As I have already mentioned, all personal finance boils down to two main piles of money: the money you have going out, and the money you have coming in. A lot of people looking to build wealth focus almost all their efforts on that first pile of money, the pile going out. People skip the Starbucks, brown bag all their lunches, spend hours a day hunting for coupons, and even make their own toothpaste and laundry detergent. All of this amounts to a lot trouble, suffering, and time consumption just to save what winds up to be not very much money. These types of measures are useful when you are in debtcrisis mode, but for long-term wealth buil ngotiaetworkingding, they stink.
No matter how austere you are, the amount of money you can cut from expenses has a limit. On the other hand, the amount of money you can use to grow your income is limitless. There are numerous ways to do this: starting a side business, making investments, and getting promoted at work, which is what this chapter is about.
As we grow from childhood to adulthood we are constantly reminded by parents and teachers that life is not fair. Now that you are an adult you know this is true. It is doubly true at work. In a fair world promotions would be given solely based on qualifications, job performance, and, occasionally, seniority. Unfortunately, the way promotions are actually given can be a good deal more complex than that. Everything from your weight, style of dress, gender, and race to personal connections and other factors that have no direct bearing on performance can carry just as much weight as your work performance itself.
Some of these factors you can control easily: You can go out a get a new wardrobe and start showing up 15 minutes early. Others, like gender and racial bias, are not as easily combated. The bad news is that there are always going to be people who have an unfair advantage when it comes to promotion. The good news is that if you master the skills of financial sorcery, you can be one of those people! What follows is a strategy that I have employed with success in the past.
Step 1: Assess Yourself
Before you do any prayer, spell, or invocation, you need to take a good look at yourself, your qualifications, your role in the company, and, most importantly, how others perceive you.
Ask around; you might be surprised. Even though think you do everything asked of you, maybe even better than others in your department, other people may see you differently. Sometimes the person who completes work quickly and efficiently is not perceived as well as the person who stays late, comes in early, and constantly looks busy yet accomplishes comparatively little. The fact is that we rarely see ourselves the way others see us, and the way others see us is important. Find a coworker who is friendly, but not your best friend in the office. Tell him or her that you are looking to get a good picture of how you are seen by the rest of the office. If he or she answers in all positives, push them to be truthful—everyone has some trait others could complain about.
Step 2: Educate Yourself
Not everyone will need to do this, but more education never hurts. This step is all about buffing up your training and education. In the past this would mean a very serious investment of time and money, and it still may, but there are options today that did not exist just a few years ago.
MIT, for instance, has many of their classes available for free online. In spring of 2012 they will be expanding the number of classes available and offering certificates of completion. The certificates will not carry college credit, but will still look excellent on your resume and give you an easy way to learn new subjects that are relevant to your work. The Khan Academy is a Website that is providing even more direct instruction through videos on everything from calculus and banking to art history. Stanford University is also offering classes free online in their OpenCourseWare program, and provides the opportunity to interact with professors.
The thing to keep in mind is that no matter what a job description states explicitly, a job never requires a degree. It requires a set of skills and knowledge base. A degree is often just a convenient way of screening applicants. If the position you are going for states that it requires a degree that you do not possess, you may still be able to show that you have the skills sve d it stil and knowledge that the position requires. In cases in which you are looking for a promotion rather than a totally new job, you have a much greater opportunity to broadcast this effectively to the people in power.
My father once told me that everyone in the world is in sales, no matter what their actual job was. Networking and selling yourself can go a long way, and as I already mentioned, the world is not fair. Many people would like to unfairly give the promotion to the guy they like and feel a connection with rather than the guy that has the master’s degree who acts like jerk.
That said, sometimes the paper is what matters most. Thankfully, that paper does not always have to be an advanced degree. There are intensive programs for all kinds of certificates, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) and Microsoft Certified IT Professionals (MCITP). Often these can be completed in intensive courses which take much less time than a traditional degree.
If a traditional degree is what you need, many universities now cater to adults who have other time commitments. Just make sure to do your research on accreditation, credit transferability, and general acceptance. Any college should have credits that are accepted for jobs with state agencies and are generally transferable to other colleges and universities. Remember, legitimate colleges and universities are accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies, not by national agencies. These six regional agencies are in turn recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation. If the school you are applying to is instead accredited by a national agency, that is a red flag. A good rule of thumb is that if you are seeing a commercial for an online school on late-night television, your degree from there may not carry the same weight as it would from a traditional college.
In New Jersey, we have the excellent Thomas Edison State College. All classes are taught online, with rolling 12-week semesters, making it easy to earn a degree in less time and with less hassle than a traditional college. Better yet, Thomas Edison offers prior learning assessments that grant college credit for life and work experience. You may be closer to a bachelor’s or master’s than you think.
