Aim High–And Get Your Foot in The Door

Aim High and Get Your Foot in the Door

I've written before about the value of institutions, how they impact your life and very sense of self, and why you should think hard about which institutions you associate with.

Now. I want to make sure you are aiming high enough. No matter who you are, if you are going to work for someone else or another institution, you should aim for the very best.

Work is work. If you are employed, you will probably be working at least 40 hours a week--quite likely more. If that is the case, why don’t you ensure you are working where you get lots of training, enjoy amazing benefits, higher pay, and work with the most talented people in the world?

From an American perspective, here are some of the institutions I suggest you target:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • The Federal Government
  • International Institutions like the IMF, World Bank, etc.

This is of course just a sample list. There are many other firms out there, especially in the biotechnology space that you could target. I want to stress this: I doesn't matter if you are not a computer programmer or an engineer. There are tons of other jobs at these firms. There are administrative support jobs, logistics jobs, legal jobs, warehouse jobs, etc. I know firsthand that many of the people working at these firms didn't go to top schools. They just kept applying till they got in. The key is to get your foot in the door and then start working your way up and expanding your skills.

There is a crucial added benefit to working for one of these top-shelf institutions. Once you get your foot in the door with any of these companies, once you have one of these institutions on your resume, all other elite institutions will look at you differently and be much more likely to hire you. (There is a similar dynamic if you manage to get into one of the elite schools in the United States--Ivy League or Stanford--but we won't dwell on this because getting into one of those schools is determined by the time you are 16 or so--and not relevant to most readers of Mighty Investor.)

A word of warning. If you target the Federal Government of an International Financial Institution, the benefits at these institutions are among the best in the world--but the work environment can be pretty dysfunctional. They have the drift and sclerosis that creeps into any place where almost no one can ever be fired and when the discipline of the private market doesn't keep the leadership focused. Personally, I found this dynamic too frustrating to deal with and eventually left the federal government.

These companies are growing fast and hiring. So they are a good place to look for a job.

Now, the trick. You have to apply. Keep applying. Keep trying. I know a woman who took the Foreign Service Officer test seven times before she finally got in. I know several others who tried five times before breaking through. You have to be persistent and keep working at it.

Here's a video where I elaborate a bit more on this topic.

So, reframe your perspective, and shoot for the top.