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To know what a good salary is, you have to understand what it comprises of. It’s not just a game of numbers and equations. A good salary has to meet three different requirements, all of which can make a big difference in your life. Here are the three crucial aspects of a good salary.
You may have heard of the term “minimum wage”, which is the lowest legal fee that a person should be paid in any job. While you can live on minimum wage, that’s not an ideal salary. It’d be like saying that a person can stay alive on just water and bread. Minimum wages might meet the bare essentials, but they don’t necessarily fit the lifestyle you have or desire.
Instead, a good salary covers all your living wages. Compared to minimum wage, living wages focus on meeting all the needs of your life. This means being paid enough money to afford your meals, clothing, housing, monthly bills, and more. If the salary you have is enough to give you a satisfying and comfortable life, then that’s a sign of a good paycheck.
Let’s clear the air first: education is not a guaranteed path to a good life. There are many examples of people who have become successful without finishing school or having a college degree. Popular examples include Jay-Z, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Simon Cowell.
That said, having high educational attainment, such as postgraduate or doctorate degrees, can certainly add more dollars to your name. Because learning is such a big investment, it’s only fair that your salary meets those same standards. Therefore, if you have studied and garnered a lot of educational achievements, you should expect some compensation from your paycheck. However, remember that smarts alone won’t be enough to find out how much you should be paid. You also have to put in effort and discipline if you want to make that degree worthwhile.
Aside from education and lifestyle, a good and livable salary should match your age and stage of your career. It’s not surprising that newer recruits will get a different paycheck from older, tenured veterans. However, if you’ve spent a lot of time for a company and your paycheck hasn’t grown over time, it could be a sign that you aren’t getting enough. Remember, different stages in your life and career have different needs. Always be mindful of them as you review your salary. If the money you get doesn’t hurt your hinder you in any way, then you can say you’re being paid well.
Now that you know what a good salary should look like, it’s time for you to examine your current pay. Doing so can help you understand how much value you give to the company and what your compensation is. Here are seven easy steps you can take to find out how much you should be paid.
First, you need a benchmark to understand if you’re being paid well enough or not. It’s easy for companies and recruiters to sell you on the idea that your salary is worthwhile. Many new hires and fresh graduates can fall for a cheaper paycheck because they don’t know any better.
So, if you want to know if a job offer, a current role, or a promotion is worthwhile, take some time to review similar jobs online. Doing so can help you get a general range of how much money people make, whether it’s a niche business or a popular position. If you notice that you’re not being paid as well as similar jobs, that’s when you need to talk to the boss.
Aside from looking up jobs online, it’s a good idea to reach out and speak to colleagues in the same industry or organization. They can talk over the terms of your job to spot anything odd or unfair. For example, talking with team members can help you find out if your team leader is giving everyone equal or equivalent pay. If not, then you can use that information to make a point about why you should be compensated better.
Colleagues aren’t the only source of advice and feedback that you can reach out to. If possible, speak to your mentors and other experts in the field. They usually have more years of work experience to help you understand how good a paycheck can be. Some may have even been in the same position you’re in, trying to figure out if your paycheck is fair or not. Take some time to talk about your pay and ask for their opinion, whether about the money itself or the benefits it brings. That way, you can find out how much you should be paid from a more knowledgeable standpoint.
Are you taking on more tasks than you used to? For example, you might get more leadership opportunities, like a team leader or manager. You may also notice that you’re attending more meetings and discussions that go beyond your original job description.
If that’s the case, that means you’re getting more responsibilities at work. In that case, it’s only fair that you’re being paid for the extra effort. Even if it’s not a formal promotion, doing work outside of your job description should be compensated properly. If you notice that you’re working harder than ever, but your paycheck is still the same, that’s a sign that you’re being underpaid.
With the country facing higher and higher prices, as well as unemployment, due to inflation, it’s time to go and check your salary. What you’re being paid at work should match the rising price of inflation, especially since you need to pay off your bills. So, if you notice that your paycheck now costs less because of inflation, that could mean that you’re not being paid enough.
Inflation isn’t the only kind of growth that can affect your salary. How your company is performing should also give a clear picture of your paycheck. If it’s struggling or not doing as well as expected, then don’t be surprised if your salary has remained the same. In some cases, you might even be asked for a pay cut to help the company out.
However, if your company has grown over the past few months or years, then you need to look at your salary and ask why it’s not growing. For example, you might notice that your company can now afford to hire thirty people, instead of ten. If that happens, and yet your paycheck hasn’t gone up, then you need to start approaching the boss.
Lastly, it’s important that whatever salary issues or concerns you have, you take time to speak to the human resources department or your boss about it. One reason is that a professional approach can help get you an immediate raise, especially if you present enough evidence to back your value.
Another reason is how a job position gets advertised. In some states, you might never find out the salary range until you get your first paycheck, simply because you didn’t ask. Other times, you might see offers where the annual salary range can go from $50 000 to $100 000, which still gives the employer some leeway. The sooner you approach HR or your boss, the sooner you can clarify any misunderstandings or concerns.
Let’s say that you do find out how much you should be paid and it’s not enough. Perhaps you notice that you can earn at least a hundred dollars extra for the work you’ve put in. You might have also seen that you’re not getting as much payment as the employees of other companies. Now, reasons like that may convince you to cut ties and leave your job. However, it doesn’t have to go that far.
Asking for a raise can do a lot more for your career than you realize. First of all, broaching the subject allows you to speak to the boss or the managers. It’s a good way to understand their side and to show them your value to the company. It can also help you understand how to negotiate for what you want, a skill that is sorely needed if you want to be successful. If you decide to ask for a raise, here’s what you can do to secure one.
No matter how passionate or accomplished you are at work, the bottom line is what you’ve done for the company. A postgraduate degree and a five-year tenure won’t mean much if you don’t have numbers or facts to support your claims. So, whenever you decide to ask for a raise, present yourself and your work in demonstrable detail.
For instance, you can use time trackers to highlight how many hours of the week you actually commit to your job. If you show that you’re consistent, on time, and productive in each of these hours, your boss will be more likely to agree with you.
Beyond the statistics, it’s important that you demonstrate your plans and vision for the company too. What you’ve done before can be evidence of your hard work; what you plan to do, however, can be a reason for the company to make you an asset.
Be confident and highlight how you can improve the company or contribute to its efforts. For example, you can learn skills like social media marketing or video editing to help in the advertising department.
Once you find out how much you should be paid, you probably think that speaking to your boss will be dangerous. You might feel like you’re entering into a hostile battleground. Worse yet, you might even think that you have to be aggressive in fighting for your salary.
However, not every raise request has to be done with a face-to-face sit-down. More importantly, it doesn’t have to look or feel as intimidating as the movies make it seem. Consider writing down and requesting your raise through formal letters and e-mails to the boss or the HR department. You can present the same facts and details that you would in a live meeting, all without having to strain your voice. More importantly, you can also make and follow up on requests without impeding your workflow.
Lastly, if you’re going to push for a well-earned raise, always make sure to check what other companies offer. You can find multiple websites and calculators online that compare and contrast the prices of various jobs. It can go as simple as a nationwide search, or as specific as a company-to-company breakdown.
Once you know how much you can earn elsewhere, make sure to point that out when negotiating for your pay. As long as your work makes a big difference in the workplace, you’ll both find out how much you should be paid and you’ll get your dues.
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