Step 3: Do a Macro-Enchantment
As before, choose one prayer, puja, mantra, novena, spell, angel, god, or whatever to oversee the whole arc of the operation. You make it known that you want to get promoted and what position you are seeking. It helps sometimes to make a statement not just detailing that you want the position, but also what you plan to do in said position and how you intend to use your newfound power and wealth. Some people use this to make a promise of future offerings in exchange for the promotion itself. Commissioning a statue or a donation in the name of a spirit can be a powerful incentive. Long-term commitments such as tithing a certain amount of the increased income or making regular offerings are also traditional, but unless you are very dedicated I wouldn’t recommend it. Too often those deals are forgotten the first time that it becomes inconvenient to keep them. But the spirits do not forget. A promise not kept to a spirit can be catastrophic.
If your macro-enchantment involves a physical talisman, just make sure that it doesn’t smell or appear overly occult. I love mojo bags, but if yours makes you smell like a potpourri store and leaks oil through your pants, it would be better to not have it at all. Similarly, that 3-inch Pentacle of Jupiter medallion from the Key of Solomon is awesome, but it will work even better under your shirt than it will hanging over your tie like you are the villain in a Hammer film from the 1960s.
Step 4: Do Your Jo s4: ur b
Don’t just do it; do it really well. Better than ever before. Be productive and, more importantly, look like you’re productive. Do all the dumb things that you know you should do but that nobody ever does: Show up earlier than the boss; leave only after she is gone. Make the team and your boss look good by your actions. Speak well and make sure everything you write is properly punctuated and error free. Dress sharp and in a way that compliments your body size—it doesn’t matter what your body type is, there is a way to dress that will make you look well put together, and other ways that will make you look like an idiot. You know what needs to be done. Do it.
On the magical end of things you can do whatever you need to make you projects run smoothly, but in the end you shouldn’t need much magic for this step. You can either do your job or you can’t. If you can’t do your job well, it’s time for a job change.
There is a corporate theory known as the Peter Principle, which simply states that “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence.” It seems silly on the surface, but it actually makes perfect sense. Because doing your job should get you promoted, it only makes sense that you will continue to rise until you reach the job that you can no longer excel at. If you find yourself in a job that you are barely competent at, it is not time to worry about getting promoted—you will simply drown. Instead you should worry about mastering your current position or finding a new line of work.
Step 5: Get Yourself Noticed
Unfortunately it is entirely possible for you to do your job, make everyone around you look good, and still not get noticed. Thankfully we are sorcerers, and there are many techniques of influence and persuasion you can employ. As with my advice for job interviews, use magical influence judiciously. You cannot look as though you are trying to influence or it will cancel out the magic. You are trying to get some attention to your hard work, not convince the Storm Troopers that these are not the droids they’re looking for. If you look at the powers of Mercury in Chapter 4, or at some of the Lightning Glyphs, you should have no problem thinking of spells and techniques that will spread your good name like wildfire. Combine this with offering ideas, volunteering for projects, and making the right network of friends, and you can quickly make a name for yourself.
One mundane technique that has worked for me is the unsolicited report. To generate this, find some metric that no one is tracking, and track it. It doesn’t really matter what it is; managers love metrics, and showing that you are capable and interested in measuring what is going on in the company is a big plus. You also show that you have the initiative to do something that was not directly assigned to you (in addition to your normal duties, of course); it will help you get noticed quickly. Just make sure that your normal work is superb or this plan will backfire. Before you turn in your report, gather the business cards of your boss and your boss’s boss and take them back to the temple for some late-night influencing magic. The next day hit them up with a spreadsheet of how many of their Web ads actually convert into a sale, or how much time is spent bouncing between multiple programs for a process that could be handled by one.
Whatever your individual tactics, the overall strategy is to position yourself into a spot where the company sees you as essential to their operation. Seth Godin wrote a book called Linchpin that has a simple premise: You should make yourself indispensible by doing something that no one else can do—or at least not anywhere near as well as you can. Be a syouYoun artist at what you do, not just an employee. Although I disagree with some of the sentiments in Godin’s book, the overall idea is a good one. Pick up Linchpin for more info on the Linchpin philosophy. You will immediately see how magic can be applied to becoming a linchpin, and also that becoming a linchpin is magic.
