Negotiating salary

Let me give you an example of how salary works:

When I was a entry level retail salesperson we all got paid the same, about $12 per hour. Why? Because I was easy to replace if I wanted more money. They could post another ad online or wherever and get 10 more people would come in next week who are willing to do the retail job for $12 per hour.

You see if Bob came in and he only averaged selling 8 cars per month and asked for a raise, John the manager would tell him to take a hike because he knows he can hire almost anybody who can sell 8 cars a month.

Now if Jenny came in who averages selling 20 cars a month and if she wanted a higher commission percentage then John’s going to be in a real pickle…. You see, Jenny helps John bring in over 50K per month in sales. If he loses Jenny then his bonus goes bye-bye. John gives Jenny a raise. Jenny is happy and John is happy.

And that is how raises and salary works. You might be saying “Well that works for commissioned sales people but what about salary workers who don’t work on commission?” I’m glad you asked because I have another story for you.

Jeff is a HR recruiter for a big medical company. Jeff gets paid a fair salary of $65K per year. He fills on average 25 positions a month for his medical company. He thinks he deserves a raise so he asks his boss Charlotte for a raise.

Now Charlotte being a “Minute Manager” and fresh of a SPHR conference tells Jeff that according to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics he is paid in the top 25th percentile of recruiters in the Medical Sector. But come next year they will have a new contract with a large medical group and she will revisit his request for a raise.

Sammy also works as a recruiter for Charlotte. Sammy is awesome because he fills between 40–50 jobs per month. Sammy makes 65K like Jeff because that’s what the “industry” norm is for Medical HR recruiters. Sammy gets a phone call from Megan over at ABC Medical.

“Sammy we just landed a huge contract with HCA and we have over 200 positions to fill. Would you consider coming to work with me? I know the kind of work you do for Charlotte and I promise you that I will take care of you?”

“I’m pretty happy where I’m at. Charlotte takes us to happy hours, and we go on retreats that involve team building exercises and trust falls. I feel like she really gets me.”

“Sammy, I can pay you $95K per year. I will make you a Recruiting Manager and you will have two generalists working for you? We have 200 positions to fill in 90 days and I know you’re the guy that can help us!”

“When do you want me to start?”

The salary Sammy and Jenny can command is in direct proportion to the results they can produce in their role.

The more you can produce the more you can confidently negotiate in salary.


I can’t find the right career, which is upsetting me. I’m a 25 year old introvert with too many interests and yet too much ambition. What…

My answer to I can't find the right career, which is upsetting me. I'm a 25 year old introvert with too many intere…

Answer by Jason Barber:

It’s called Resistance. Now that you’ve decided to jump into your start-up the Resistance will be stronger. Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’ve read it 3 times and I’ll read it 3 more times.

Resistance is real. It’s only goal is to destroy you.

We’re all in a war against Resistance.

Every entrepreneur who has “made it” still fights back the shitty feelings of inadequacy. Daily. Minute by minute.

Elon Musk said 'Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.’

We freak out every morning. One day you wake up and feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. Next day, you’re hurled over in the fetal position clinging for life and wondering what in the hell you’re doing.

Resistance will take her high heel, press against it your throat to suffocate you.

Amateurs have dreams. Pros have a job to do. Your dream will turn to a nightmare. There will be blood.


You’ve got to go through the shit to get to the promised land.

To alleviate your suffering. Read everything by Steven Blank about startups. It is practical. Also, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Eric tutored at Steven’s feet. They are the meat and potatoes of startups.

Finally, read Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Call it the ‘manifesto’ of startups.

When you are crying from the bloodshed and terror of the abyss, remember that you are embarking on a journey that less than 5% of people will take.

I can't find the right career, which is upsetting me. I'm a 25 year old introvert with too many interests and yet too much ambition. What…

The Facebook Myth

If only I could invent something like Facebook then I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a job. If only I could come up with an idea like that then I would be better off.

And that is what I like to call The Facebook Myth. The belief that we all have the ability inside of us to found or invent a billion dollar idea. You’ve been reading The Secret and watching Oprah too much. Do I think the ability is in each person? Maybe, but the probability is less than 1% of 1%.

