You work hard to keep your job and earn that paycheck, but is the paycheck you do earn truly indicative of what you bring to the company? One of the biggest complaints both from employees and those stuck in the job market is that people are not being paid what they’re worth. Nearly everyone, regardless of their field, feels they should be making better salaries. And it’s not just those toiling away at thankless, minimum wage jobs. Even high-level executives feel they’re not being accurately compensated for what they bring to the table. Entitlement is certainly a side effect of our modern, impatient society, where everyone feels they should get what they want exactly when they want it. But that doesn’t mean your expectations for better pay are without merit. There are ways to go about rectifying the problem, demonstrating your value and leaving your employers with no choice but to adjust your income. Here’s a look at a few strategies you can utilize to help insure you are truly being paid what you are worth.
Keep a log of your successes. If you don’t know exactly what your work accomplishes, there’s no way your employers will know. So make sure you are documenting all your work in a way that can easily be communicated to others. Companies don’t generally reward people for simply doing what they should be doing; they reward problem solvers. So break your accomplishment list down based on the problem or challenge that existed, and what you did to solve or rectify it. If you can, describe any and all quantifiable results that can be extrapolated from your actions. When you get called in for your performance review, you can provide your employer with this written summary. This will give them a clear understanding of what you accomplished without having to trust in their memories. It’s tough to argue with results laid out in black and white, and may help you get that raise.
Take advantage of mentorship opportunities. You can be your own biggest fan, but it will always help your cause to have someone else singing your praises. Do whatever you can to find someone at your company to act as your mentor. It may not seem like it, but people love to help their coworkers. If you can find the courage to ask for help, chances are a more experienced member of your company will step in. With their guidance, you can look at your performance and find areas of improvement, and you can also call on them to act as a respected reference when your work is up for review.
Never stop learning. Regardless of whether you’ve been in the workforce for two years or two decades, you could always use some additional education. Continuing your studies with a program that will contribute to your job performance shows your employer that you are serious about your work, and consider their company to be a career and not just a paycheck. Additional education will also open up opportunities to specialize, instantly making you more valuable to the company.
Don’t stop at ‘good enough’. Think you’re worth more money than you’re getting? The only thing you can actually do to prove it is roll up your sleeves and perform. Again, the truly valuable employees, the ones that smile when they open their payroll checks, are the ones that take the initiative to go beyond their manager’s expectations. If you deliver well more than is asked, it will be nearly impossible for your employer to deny that you’re worth more money.
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.