Step 6: Look and Act One Step Ahead
I am sure that you have all heard the advice to dress for the job that you want, not the job you have. Though cliché, it is still good advice. It may take some money that you would rather spend elsewhere, but consider it a career investment to get some proper silk ties and tailored shirts and suits. While you are at it, you also might want to invest in a style guide or employ the services of a stylish friend or acquaintance to show you how to look like a million bucks.
I for one was completely lost in this realm until a friend took me under his wing. There are all kinds of things I had not considered. For one thing, I need shirts with a 20-inch neck in order to wear the top button comfortably closed—a must for dressing one step ahead. I am big, but I’m not that big, so unless I want the rest of the shirt to look like a circus tent, I need to get it taken in to fit my waist. My neck size also means that I need a fairly long tie, and that I should use a Windsor or Shelby knot—the Four in Hand knot my dad taught me (and everyone’s dad teaches them) is just too thin for my neck and head. Because of my large torso and relatively small seat, my pants should be flat-front and traditional-cut. If all that seems like more detail than you normally consider when buying clothes, you should perhaps consider getting some sartorial assistance from someone who know what they are doing.
Strangely, a lot of people have a resistance to business attire, especially pagans and magicians. One of the most controversial posts I ever made on my blog was about the power of the power tie. People wrote comments insisting that only their work should matter, not their appearance. Unfortunately, because the volume of the inner life of magically oriented people is as loud as or louder than our outer lives, we sometimes get lost in ideas of how things should be rather than dealing with how they actually are. I don’t care if there is no dress code at your job at all; you may think you are not being judged by how you dress, but you are.
Beyond the suit and tie, you can accessorize your business attire for sorcery without anyone knowing what you are up to. It’s not good to wear a giant pentagram over your tie, but there is nothing to stop you from choosing a tie or accessory with a color scheme that corresponds to a particular element, planet, or god. Then it is a relatively simple matter of charging that tie—or cufflink, or scarf, or bracelet—as a talisman. I have even gotten sneaky and placed pieces of fabric with sigils inside my ties—giving new meaning to the “power tie.” A friend of mine in a particularly ruthless industry has sewn protection wards into his work jackets and dons them whenever he feels he needs them.
Of course it’s not just about dressing for the job you want to have. It’s also about talking, acting, and thinking for the job you want to have. Now is the time to stop gossiping and swearing. When you catch yourself babbling on and on, just stop—senior-level employees are more likely to be thoughtful about what they say. If you find that your thoughts at work are consumed by worrying about how long of a break you will have at lunch, how much extra work something means for you, and when your next vacation is, it will show in your actions and demeanor. Senior-level people think in terms of what is best for the department and the company and the customers. Start thinking like a shareholder sa s life . It’s not about you vs. them. You are them. Use the skills you developed in meditation to cut through distraction, and cut through the “disgruntled wage slave” mindset.
The goal here is to see if you can get people to think that you have already made the step you are looking to make.
Step 7: Spend Time with People Above You
Don’t be obvious about it. Start by keeping your ear to the ground. See if you can find some common ground involving a subject outside of work. Opening up a conversation about a shared hobby or even just a favorite night spot can go a long way toward opening up lines of communication. All it really takes is being in the room often enough for someone above you in the hierarchy to ask your opinion on something. If you have a solid and smart answer, you will soon find yourself consulted on things that people at your level are not usually asked about, or offered special projects that enable you to prove yourself. Eventually such a person can prove to be your champion, pulling for you when managers are discussing filling a position.
Step 8: Have a Replacement in Mind
In a shaky economy this is kind of a risky move, but in many cases unless there is someone who is able to move into your position, you cannot move up. You do not want someone who does your job better than you, just someone who can do it when you rise out of that position. Be the champion for someone to get promoted to your spot when you get promoted to someone else’s.
Step 9: Divine the Timing
Timing is everything when it comes to promotion. I am not talking about planetary days and hours here, though that can be a factor. I am talking about the timing within the corporation. I am talking about it being the right time to make a pitch for your promotion.
If you can find out about someone retiring or transferring, that may be the time to bring up the possibility of promotion, or at least mention that course at MIT you completed. Even someone moving several stages above you may shake up the org chart enough to open a corner office for you. Sometimes, though, shake-ups are not what they seem at first. There are often politics and maneuvering that you don’t see on the surface. This is where your divinatory skills come in. A tarot reading by itself is just a piece of data to consider, but when it corroborates a rumor you heard from a friend in HR, which in turn confirms some odd statements at the meeting last week, it becomes actionable intelligence.
