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Two Sentence Pay Raise


If you still have kids at home, you may be looking for a way to boost their future careers. Most of us have this sort of convoluted path laid out.

If they get good grades and if they do well in extracurricular activities and if they score well on their ACT or SAT exams and if the college gives a good enough scholarship…then they should have a good enough resume, that should get a good look from an HR department that should result in a good interview that should get enough of a salary that should pay for the cost of the education.

But there’s another more straightforward path that is open to any kid any time with any job. It’s free. In fact, it will only take about 10 seconds to do. It’s called the two-sentence pay raise and it’s illustrated through two stories.

One story is from the father of three kids. He wanted to teach them about work ethic but that is tough when your kids are young. It’s hard for kids to get a job before 14, and in some places before 15 or 16. So he thought about the old lawn mowing business—send the kids out with the push mower and let them earn a living that way. 

Well, guess what? Kids don’t know how to mow a lawn the right way, so he spent a good deal of time that summer going through all the steps at all the lawns, checking the work, making sure there weren’t shortcuts, making sure it was not a pity job for the neighbor kid, but actually a professional mowing job.

And then, he instructed them, when the job is done, knock on the door and say, “I’m done with your lawn now, is there anything else I can do before I leave?”

Now imagine you’re retired; you no longer care to mow your lawn and a 13-year-old kid comes up and asks to mow your lawn. Imagine that his dad accompanies him the first few times to make sure it’s done right. And now imagine the kid shows up on your doorstep and asks if there’s anything else he can do.

Do you think that retiree ever brings up that kid in conversation? “Let me tell you, that’s a hardworking kid, and so courteous!” I’ll take it a step further. Imagine that whenever that kid works anywhere, he always follows up with the same question: “Is there anything else I can do before I leave?”

And remember that these kids weren’t out-of-the-womb saints. They were taught by their dad all the steps in a job done right. It meant he invested plenty of time, but parents have put in at least that much time on booster clubs and fundraisers.

And now I’ll add four more words that will improve your worth even more. This comes from a call center that saw their customer satisfaction increase drastically by adding these two sentences to the end of each call: “Is there anything else I can do? I have the time.”

The last four words not only state your availability to help, but also state your willingness to help.

The convoluted path to career success works for some. But two little sentences improve anyone’s chances of landing a job, getting promotions and succeeding—either in the company that hires you—or from the impressed customer who tries to hire you away from that company, no matter what your age is.

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