You get in your car and drive the same route, at the same time, you’ve driven for years. Your building comes into view. You go in, do your job, get out and go home. Five days a week, for the last 20 years. People have come and gone. Then, a new person in your department starts complaining about their pay and let’s it slip what they make. It’s several dollars and hour more than you (or several thousand a year).
I talk to people about their jobs daily. Some people love what they do, and usually they are talking to me on my podcast about it. Most, are either indifferent or despise their current role. We often talk about complaints they have, reasons they stay and what their future plans are.
The talk of being paid less has come up a lot lately. Especially in an economy where companies are hiring at a pretty steady rate. And this may just be my opinion, but it seems the younger generations are more openly talking about what they make. Which means people who have worked at a company for years are learning about the new pay rates for on-boarding.
No one is happy about it.
There’s two solutions I have for this. If you’ve been working at a company for longer than five years, I would highly suggest these. They are going to feel uncomfortable, but in the long run could really help pad your paycheck.
ONE: Ask for a raise
It’s awkward to ask for money. If you’re like me, you talk yourself out of it. I’m not pulling more weight, why should I get a raise? Now isn’t a good time with the company trying to expand/keep afloat. Why would they pay me more when I already work for less? These excuses are bullshit.
Go look up your job title/position on the internet. Find out what other people are making in your field. From what I’ve found, it’s usually more for people who have worked for the same company for a longer length of time. Even if it isn’t, you can always make the case you are more qualified and should be making more. Your loyalty and commitment are reason enough.
Once you have your backing, write a letter. You can ask in person, but always follow it up with a hard copy letter. This shows professionalism and demands to be taken seriously. If you’re not great at writing, hire someone to do this for you. It’s important. You can’t be taken seriously, if you’re not taking this seriously.
The one note I need to make here is that if you ask for a raise, you need to be ready to be told no. At that point you genuinely need to consider if this company/position is right for you anymore. Also, I do not recommend making any ultimatums, like you’ll leave if you don’t get a raise, unless you are going to follow through with it. If they fire you or say they are mutually parting ways, you need to be sound enough to leave right then and there.
That leads me to number two…
TWO: Find a new job
Humans, while hesitant to change, are extremely adaptable. There’s been all sorts of talk about keeping your mind and body engaged to live a long and healthy life. So, changing up the place you spend over 50% of your time, is a good thing!
Not only that, but when the economy is good, you’re likely to find your same position at another company making more. You’ll get a new environment, a raise and possibly better treatment.
Keeping the same job you hate is no longer required of you.
I’m honestly not sure when it ever was. Still, you should jump on things while the getting is good. Start your job hunt. At least put your resume out there and see what floats to the top. You can keep your current job (which I highly recommend doing) while looking for a new one. If nothing seems like it’ll better your life, at least you tried!
If you’ve been with a company for 5, 10, 15 years, you’ll need to update your resume. If you’ve been out of the job market for more than 5 years I recommend paying someone for this service. Things have changed a lot while you’ve been away.
Remember to never bad talk your previous employers, always give two weeks and try not to burn any bridges! You never know if you’ll need to cross them again. Utilize LinkedIn and keep in touch with previous colleagues/bosses. People move around a lot more now, so you’ll want to be in the loop if a future opportunity comes along.
I know that change is scary. It can seem like knowing and dealing with the things you hate is better than the unknown. But seriously. You need to ask yourself if you’re willing for this to be your life? If you’re feeling underpaid, you’re setting your value to that price. That affects a whole lot more than your paycheck. I encourage you to at least search. See what’s out there. Try something new. Ask to get paid. You deserve it.