Progress Margin

Josh Loera
4 min readFeb 9, 2021

Progress vs. Profit

Profit margin is defined as a measure of profitability calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue. Essentially, how much of the total revenue is left after costs. My argument is that it can be useful to look into something I call “Progress Margin”. I define it as how much progress has been made resultant from a decision that came with a cost.

Two years ago, I made a move to my current employer. It was a lateral move with more responsibility and for roughly the same pay. As much as I wanted to leave my last company, I was knew the product, the territory and the clients well. I had increased the market share and the forecast financially was bright. In short, I did not need to leave that job and this new company had been struggling to fill the position that I knew I would fit into perfectly.

Therefore, I had some leverage and I knew, at the time, that I could probably push harder for a slightly more competitive pay…. but decided not to and accept the a similar compensation. Now, this can be labeled an opportunity cost i.e. I “left money on the table”, I lost out on a raise, I missed out on potential earnings.. so on and so forth FOMO wording.

So, why did I want to leave? As well as I knew that I would continue to increase my sales and my resultant income , I also knew that the job would become less and less challenging and upward movement was not likely (being a relatively small company with little middle/upper management).

The new company didn’t have bright outlooks for promotion either (I knew this from a friend that worked there/here before me who was lined up for a promotion. At the last minute his boss didn’t approve the move since he was too valuable as a part of that team… story for another time). What interested me most was the opportunity to learn more complicated products and how to help clients implement them into their projects (sell them). Other skills I would learn at the new company: A slightly different type of client, CRM management, operating in a larger corporate structure, and more.

Besides gaining new skills, there were other benefits: company car and credit card vs the mileage and expense reimbursements, job security, and peace of mind. The first company was run by an emotional and unpredictable man who can change his mind on a dime as to who he did and did not like, firing with any justification (if any). Not to mentioned that he had threatened to fire me on occasion early on. Not great for my mental health.

Anyway, the point is that I chose “progress” over “profits”. I gained new skills that will stay with me when/if money goes. And ultimately, I think I knew that I would be leaving this industry eventually and the goals in the meantime should be to learn as much as possible and save as much money as possible. Which brings me to two years later. I’ve been able to sell my personal vehicle (eliminating a car note), pay off a huge chunk of my college loans, and save a good amount of money. With the newly developed job security, I’ve been able to focus more on my creative side after work or in any free time during the work day. I’ve learned technical skills like photoshop, adobe illustrator, UX design, character design and logo design. I’ve also added infrastructure to my hobby to make it run more like a business such as building a website, making a newsletter, investing in a PC, starting streaming on twitch and more.

The plan was to spend 3 years at the new job and by that time hopefully my gf would be planning on traveling to another part of the world with her new Masters in Epidemiology. I would tag along with her and delve deeper into my learning and building my business/new career in creativity. Well two years deep, my partner has a position lined up in another country and moved in late January. I will follow here soon, quitting my steady income to hopefully bet on myself and my interests. In this situation, words like promotion, culture, and progress have a slightly different meaning but If I had been solely focused on “profits” or income over things that might seem unimportant or trivial, I might not be in a position to try to make the move. Any way, this could all just be a rationalization for a horrible decision that I made two years ago. Nonetheless, here we go. I hope it works out.



Josh Loera

I quit my job in the Civil Engineering Industry to pursue my passion in arts. I’m a Mex-American, Chicano artist that loves to bring BIPOC beauty to the front