There are about 350,000,000 people in the US. Figure 50% of them are children and teenagers who add less than 1% value to the productive economy. There are about 500 billionaires in the US. (Thank you Wiki) That is .000001 % of the population. That is your chance of becoming a billionaire.

There are 8,000,000 millionaires in the US. (Thank you again Wiki) Those odds are a bit more in your favor. 2.2% to be precise. You have a 2% chance in becoming a millionaire. To be a bit more realistic we should separate those under 18 and that increases your chances to about 5%.

You could subtract out the federal, state, and county workers who will most likely never become rich and increase your odds to about 10%.

I’m fully confident in saying that you will not become a billionaire founder who will become the next Facebook. If you’re reading this post by some random guy in Texas than the odds are even greater that you will not become a billionaire. Or be the next Mark Zuckerburg.

How to get a job at Apple


Start by praying to the god of your choice. I’m personally a fan of Jesus.

Then summon the courage to handle rejection.

Finally, realize that Apple has over 10,000 people a day that want to work for them.

You have a 1 in 10,000 shot in landing a job with Apple.

I’m upsetting you. The truth hurts.

It is not impossible to get a job with Apple. Since they have thousands of employees.

To best hack your chances, go to LinkedIn and study the profiles of several Apple employees.

Or even better, have a programmer friend write an algorithm that analyzes the education, work experience, and profile patterns of all the Apple employees on LinkedIn. Then analyze the trends.

Get to work on adding those trends steadily to your resume. What I am proposing is very difficult. You will want to give up. But again, you only have about a 1/10000 shot at landing with Apple. That is the level of commitment it will take to get in.

Nobody cares about your cover letter

Nobody really cares about cover letters. They are mainly bull shit. Now some hiring managers love to read cover letters and take them way too seriously.

I don’t even know who invented a cover letter anyways.

Most job descriptions are bull shit. Mainly because HR needs a long list of hypothetical what ifs built into the job in case the candidate comes back and says “That was never a part of the job I signed up for”.

So they add more and more shit to the description to make sure they cover all of their basis.

There are always 2–3 key skills a hiring manager must have in the role. If having the required programming language experience is a must have by the boss then you MUST have that experience.

Don’t sweat it, if you really want to make an impression with the boss. Do a ton of research to find a hiring manager in the said firm. Invite them to a cafe for a cup of coffee. Ask them about the pain in the ass business problems they are trying to solve.

If you have the solution then propose it. If you don’t get back with them in a week or two when you do.

If you have to have experience in a certain programming language go and get the experience practicing as a freelancer or doing the work on spec.

There are a million and one ways to get around the ol “I need you to know this” conundrum HR puts candidates through.

I’m writing a book about the madness of job search. Email me if you are interested in a free copy

The signal and the noise


I would contend that observations are more important than questions. What people say they are going to do isn’t near as important as what you SEE them do.

Ask to speak with 2-3 people currently working for the company. Do a reverse reference check. The company gives you employee references.

Ask what they like most about working for Company X?

Ask what do they like least about working for Company X?

Ask what is the greatest challenge facing the company?

Specifically, ask to speak with a person who is currently reporting to your prospective boss.

You want to know what it is like working for them. Are they going places in the company?

Working for the right boss has a greater impact on your career trajectory than the actual job.

If you are working for a boss that is on the rails and at risk of getting canned. Run away.

Discern the signal from the noise. What does that mean? Most of the crap we hear is noise. Occasionally, there are a couple of common themes that come up over and over again. That is the signal.

For example, I’m currently reading the book Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Lots of gossip and noise is spouted about Elon in the news and media. Most of it is crap. The book mentions it.

Yet, there are consistent themes you learn about Elon. He is ruthless and persistent to get a job done. That is the signal.

TMZ is noise. Reading 20 interviews Elon has done, that’s the signal. News equals noise. Signals are harder to get to.

Most questions you ask will get you bull shit noise. “Our company culture is so unique and amazing” and now I’m going to throw up.

The signal you need to know is found in the common themes you find from the people working for the company. Not from us recruiters working our ass off getting you to sign the offer.


