This maxim really applied to me a few months ago. To save a dollar or two, I bought the cheapest toothbrush in the store – and ended up paying hundreds of dollars after the rough bristles damaged my dental work.
Of course, it can be difficult to tell when you’re being frugal and when you’re being “pound foolish.” The area becomes even greyer when it comes to your career. Isn’t the point of a job to MAKE money? Why would you need to spend anything? Consider the following:
1) You’re company won’t cover the cost of a certification you’re interested in pursuing. The fee is nearly $1,000, so you forget about it. A year later, you’re passed over for a promotion, in large part because you aren’t certified. You’ll miss out on the additional $7,000 in ANNUAL income.
2) You’re ready for the interview and have great references, but the screeners can’t get past your clothes. You’re aiming for a senior-level role with a lot of public contact, but your suit is frayed around the edges and doesn’t seem to fit. The decision makers are concerned about a lack of self-awareness – and wonder if you’ll project the authority and self-confidence to lead a team.
These examples are just to illustrate how investing – or not investing – can impact your career. However, it can be difficult to determine just which costs are worth the expense. Assess each on a case-by-case basis and ask yourself, “where I am I being held back?” and “what do I need to help me get to the next level?” Though not an exact science, taking the time to evaluate each situation will enable you to make an educated decision. Plus, it’ll ensure you spend within reason – while you should dress professionally, it’s not an excuse to buy a brand new wardrobe each season!