filed a formal complaint.
In May 2017, more than 230,000 computers around the world were taken hostage by the WannaCry malware worm. Known as ransomware, the unknown developers surreptitiously gained control of computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, encrypted the users’ data, and demanded a payment of $300 in untraceable bitcoins to unlock the system and access information.
Cyber-attacks occur across borders and range from simple email “phishing” efforts to sophisticated software programs that quickly expand the attacks and hide the identity of the perpetrators. Motives of cyber criminals range from vanity (proving one’s technical expertise) to illegal profit. Some attacks are politically motivated while others are rarely publicized, state-sponsored sabotage. The attacks affect individuals, businesses, and governments.
According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, a successful hacker earns $14,711 for each attack and has 8.26 successful attacks per year. Sophisticated hacking tools are readily available on the Internet, especially the Dark Web. The criminals and the curious are stepping up their efforts to invade your privacy and steal your money. What actions can you take to harden the target and protect your assets?
What actions can you take to harden the target and protect your assets?
Understand the Enemy
Malicious software can wreak havoc on your computer or operate covertly in the background. Malware (The Creeper Worm) was first detected on the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, in the early 1970s. Since that time, spurred by the growth of personal computers and connected communication networks, many different types of malware have appeared, including:
Trojans: The most common malware is based on the Greek strategy to invade Troy: the Trojan Horse. In this case, users are tricked into allowing an outsider unlimited access to their computers by clicking on an unsafe Internet link, opening an email attachment, or completing a form. By themselves, Trojans are delivery vehicles, providing a “backdoor” into a computer or network. As a consequence, they open the door for malicious software to steal data, compromise operating systems, or spy on users. Trojans do not replicate themselves and spread to other devices like a virus or a worm. Viruses: Just as a biological virus is transmitted to unsuspecting hosts, a computer virus replicates itself and infects new computers, then modifies operating programs to malfunction. Some have called viruses “diseases of machinery,” a term first coined in the 1972 futuristic film “Westworld.” One of the early viruses – Love Letter – delivered by an email with the subject line “I Love You” and an attachment “L0VE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT” – attacked 55 million computers worldwide and caused an estimated $10 billion in damage, according to Wired magazine.
According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), America will continue to spend more than it receives in revenues from 2016 to 2026, and perhaps beyond. The budget deficit is projected to be slightly below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) through 2018, then rise to 4.9% by 2026.
If the CBO projections are accurate, the federal debt will grow another $9.4 trillion by the end of the 10-year period, with potentially dire consequences for the country. According to the authors of the report, “The likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase. There would be a greater risk that investors would be unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing needs unless they were compensated with very high interest rates; if that happened, interest rates on the federal debt would rise suddenly and sharply.”
Higher interest rates—averaging 2.3% in 2014 and 2015, as reported by TreasuryDirect—on an increasing amount of debt are likely to cause a “crowding out” effect, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. As the Federal Government borrows more money to pay its bills, there is less capital available for the private sector.
Many believe that the CBO’s concern is understated. In his testimony before the United States Senate Budget Committee February 25, 2015, economist Dr. Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University bluntly stated, “Our country is broke. It’s not broke in 75 years or 50 years or 25 years or 10 years. It’s broke today. Indeed, it may well be in worse fiscal shape than any developed country, including Greece.” Kotlikoff claims that Congress has “cooked the books” for years, and that the difference between the present value of all projected future government expenditures less the present value of all projected future receipts was actually $210 trillion in 2014, more than 16 times the actual reported debt.
Whether or not economists agree on the appropriate level of the federal debt, there is agreement that the only way to reduce annual deficits and pay down the debt is for the government to collect more than it spends – an unlikely (if not impossible) result in today’s political atmosphere. Only six times between 1960 and 2015 has the Federal Government spent less than it collected, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Most recently, in 2015, the Federal Government collected $3.25 trillion in taxes, almost 60% from income taxes, while spending $3.69 trillion. As a result, the budget deficit of $439 billion—the lowest deficit since 2008—was added to the federal debt.
The Myth of Economic Growth as a Solution
Politicians regularly suggest that the deficit problem can be resolved as the economy improves because revenues through taxes naturally increase as incomes rise through stronger growth. Such thinking encourages postponing actions that are politically unpopular, such as raising taxes or cutting popular programs.
Hoping that economic growth can solve America’s problems is likely futile for the following reasons:
GDP Growth Is Projected to Be Lower Than in the Past. According to the CBO’s Budget and Economic Data, annual growth averaged 3.2% to 3.3% from 1974 to 2001, 2.7% from 2002 to 2007, and 1.4% from 2008 to 2015. While the economy is recovering, the CBO projects average annual growth from 2016 to 2025 at 2.0%, well below the average prior to 2008.
Widening Income Disparity Threatens Economic Growth. The trickle-down theory was discredited by a 2015 International Monetary Fund report, which indicated that when the rich get richer, no others benefit and growth slows. The data from more than 150 nations suggests that when the richest 20% of a society increases their income by 1%, the annual rate of GDP growth shrinks by nearly 0.1% within five years.
Costs for the Major Entitlement Programs Will Rise Sharply. The aging population, rising healthcare costs per person, and increased costs of the Affordable Care Act are likely to boost federal spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if current laws remain unchanged. As Kotlikoff testified, the estimated 76 million members of the Baby Boomer generation are already entering a period where each recipient will collect “$40,000 in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits each year.” As a consequence, the largest group of people to put money into the system – the Boomers – will begin taking it out. Left unchanged, Social Security will begin using its surplus funds to pay benefits in 2017 and deplete reserves by 2034.
Interest Costs on Federal Debt Will Triple in the Next 10 Years. According to CBO projections, net interest costs for the federal debt are projected to more than triple from $223 billion in 2015 to $772 billion in 2025.
Projections Do Not Include the Costs of New Wars for Defense Against Terrorism. The Watson Institute of Brown University estimates the costs to date of the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq at $4.4 trillion, all of which were funded by borrowing. Some analysts estimate the costs of the three wars even higher. The cost of future defense is unknown, but likely to be as high as – if not higher than – past wars.