A large number of millennials enter the workforce thinking they need to put their head down and simply grind every day until they reach their dream position.
What those people don’t know is the insider secret to fast track your career that I’m going to share with you today.
Growing up during the 2008 economic collapse, a lot of millennials got the impression that the job market is only based on competition, and that they have to fight hard to keep a stable, well-paying job.
Many employees don’t realize that helping their peers, superiors, and juniors get ahead is actually the key to fast-tracking their own career – whether they want to climb the corporate ladder or build their own business.
Success is intrinsically connected to what’s widely known as the “favor economy,” which is based on acts of kindness and generosity done with no expectation of an immediate return.
Veteran executives know that writing a recommendation, making a phone call to help someone secure an interview at a great company, or connecting two people who would make great business partners are all worthwhile ways to spend their time.
In fact, a large number of C-suite level execs spend 8-10 hours every week doing favors. This isn’t about being unethical or trying to bribe people. In fact, it’s the opposite: To be successful in the favor economy you have to go in with no expectations.
If you do someone a favor just to get something out of it, that will backfire. The favor economy only works when you trust that you’ll eventually gain something, if only the confirmation that you’re a great person. This ecosystem works in a natural cycle – like karma, if you’re into that sort of thing. The catch is that you won’t know exactly when or how you’ll be rewarded.
Bottom line: When you consistently do favors for good people on all levels of the work chart, your career will flourish.
Plus, the favor system is a natural, satisfying way of operating for us humans, because we traditionally lived in community with one another and worked as a close-knit ecosystem. We’re designed to help each other.
On the other hand, tearing each other down or simply neglecting to support each other goes against human nature. If your intentions are rooted in unhealthy competition and the fear that there isn’t enough to go around, you won’t succeed in this job market. Doing favors can take your career to the next level and beyond.
Want to help someone but feeling stuck?
Here are some favor ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Email your job-seeking friend the LinkedIn posting for a position that would be perfect for them
- Connect a former manager with a new C-suite opening
- Help your niece skip the pile of resumes at her dream company and secure an interview
- Introduce two marketing experts who might be successful business partners
- Write a recommendation for your colleague
- Give a new graduate career advice over coffee
- Work late on a Friday so your colleague can spend time with their family
Now, once in a while, doing favors goes wrong, and that’s why some people become resentful and closed off. It’s important to follow your instincts when it comes to doing favors.
If you’re considering doing someone a favor, think about your relationship, as well as their track record and reputation. Follow your gut, and acknowledge the possible consequences.
In each situation, it’s likely you already know whether you should really be doing a favor for the individual at hand. Go with your intuition and trust your choices. You don’t need to throw favors around like candy – use your discretion.
The truth is that being a people person and learning to work on a team is often more important than your skill level, and being likable is connected to doing genuine favors. Many skills can be taught quite easily, whereas being generous and kind is usually difficult, if not impossible, to teach.