From Overlooked and Undervalued To Future-Proof Career

How to future-proof your career and get paid what you’re worth.

Corey Koehler
3 min readSep 14, 2023

This is where it all started — my red pill moment.

I started realizing how much value I was creating for the company I was working for.

This realization would help me become more future-proof and have more control over getting paid what I’m worth.

I was a draftsman working in standard product development at a commercial lighting. My product and process improvements were saving and making the company a crap ton of money.

Once I started doing the math, I started feeling underpaid.

I Had Two Options

I realized I had a couple of options;

  1. I could bitch about how unfair it is and how much I’m not getting paid (while standing there with my hand out begging for money… lame).
  2. I could look for a way to make it so that I can capitalize on my value and create leverage.

I chose the latter (although I did bitch a little too).

Lucky for me, these revelations started happening about the same time the internet really started taking hold in the early 2000s.

The internet opened a lot of doors because I could educate myself without going back to school again.

I was able to devour podcasts while I worked. Those podcasts lead to books, blogs, newsletters, and online courses.

I developed a love of learning and shit ton of new skills.

I learned how to build websites, publish podcasts, run pay-per-click ads, AND make money on the side.

It also led to opportunities I didn’t see coming.

Hidden Benefits

These skills helped me move up in the company, too.

Someone in upper management noticed that I built and was promoting a fantasy football website.

Next thing you know, I’m in the marketing department. I’m managing their website, running Google Ads, and sitting in on sales meetings.

I never went to college to learn any of this stuff. I learned it all on the web, in books, and by doing it. I am proud that I was able to do this. I am very grateful for living at a time when this is possible.

Eventually, after 17 years, I was able to walk away.

On July 3rd, 2013, I would walk away from Winona Lighting and start my own business.

Moral Of The Story

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I want you to see that you don’t have to sit around and wait for a boss or manager to value your skills.

You don’t have to wait around and HOPE they see your value.

HOPE they will give you a raise.

Or, at our age, HOPE they don’t replace or retire you.

Hope is not a strategy.

Do you know what is?


Learning new in-demand skills, leveraging your existing skills and experiences, and understanding how to sell them.

That is my strategy for a future-proof career.

What are your thoughts? Let's discuss. Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. One more thing before you go. I usually add some music to go along with my posts on the original posts.

If you want to hear what I chose with this one, check out the original post here:

Future-Proof Career Music

The song will be towards the bottom.

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Corey Koehler

Google Ads Guy | Entrepreneur | Music and NFL Geek | 80s Kid Sharing adventures in music, marketing & early unretirement.