Underpaid. We have all felt like this at one point in our life. It may be whilst working for a corporate and it may also be whilst working for yourself.
The disheartening feeling is especially intense when you have been working your butt off, with long hours, and not much social life to speak of.
When you are at that point, where you feel underpaid and generally undervalued, it is, in fact, a good place to be.
Why, you ask?
Well, this is where you can do something about it.
But, first, make sure you really are underpaid.
Here is how you can check and what do do about it:
1. Your colleagues are earning more on similar education and experience
A little birdie let you know that Joe down the passage is earning more. Okay, maybe you got a glimpse of his payslip whilst he was making coffee. If you are quite sure they are earning more and you strongly feel your salary should be pushed up in line, then make your case clear and communicate it to your superior.
2. You’re doing way more now but with no salary increase
This is a common problem, and it happens gradually over time. Before you know it, its been 3 years, double the work load, and no extra money. Again, make your list of reasons you feel you deserve a salary increase, and present it to your boss.
3. You’ve trolled the job ads and they are offering more for the position you are in
Most companies don’t keep up with the going rate and it is your responsibility and duty to inform them of this. Remember, if you leave, they will need to go out into the market, go through the process of interviews, hire someone, pay them the rate that is market related, and then not really know if the person is ideal. All pointers to bring up when you go in for that talk.
4. You were underpaid to begin with
Often, when in a desperate situation, i.e. jobless, one takes whatever one can get. And, it is possible you took a lower salary than the market norm from the onset. If some time has passed, and you feel you’re doing a stellar job, then its time to ask for that raise.
5. The company is giving increases and bonuses but not to you
Time to assess your work productivity. Are you really giving it all you can? Are you delivering your best work everyday? Sometimes, it is not the company that is at fault when it comes to underpaying. You might just be receiving that lowly wage because you are not living up to what the job requires. Time for a self assessment. Once you bring that level up, you can look to speaking to the boss about an increase.
6. The company is doing well, yet they don’t share the love
It is a common modus operandi with small business. When the sales are doing well, they generally hold on to their cash, worried that a fall is on its way. So, while you may not see the love through a bonus or increase, make sure you understand the dynamics of the company you work for.
If you are still not sure why you are underpaid, then have an open and frank conversation with your boss or manager. It needn’t be a telling off scenario but rather a way to understand your position, how the company views your value and how the money fits in.