Sample From Chapter 1
Whether you’re in high school, college, or graduate school, everyone wants their first corporate job to include a six-figure salary, a corner office, a luxury sedan, a generous expense account, a smart phone/tablet/iMac, membership at a country club, and four weeks of vacation (on top of two weeks of holidays).
But it rarely happens that way.
Most people toil all of their life — 60 years or longer — and never reach the executive suite.
Look around … it’s true.
Just 27 percent of Americans earn a four-year college degree, 9 percent have a master’s degree, and 3 percent hold a Ph.D., according to the U.S. Census Bureau and various surveys. At the same time, more and more jobs require a college degree.
Consider what happened to the workers who built typewriters. When typewriters gave way to computers, the workers on the typewriter assembly line had to find another job that paid $10 an hour. Given the increasing sophistication of shipping and logistics, the computer industry established much of its labor operations overseas.
Today, the majority of computer jobs in the United States are in management, research and development, design, sales, distribution, and marketing — almost all of which require a college or a graduate degree.
Assuming a 40-hour week, a $10-an-hour job in a factory or at a retail store works out to $20,800 a year, or $400 a week, which may or may not include benefits like health care insurance or a matching 401(k) plan.
When you factor in federal, state, and local taxes — which typically represent 29 percent of a person’s annual income — it can be tough to make ends meet.
On the other hand, the average salary of a college graduate with a business degree is $51,541 (2012), according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers — which works out to $991 per week before taxes.
Now, consider the average median salary of a chief executive officer, or CEO. The task of overseeing a major corporation is worth $730,000 a year, according to salary.com. That’s $14,038 a week before taxes.
Over 60 years, consider what each job generates in gross income:
- Assembly Line Worker: $1.2 million
- Average College Graduate: $3.1 million
- Average CEO: $43.8 million
So how do you become a CEO?
Try a college degree, hard work, luck, and determination.
But the better question is …
Can you handle the corner office?
Running a major corporation that employs thousands of people is incredibly time-consuming, often thankless, and filled with pitfalls.
If you oversee a public company, things can change rapidly. A board of directors will show you the exit door if there’s a sudden drop in the share price.
And there are forces beyond your control.
What happens when assembly line workers in China who are building your smart phones are committing suicide by jumping off the factory roofs? How will you react? What will you tell their families?
What’s more, you could face criminal charges because you failed to foster and monitor a safe working environment.
On the other hand …
One of the best lessons from corporate life is to avoid the consumption of power. Don’t get caught up in the trappings of the office. If you’re more concerned with the thread count of your custom suits than the working environment of your employees, the problems will come soon enough.
Bad karma begets bad karma.
Think long and hard about whether the CEO position is right for you. I have plenty of friends who have started great companies, built them up to 300 or so employees, and then sold the enterprise (or a major chunk of it). They move on. They start over. They want new challenges. Administrative duties were gobbling up their creative time. Every new employee took them further and further away from exploring new spaces or taking a great technology to market.
It’s easy when you’re starting by yourself; the hard part is scaling up a great idea. As your product or service takes off, more and more of your time will be devoted to meeting or exceeding the following:
- Revenue must outpace spending (that’s where the profits come in)
- Daily and weekly meetings with key managers
- Monthly meetings with investors (or as needed)
- Constant oversight of key suppliers
- Constant oversight of all competitors
- Time management (including your social life)
- Hiring and firing
- Talent raids
- Advertising, marketing, public relations, sponsorships
- Employees (and their benefit packages)
- Government regulations
- Ever-changing interpretations of government regulations
- Security breeches
- Media attacks
And that’s just to name a few.
If you dream about running a major corporation, remember it’s just a dream. Before you sit in the CEO’s chair and experience all of the forces that go into running an organization with thousands of employees spread across the world, take the time to prepare. Enroll in as many classes as possible, whether in accounting, engineering, business management, government relations, social media, public speaking, or design. Learn a second or a third language.
Maximize your versatility.
There is no guarantee you’ll reach the CEO’s chair, or even the executive suite. If you do, be indispensable. If the company you work at undergoes a management shake-up, you’ll either be promoted or take on more duties (hopefully with an increase in salary).
Table of Contents
Listen and Learn
It’s a Business World
The End Run — Office Politics
Thunder and Lightning
- Game Plan
- Guest Arrival
- Crowd Flow
- Silent Auction
- Live Auction
- Auction Check-Out
- Money, Money, Money
- Odds and Ends
Meeting That Certain Person
Lunch is Served
On the Road
CORPORATE RESOURCE GUIDE
- Alcohol Percentage by Volume Foreign Customs
- Domestic Salaries
- Job Interviews