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How We’re Kicking Butt In This Down Economy (And How You Can Too)


How often have you heard about the doom and gloom of our economy lately? Unemployment is rising again, the European economy is facing a meltdown, and there’s not much hope on the horizon. These down reports sure do hurt our confidence when we’re down on our luck, but you know what? Even during the worst financial period in history (The Great Depression), there were still people that had extreme wealth! My wife and I are focusing on the upside of this economic downturn, and we are really starting to kick butt financially. I hope that after reading this article, you can kick butt in this down economy too!

How to Excel in the Workforce

I recently received another promotion at my company, and it’s prompted me to write this post because I believe that anyone can do what I did to get it.

1) Work Smarter, Not Harder

Do you want to know how many hours I’ve worked per week in order to get recognized for this promotion? Exactly 40 hours. I got to work at 8am every day, took an hour lunch, and then left my desk at exactly 5pm. Staying at work for long periods of time is not the best way to get recognized – let your results speak for themselves.

Soon after starting my position, I realized that I had quite a lot more knowledge in Excel than everyone else in my department. In order to market my skills (and to help the department of course), I started holding Excel help courses for anyone that was interested. Soon, I became the Excel guru and I was still punching out at 5pm like everyone else.

2) Take on Those Extra Projects

It’s important to work efficiently on your day to day tasks because it’s the work you do on extra projects that will get you promoted. Some of them may seem menial, but take them on anyway. After all, if you do well with the small project work, your boss might just bless you with a very important project in the future – one that will expose you to important people with large influence.

3) Find Your Passion and Plan Out Your Future

I’ve had a passion for finance all my life, but I was not able to find a job that utilized my skills in this area. It’s been 4 years since I graduated with a degree in Finance, and I finally landed a job that I’m passionate about and relates to my degree.

Once you realize your passion, you need to step back and get an understanding of how you’re going to get yourself in that field. Think of it as a maze. If you are physically standing in a maze, you can only see one turn at a time and your next move might very well lead you into a dead end. However, if you were lifted up from the maze and were able to look at it from above, you would quickly discover what route would take you to the finish line. Your career path is the same way. If you just continue to bust your butt and work toward an undefined target, you’ll continue to bang your head against those dead ends.

Find a mentor that’s in your desired field and assume everything that they say is gold. If you do as they say, your chances of landing your dream job will severely improve, and you’ll soon find yourself thriving in this down economy instead of sinking.

4) Go Look For Work

As I stated earlier, it’s not always necessary to work 80 hours a week to get noticed. Rather, search out the work that will benefit you the most in your career. For me, I knew that I wanted to move up in Finance, so I started visiting their department and asked if they needed any help. Soon, I was working with the Director of Finance. It really pays off to hunt for work that you’re interested. Plus, it’s fun!

Learn to work smarter in this economy and you could soon find yourself kicking butt in this economy too! Good luck!

What have you done to advance yourself in this weak economy?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. You make an excellent point. Being the guru or go-to guy at work for something is an excellent strategy. After all, if you need to sacrifice your entire personal life to succeed at work, is that really success?

    • Great comment SFH! Some people work 80+ hours a week and earn $100,000, but are they really successful? Or, are they just workaholics?

  2. I would love to have excel courses. I know some but I still really need to know more. I hit up our resident guru at the begining and feel more comfertable playing around in it but I’ve been looking for some advanced classes.

    I’m one of those people who is pretty organized–I manage to keep myself and 2 others fairly on track. It’s actuallly one of the reasons I was promoted to this job.

    • Sounds like you’re a great learner – that’s really important to succeeding in your career. Always be willing to learn something new.

  3. I feel like there’s a big key ingredient missing in this article, and that’s a boss who’s willing to promote you and recognize you for work well done. In my current job I have worked hard, taken on extra projects, and demonstrated knowledge beyond the scope of my job. And all I’ve gotten for my efforts is more work loaded on me every day. I’m the go-to gal for everything that no one wants to do. So, I’m not trying to be a negative nancy. But sometimes some of us do that – and we basically get punished for over-performing.

    • In my experience, my boss did not promote me either, so I went to other departments for projects. Those other departments began talking about my excellent work, and it eventually led to my new job! Maybe this is something you could explore.

      • Sometimes you have to move out to move up!

        • Short, but profound. I like it!

      • Thats actually a very good point Derek. To be honest, I never thought about that. I will have to try that and maybe it will land me somewhere I can get a bit more recognition. Thanks for replying.

        • Glad I could help you out! Good luck implementing these tips!

  4. As a teacher, it is completely different! I bring my skills to the workplace as Chairman of the budget committee. I started a computer club for the students. In other words, I make myself invaluable. Actually this applies to the regular business world too. I volunteer for class coverage where I am paid extra to cover classes during my conference period.

    • Sounds like you’re doing your best to succeed in your profession though! Nice work Krantcents.

  5. Networking is huge. If there isn’t someone to network with in your company check with your friends and organizations you belong to to get where you want to go. I am lucky that my boss rewards work smarter not harder.

    • Networking IS huge! Without networking, I’m positive that I wouldn’t have the job I have today!

  6. I definitely agree with you on Work Smarter than Harder. There are a lot of ways how to make your work productive-it’s not on quantity rather its more on quality of work. Find your niche, explore and have the passion.

    • You’ve got it Lyka! Thanks for the comment!

  7. I’m one of those people who is pretty organized–I manage to keep myself and 2 others fairly on track. It’s actuallly one of the reasons I was promoted to this job.

    • Awesome! Keep up the awesome work!

  8. I definitely acknowledge with you on Perform More intelligent than More complicated. There are a lot of methods how to create it productive-it’s not on amount rather its more on excellent of labor. Discover your market, discover and have the interest.

  9. As I stated earlier, it’s not always necessary to work 80 hours a week to get noticed. Rather, search out the work that will benefit you the most in your career.

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