Are You Underpaid?

Are You Underpaid?

800 371 Kamal Karanth

One of my friend’s is in between jobs and was in consultation with me on his next move, amongst many things I needed to know I asked him his current salary, he mentioned his pay and added “you know I was anyways underpaid”. His salary indicated to me that his pay was indeed lower than some people of similar experience, but then is it fair to compare if someone is underpaid just because somebody seemingly similar is getting paid higher?

In my view each one of us are paid fairly, otherwise

  • Why are we still working here, we explicitly agree with our pay when we work in an organization?
  • Somebody would have given us a higher pay and employed us otherwise?
  • Our employer wouldn’t have given us this pay or thinks we do not deserve anything better
  • It means we do not have the skills/talent to find a better paid job

I think most often we also do not know how to assess our skills/role and relate it to the pay we are getting, remember during your school/college days, you always found this bunch of smarties who will come out of every exam and say they did so well that they expect top marks, but then when the results were not corroborating they used to blame the evaluators. I believe those young people did not know how to assess themselves and constantly blamed others, otherwise how can you be in a similar situation year after year underachieving when your class, teachers and evaluators are changing? Rings a bell? What’s common year after year? You….only you.

I would argue that you being underpaid in your jobs is no different than the above example, so stop blaming your circumstances, boss, organisation, manipulating peers or your humble personality, if you feel you are underpaid, it means that you have not acted upon what it takes to be paid competitively.

I think we make our own assumptions about our pay like we try to fantasize our Job Description when it comes to roles we play. We really do not know if we are paid adequately most often than not. When we work in our organisation there will be certain norms/rules about the following whether we agree about it or not

  • Your designation
  • Your role
  • Your pay & bonus
  • Who your boss is 🙂

Our own definition about how each one of it should be is a never ending saga and if our DNA is made up of dissatisfied upbringing or lack of self-awareness of the ecosystem. With changing personal needs plus multiple information feeding our brain about how our friends, enemies, ex-colleagues, competitors & relatives are prospering with attractive salaries, we will always feel underpaid. Sometimes you may want to wonder if the figures they quote are really true, how on earth can they get paid so much if you are underpaid, this may make you feel better.

Sometimes we feel underpaid because of personal reasons like:

  • Bought a new bike or car (for you to flaunt it)
  • EMIs of new house that you bought (who is living there?)
  • Got married or divorced (no comments)
  • you put your kids to the school of your choice (so you could feel proud)
  • Your spouse started to earn more than you due to promotion or change of job (they read my blog before)

Don’t burden your boss or organisation due to your lifestyle, you sound weak, foolish and cheap when you seek a pay hike with your personal choices, not to forget your lack of judgement in making those financial commitments without addressing your pay first.

  • Ensure my performance reaches acceptable levels in the organisation
  • Raise the issue with my boss politely with the data points I have about what my peers are earning in the market during annual performance reviews (not to bring it up every time we meet him/her)
  • Give my boss sometime in case the organisation or my boss’s performance is not at its peak
  • If nothing changes in my favor, wait for the right moment, choose another department within my organisation or a new employer where I am likely to feel valued by my pay and switch 🙂

Is there a fair way of arriving at what’ your salary should really be? I think it’s about what the heart tells us than the mind, I think feeling underpaid is a kind of chronic ailment, we never get cured of it permanently, we get interim reliefs when we get medication called pay hikes. I say this because I felt underpaid for most part in my career and it keeps coming back.

Still feeling underpaid? you probably deserve it 🙂

It was my choice to stand at the end of the line, how can I blame the photographer?

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