In spite of our best efforts to guide you in the past, the last two years were a wash. You know it and so does the IRS (hey, one benefit to being unemployed? No taxes! But it’s time to move onward and upward. Forget 2008, leave 2009 in the rear view because 2010 is the year you kick your career into hyperdrive.

Land the job of your dreams

You’re unemployed, huh? Well you’re in good company… there’s roughly 20 million people in the same boat as you, buddy. And if you’re underemployed or just fed up with your gig, we’re talking about damn near everyone else in the workforce here.
So if you want to land your dream job, you’re looking at some bleak odds—there are tens of millions of other people who want the same job as you. So here’s our first pointer for scoring that job—STOP THINKING ABOUT THE ODDS!

Yes, it’s important to be realistic—when you see a job listing online for “Marijuana and Cheesecake Tester” you should know, in the back of your mind, that there are literally thousands of other fat guys in their underwear staring at the same job listing.

But though the odds aren’t great when you calculate all the other applicants out there, ANYTHING can happen. You might send in your resumé at the exact moment the recruiter is checking his e-mail. Boom! You’ve just stepped up the odds already. Then the recruiter opens your resumé—you went to Ohio State? Well so did he! Looks like he’s going to give a fellow Buckeye a call to schedule an interview.
When blindly applying to your dream job online, the odds are just as likely to be in your favor as they are not to be. So stop fretting and talking yourself out of applying and APPLY ALREADY.

But don’t hold your breath. While you’re steadily applying to listings you see online and in newspapers, you need to follow pointer number two and BE AWARE OF ALL OPPORTUNITIES. The vast majority of jobs are landed via connections.

You want that Marijuana and Cheesecake Tester gig? Start going through your rolodex and see if you know anyone in the burgeoning industry. Hmm, looks like your cousin Ted’s wife works for a cheesecake distributor. Looks like you’ll be heading to Ted’s annual Karaoke Jam.
Do some research and find out every possible angle to land that dream gig. And the whole time, make sure to keep applying to jobs online and following through with the ones you’ve applied to before, which brings us to pointer number three—TRY EVERYTHING. Keep your head up, kid—if you avoid the usual applicant inertia, you’ll land that gig.

Time to get a promotion

So you’ve been testing the finest in marijuana and cheesecake and you’re having a blast but you’ve come to the realization that you can do so much more—you’d like to move up to a managerial position. What do you do?
Well, the first step to a promotion is the most obvious—BE GREAT AT YOUR JOB. If you’re the absolute best Marijuana and Cheesecake tester the industry has ever seen, as soon as a managerial position opens up, it will be yours. Good deeds can sometimes go unrewarded but great, great deeds don’t.

But say the playing field is fairly even… there are five other dudes just like you who can do just as good a job as you. Then follow tip two and BE POPULAR. Office politics, even at the Marijuana and Cheesecake testing facility, can bog down productivity and general cheery office mood so if make sure to avoid the pettiness and be liked by everyone. If everyone loves you, especially the powers that be, you will move up and move up fast. And once you’re well liked and it’s known that you’re great at your job, follow step three and TELL ‘EM WHAT YOU WANT. There’s nothing embarrassing about telling the right people that you want to be promoted.

Now get that raise

So you’ve been the assistant manager of the Marijuana and Cheesecake Testing facility and you’re happy where you’re at. But you’d like to move to a new place and get a new car and do other stuff that requires more money than you’re currently making. So you’re going to need to ask for a raise. Good for you! Just know you’re about to tread on dangerous ground. Especially in the so-called Great Recession, an age of cutbacks. So be forewarned. But it can be done.

First step to getting a raise? KNOW YOUR VALUE. Seriously. Bust out a notebook and a calculator. Write down your current salary. Now start calculating your value to the company—how much does someone in your position normally make? How much revenue do you help bring in to the company? If your current salary is above your value to the company, do not ask for a raise. Hide your head and count your blessings.

But in the more likely scenario that your value to the company is higher than your current salary, it’s time to formulate a plan to get that raise. First thing you should know to do is PICK THE RIGHT TIME. The end of the year might seem like a logical time to ask for a raise… the company has seen a full year’s worth of your valuable contributions. Too bad that’s not how the economy works.

The fourth quarter (most likely October through December) is when a company is most hard pressed for cash. So even if your boss and your boss’ boss and hell the entire board agrees you’re the best damned employee the Marijuana and Cheesecake Testing facility has ever seen, there just won’t be the money there to give you that raise, what with the costs of keeping a company afloat and handing out seasonal bonuses taking up all the remaining cash.

The first quarter (January through March) and the second quarter (April through July) are most likely the best times to ask for a raise, with March and April being optimal months.

Also be aware of your boss’ mood and what’s going on in his professional life and with his family and outside pursuits. Asking for a raise is a risky proposition as it is so if you storm into your boss’ office the day after he’s been served divorce papers, he might not be in a giving mood.

So you know your value and you know when to ask for that raise… things could still go horribly wrong. So follow our final tip for getting a raise and BE POSITIVE. When you head into your boss’ office, don’t be a dick. Tell him your worth and show him how valuable you are. And if he still says no, don’t flip out. Tell him you understand and that you’re still going to be kicking butt for the company and suggest that the two of you can discuss the matter further at a more appropriate time.

If your boss is a reasonable man, that’s just what will happen. And if he’s a douche, don’t worry… you’ll outlast him anyways.