Take that shot


How to take risks when all you have is one last shot to make it big.

Most people think of the heart pounding key moments that make a big difference and forget about the million small failures that happened along the way.

Kris Jenkins missed 1000 jump shots in his college career. The one that needed to go in went in.

Many of us are too scared to take the final shot. We are hoping someone else will call for the ball.

Call for the ball.

Kris called for the ball.

Take the shot.

What if  you miss?

Michael Jordan claims to have missed the most game winning shots.

Jordan thinks his team’s would have won more games if others were willing to take the winning shot.

Many games come down to the final shot.

Most of the shots don’t go in.

You only need ONE shot to go in and you are a hero.

You may miss 1000 times.

Missed shots are feedback.

Missing the shot takes courage.

Back to the drawing board.

What is the shot you need to be taking?

Is it starting a business?

Asking the girl to dance?

Asking the guy to coffee?

Taking the job?

Asking for the job?

Most of us are average at most things.

There is one thing, one niche, that only can be served by you.

Find it.

That is your shot to take.

You will make that shot more than most.

Michael Jordan is an average baseball player.

Average NBA executive.

You can’t be great at everything.

What is your one thing?

Take that shot. 

Masters of Rejection


Ross Perot was rejected 77 times before he got his first yes after he left IBM.

77 no’s until he got his first yes….

I hate being rejected but I’m also an expert at being rejected. Most people can’t deal with it. They’re afraid of the tribe kicking them out.

George Strait was turned down by every major record label in the 70s.

Ross Perot and George Strait, masters of rejection. So good at being told, we’re not interested. Maybe, or I’ll get back to you. Maybe means no. Let me think about it is rejection.

Average, good, and great. Average people get rejected and it stings and puts them out of commission. Good people get rejected and they go down for a bit but they eventually get back up. Great people laugh at rejection. They give rejection the finger.

How to give rejection the finger. “F” you rejection. I’m not great. I admit. But I’ve been around plenty of great people who know how to tell rejection to go “F” off. (I’m too professional to say the F word)

I’m amazed and in awe how different people deal with rejection. I have a PhD in rejection. I got my first taste of it when I was 5. Mom and Dad split up. Dad took my sister and I. All of my life I’ve felt rejected by my mom.

Here are reasons why rejection is common and how to get over it

It is easier to say no than yes

Do you want to go to dinner with me? No! Do you want buy my product? No! Do you want to have sex? No! Do you want to fall in love? Hell no?!

No is just easier. Everybody meets you and thinks no, not really. You really can’t blame them. It is hardwired in us to be suspicious of people not in our tribe.

Studies show that it is 76% easier to say no than yes. Not really I just made that statistic up. I don’t know what the studies show but we all know more people say no than yes.

You’re not in my tribe

For thousands of years we lived in small tribes. Living in big cities is new to us. Even though a majority of people live in big cities we still think and act like we live in the woods.

Evolutionary psychology points to our tribal roots as the main cause of a majority of people who reject new ideas.

People reject us because we are not apart of their tribe. Back when you and I were more like Tarzan we trusted our tribe to share food and shelter with us. It meant we had a greater chance of survival.

Even though we don’t live in the woods anymore we still hold true to our tribal roots.

No trust

I don’t trust you. You just called me out of the blue? Who the hell are you? I’ve never heard of you.

Trust is earned in small steps. Then one big step. Rejection comes in small steps. With each incremental move towards trust you get small doses of rejection.

Pattern recognition

The no pattern is easier to spot than the yes-pattern. Let me explain. Most opportunities are dead ends. We are hardwired in the woods to spot all of the no’s around us.

Don’t eat that it tastes like shit. Don’t walk over there the snake will bite me. This looks like that damn leaf that gave me poison ivy on my ass. No way.

We don’t live in the woods anymore. But we are still experts at spotting “no patterns”. Which is a good thing. You are here today because your ancestors were great at saying no to most things.

The no pattern is important because our brains can’t recall enough knowledge to know everything. We can’t have Google brains so we need to recognize patterns. Pattern recognition works and requires less knowledge.