Step 10: Take out Obstacles
Some of you won’t like this idea. Truth be told, I would only use it in severe situations myself, but sometimes there are obstacles that have to be removed with force. Many companies are rife with nepotism or racism. Sometimes your boss is threatened by your accomplishments and works against you. Sometimes someone else who is up for the promotion plays nasty. At such times, you really only have three options:
1. Back down and accept your lot in life.
2. Escape to a new company.
3. Fight back.
I am not suggesting you perform full-blown death curses for a promotion. In fact, I am not suggesting that you do any kind of offensive magic at all. I am merely pointing out that it is traditional within the arts of magic and witchcraft, and very often effective.
For the rare occasions that I indulge in such activities I shoot for either confusion jinxes or expelling rituals. Confusion jinxes are often used for magical protection, especiall son, activitiy when the danger is not a magical one. They confuse and befuddle your opponents to a degree that they either forget about you or their work backfires. I must stress that you should always do a divination to get an idea of what your results will be. Confusion spells are tricky and can be the cause of vehicular accidents and all kinds of more serious issues. I am not here to preach at you, only to tell you that you need to be responsible for your actions.
Confusion powder is made with poppy seeds, twitch grass, and black mustard seeds added to a powder base such as talcum. Some people color their powders, and if you want to, the appropriate color would be red. If you want to cause arguments and in-fighting as well as confusion among your enemies, add in black and red pepper. The same recipe could also be used to make an oil or incense. The clever sorceress will be able to employ all three.
A lot of people like to put confusion powder directly on their enemies or on a place their enemies would touch or walk on. This can lead to a very powerful and sustained effect, but again, unless you are very clever and careful, it is not worth getting caught. For this reason, rather than bringing the spell to the target, I like to bring the target to the spell.
It should be fairly easy to get a personal link from your target and bring it home to where you work. You can then work that charm into a packet or doll of your target and fill it with confusion-causing elements such as poppy seeds, twitch grass, and black mustard seeds. You can actually make a doll from scratch, but it takes a lot of time and effort. I usually just go to a dollar store and purchase a cheap doll that I can paint up and stuff with herbs and seeds.
After making your doll or packet, when you suspect your target is asleep, spend some time holding the packet or doll by a string and spin it dizzily over some confusion incense while speaking your wishes to it. When you are done, hang it somewhere dark by the string and let it sway.
Expelling rituals are done to get rid of someone entirely from your life. In this case from your job. Hot foot powder is traditional for this, but again, I urge care. Laying sulfurous powders down in a cubicle or powdering someone’s shoes is not easily accomplished in the work space. It is better to get something of theirs and make a packet or doll, only this time with expelling herbs such as red and black pepper, sulfur, crushed hornets, and other hot or stinging material. Once you have your packet or doll, you want to get rid of it in a ceremonial fashion. Many people throw it in a river and never look back, but I have always enjoyed mailing mine anonymously to a foreign and unpleasant place like a mortuary in Kashmir or something like that.
Step 11: Ask for the Promotion
If you are going to succeed in financial sorcery you need to learn to ask for what you want. Some people are amazingly shy about this or feel that it is somehow presumptuous to ask for a raise or promotion. It is not. Asking shows confidence and assertiveness. Be humble, but be frank. Know your accomplishments and let your competence be the source of your confidence. Aim for a discussion rather than an ultimatum. Ask what you need to do to get to the next level. Present your case, and try to overcome any objections. Sell yourself. If your superiors are resistant, ask why and what they want you to do in the future. If the answer is no, unless there is some kind of nepotism or harassment afoot, be gracious. Find out why someone else was chosen instead of you, and learn from it.
References and Resources
The Rules of Work: The Unspoken Truth About Getting Ahead in Business, by Richard Templar (FT Press, February 5, 2005). Excellent g s> E care. Layuide to getting ahead at work. A lot of it is stuff that you probably already know but don’t do. I read this again every time I feel like I am getting lax at work.
Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Ziglar (Berkley Trade, September 1, 1985). Make no mistake: Getting promoted is about selling yourself. Learning to sell will help you in every aspect of your professional life. This book is a great start.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, by Seth Godin (Portfolio Trade; April 26, 2011). Excellent arguments for how to build a career in the new economy and become an indispensable person not just in your company, but also your industry.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini (Collins Business Essentials) (HarperBusiness; Revised edition December 26, 2006). One of the best books for applying NLP, management skills, and negotiation tactics for getting ahead in business. A classic in the field.
MIT Open CourseWare: http://ocw.mit.edu. MIT’s course materials free online, now offering certificates of completion for some courses.
Khan Academy: www.khanacademy.org. Free videos on everything from international banking to advanced calculus and geology. A truly staggering free resource for self-education.
Thomas Edison State College: www.tesc.edu. New Jersey state college for adults, with classes entirely online. Solid accreditation and transferable credits.