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What Do YOU Think You’re Worth?

August 20, 2013 By admin | Write Comment

iStock_000002041548_SmallSo you’re sitting with your boss, and you’re going over his comments in your annual performance review meeting.  He notes that you’re a great team player, and you’re always there to take on a new task, regardless of its importance (or lack thereof).  Nothing is beneath you.  You’re always on time for work, and stay late whenever required.  The staff all like you and no one has any complaints about you or your work.  You ask all the right questions.  You get everything done on time.  In short, you’re a model employee and they tell you they wish they had a dozen more just like you.  Your head begins to swell and you unconsciously stick your chest out just a bit.  You’re proud.  You did good.

Now for the salary news.  Unfortunately, you are at the top of your pay scale and there will be no salary increase this year.


Your look of utter shock and stunned silence prompts a lame explanation from your boss.  According to all the salary information they have, they’re actually paying you more than you could get if you went to another firm, so it’s all the more incentive to stay right where you are.  There’s no indication that you will ever get any more than cost of living increases while you remain in this role, unless you are somehow able to get promoted to another position.  Unfortunately this is a small firm, and the only way that’s going to happen is if someone above you quits or retires.

You’re speechless.  There’s nothing more to say.  Your boss tells you to keep up the good work and the meeting is over.  The next thing you know, you’re back at your desk and your brain is a muddled mess.  They’re using a pay scale for your chosen profession, but you do a significant amount of extra work in the office as well.  You are saving them money by making it so they don’t have to hire additional staff.  Doesn’t that count for something?  Apparently not.

You see, there’s no category or pay scale for “multi tasking”.  Neither or  have definitions that cover your unique skill set and work history.  In short, you’re a valuable asset to the firm, and they don’t have to do anything extra to keep you.  All your hard work has gone for nothing.  Where did you go wrong?

In a previous blog I discussed my own situation, which is precariously close to the scenario described above.  I said that being the one who does multiple things for a small firm is achieving “job security”.  While this is indeed true, it does come at a price.  Your career may very well have hit a brick wall.  If you’re happy where you are, doing what you’re doing, and the people you work with – then read no more.  You have reached your own personal career nirvana.  The lack of a salary increase should be seen as nothing more an unfortunate side effect to an otherwise perfect employment path.

If however, you’re more like the stunned individual in the scenario above, then options have to be researched and decisions have to be made.  Is it worth your time to market your skill set to other employers?  Then comes the big question – what salary do YOU think you deserve?  On what do you base your worth?  Because you do accounting and some HR, or some IT, or some of the office management, should you get some extra compensation for that?  How much extra?

It is my belief that this scenario is not that unusual.  This is an age where many small firms have had to lay off people and in turn ask others to “pick up the slack”.  There is not much information out there on this subject, and I would like to start some discussion.  I would greatly appreciate any comments, concerns, ideas or suggestions you may have.

Stay tuned…

Michael Paulson

Follow Michael @paulsonmichaelj

CareerToolbox International, LLC

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