Saying no to most things is right

Remember the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey? Great movie and it is funny because life would be really strange if we said yes to everything.

Life is too complex to say yes to everything.

Women can’t say yes to every guy.

The egg can’t say yes to every sperm.

The soil can’t say yes to every seed.

The publisher can’t say yes to every book.

The sun can’t say yes to every planet.

The universe can’t say yes to every star.

Everyone can’t say yes to this post.


Passion can ruin your life


Steven Pressfield wrote the best book on turning pro. He doesn’t talk about being passionate. I don’t remember one single line in the book about passion. The War of Art, I’ve read it 3 times. I’ll read it 3 more times.

Most passion is bull shit and will get you in trouble. My passion gets me in more trouble than helps me. I don’t know anything about passion helping me at my job. It usually freaks people out.

You have to follow your passion? Blah blah blah. Following passion may cause you to fall off a cliff or into the wrong person’s bed and at the wrong end of a shotgun.

I’m completely qualified to discuss how passion can ruin your life. I even won an award for my passion. I don’t know how that happened.

Having passion sounds sexy and cool. Having passion may even get you around more beautiful people.

Pursuing success and passion are the rabbit hole. “Take the red pill and you wake up in Wonderland”.  Passion is The Matrix.

Passion is a byproduct

Gasoline is a byproduct of oil. Invention is mostly  a happy accident of curiosity and tinkering. Batteries, a happy accident, a byproduct of something that happened in a steel mill. Really smart people call it the adjacent possible.

Passion is the adjacent possible that comes from pursuing any work or venture out of curiosity and then passion shows up late to the party. You think wow what took you so long passion.

Measuring Passion

Measuring passion  is like trying to measure the current in a river. It is fleeting. Just when you notice it is here it is already gone.  A pro knows that passion comes and goes. Some days you are in love and other days you hate your kids.

Passion makes me a terrible father. Commitment and routine make me a better father. Passion is fire that left unchecked will burn a hole in my chest.

But don’t you have to love what you do?

Love is not passion. Love is altogether something different. Love doesn’t just arrive at the door when you ask her to. Love has to be nurtured  and developed. Like a delicate flower that grows serendipitously.

Passion is more like lust. You have to be right. They have to be wrong. You just have to have the forbidden fruit. You must have the object of your desire.  I have to be rich. If I can just be the boss then everything will be better.

If I can just ….(fill in the blank)

We can go on for days here. If I can just be promoted then my wife  will respect me.  If I can just be passionate about Tax Law then I won’t want to blow my brains out.

If I can just get her to notice me then she will let me have sex with her and then we can have a house, kids, dogs, and credit cards bills.

If I can just get my boss off my back then I’ll perform better.

If I can just be passionate about my job then I’ll be happy.

There is no “If I can just “ it’s the red pill in The Matrix. This constant thought pattern will ruin your life. Add some passion to this thought pattern and then you are in for a disaster.

You can’t stop the thought pattern from coming. You can stop it from running wild in your mind. Be aware when the “If I can just” thought pattern infests your mind and makes its home in your brain.

Curiosity is better than passion

I’m curious about people. I don’t know why. I go anywhere I want to hear your story. Others would say wow he is really passionate about people. I’m not really. I’m curious.

I sell for a living. Selling from a position of curiosity works better for me than selling from a position of passion.

1 + 1 = 0

Being passionate about your work plus working for a company who is passionate about other things equals zero.

For example, you are passionate about improving your company’s product. The company is passionate about cutting costs. This formula equals zero. Go to the higher ups. Determine what they are most interested in. If there is alignment then you have something. If not, plan your exit strategy.

It is difficult for your personal  passion to align with your boss or even the CEO. Finding that alignment is key. When there is alignment your job is 10 times as fulfilling.

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about. That’s okay. Be grateful that your passion isn’t digging you a deeper hole where you are at.

Stop trying to find your passion

Worry less about what you’re passion about. Instead focus on what you are curious about. Do an inventory of what interests you. Ask those you are closest to what you’re good at.

Ride the river of curiosity and along the way and the currents of passion will carry you.