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Why Won't They Pay Me What I Am Worth?

Don Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors

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I wish I had a dollar for every time people complained to me that they are not paid what they are worth. I could retire rich. Almost everyone, regardless of income, education or position, believes that he or she should be earning more money. People at minimum wage obviously want to make more, but people at the highest levels also want more.

Professional athletes are a prime example. National Hockey League players make about $1.8 million annually, on average. They recently could not reach agreement with owners on an annual contract, despite the fact that the league is in extreme financial difficulty. As a result, the entire hockey season was cancelled.

Hey, it's tough to feed a family on $1.8 million these days. On one hand, the belief that we are "entitled" to more compensation speaks well for us as individuals. We possess strong self-worth and self-esteem and believe we should be highly compensated for who we are. On the other hand, too often our expectations are not founded on the realities of the marketplace or on our ability to "earn" our income based on performance.

If you want to maximize your compensation, there are a number of tactics you can use to demonstrate your value. Let?s take a look at some of these tactics.

1. Document Your Accomplishments. Here is an effective way to do that. Break your accomplishments into three parts. First, define the problem, situation or challenge in about two or three sentences. Second, in a bulleted format, show step-by-step how you solved the problem or accomplished the task. Finally, in a results paragraph, describe how your accomplishment was a benefit to the organization. Use good quantitative results if possible. Otherwise, define it in strong qualitative terms. During your annual performance review, present your written accomplishments to your boss. It is really tough to argue with well-documented performance. Odds are you will get your raise or promotion.

2. Find a Mentor. It is invaluable to have someone within your organization fighting for your success. It is not as difficult to find a mentor as some people think. It just takes the courage to ask. You might try a simple approach like the following: "I have always admired and respected what you have done for the company and the success you have achieved. As I grow in this job and in my career, I was wondering if, on occasion, you would be willing to give me some advice and guidance on how I might achieve success as well?" It is rare that anyone would say "NO" to such a nice comment and question. Give it a try. The rewards will be immense.

3. Continue Your Education. You can never have too much education and you are never too old to learn. Invariably education leads to new job opportunities, promotions and pay raises. Get that college degree; and then perhaps a graduate degree. But your education doesn?t have to be in college. Take trade courses, training seminars, or simply conduct independent research and study. You will never regret it.

4. Stay Contemporary. If you are "out of date" and "out of touch" with what is happening in the world, then your earning power will go "out the door." From technology advances to world news to the latest business, cultural and fashion trends, they are all relevant. By being able to communicate about what is happening all around us, we enhance our value and we become more marketable.

5. Perform Beyond Expectations. Always do more than you were asked to do. Take initiative to achieve superior results and make unexpected contributions. You will be recognized and rewarded for it.

6. Ask for the Raise or Promotion. If you have done your "homework," meaning you have followed all the steps above and established your value through exceptional performance, prepare your case and present it to your boss. You will be amazed at how often your initiative will totally launch your career in a new direction. The opportunities to earn "what you are worth" are out there, but it is up to you to seek them out. Your goals and expectations must be realistic - based on your value and contributions. If you are motivated and dedicated to achieving extraordinary performance, there is no limit to what you can earn.

Don Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors.com Don is a nationwide authority on contemporary job search strategies. His organization provides world-class outplacement and individual marketing services to senior-level executives. Corporate Warriors has earned industry acclaim for its world-class multimedia resume portfolios. Don can be contacted at don@corporatewarriors.com. Web site: www.corporatewarriors.com.

Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM


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