In the last article I shared How I doubled my salary in 2 years!, in this post I want to give my advice on how you can either re-negotiate your salary, or find a better paying job. This will all depend on your financial circumstances, and how you are feeling towards your current employers.(Note: I will cover a salary renegotiation step by step in another article).
As I also mentioned before, “money matters until the point that it doesn’t“, from personal experience I can tell you that sometimes other factors such as work culture, benefits, people, etc.. matter much more than the money alone; however, that’s a deciding factor that only you can determine.
For now let’s just focus on the fact that whatever situation we’re going through, we need more money! So let’s get started!
Everyday you trade your time and services for an agreed upon wage with your employer. The employer ultimately decides how much your services are worth to them and you might agree or disagree with them; however, oftentimes we might feel this is the best deal we can get because the skillsets that we bring to the table are too common, in fact so common that anyone else can do it with minimal training.
Professionally, I like to see myself as a brand, just like you would see Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, etc.. they have a specific price tag when you buy them and you never question their worth because they know the value & quality they provide. Understanding that I bring a specific and at times niche set of skillsets, allows me to know my worth and ensure that I get the compensation I want from any employer. Additionally, just like any brand, I advertise myself via professional networks such as LinkedIn, my professional blog, and resume, as this allows me to maximize my options just in case new opportunities present themselves.
The takeaway here is to create value for yourself, and understand that when you have specific/niche skillsets, specially those in high demand, you will be compensated much more and will have more options & room for negotiation.
This one is simple, just go back to your manager and re-negotiate your salary. I know I’m oversimplifying it; however, let me try to change your mind.
“The costs of replacing a worker can be substantial. Across establishments, they average about $4,000 overall, about $2,000 for blue collar and manual labor workers, and as high as $7,000 for professional and managerial employees”. (Source IRLE UC Berkeley)
Some of the costs associated with hiring are:
What this means is that it’s potentially cheaper for your employer to give you a raise, rather than go through the process of hiring someone new to replace you. (Note: If you work at a franchise such as McDonalds’, or any other similar establishment, my advise is to get out as soon as possible, I really don’t think re-negotiation would work in this case as you will most likely be replaced by a kiosk in the future).
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to consider bringing up a conversation about your salary with your manager. Just make sure you have a number in mind and also have a plan of action to justify your requests. This means working with your manager and agreeing on a plan (e.g. becoming a subject matter expert in a certain subject, increase in sales, etc.) so you can have ongoing conversations about your progress, and eventually get a raise.
As mentioned earlier, you want to ensure you are bringing value to your workplace and asking for a fair salary which is the normal thing to do. If you feel that you are not yet in a position to ask for more, ensure that you are doing as much as you can to invest in yourself as we’ll see next.
I believe that everyone has a special skill/trade/interest that they would like to pursue. Whether you work fixing central AC units, fixing cars, welding, customer support representative, store greeter, etc.. I believe that everyone has the ability to improve themselves in the form of “specialization”. Note that when I say “specialization”, I don’t mean necessarily higher education such as going to college; however, you’ll ultimately decide what’s best for you.
If you’re currently working at a job where you have the interest to stay for the long term and there’s plenty of potential to grow then this is a perfect scenario; however, if you have no interest in staying in this job and are only here for the money (which isn’t much to be honest), then I suggest getting out there as soon as possible.
Say that you’re currently working at a job where you do have an interest to stay, but you’re not really satisfied with your current pay. If your job values training and certifications, you can make the effort to attain them and increase your value at your workplace. (As I mentioned earlier, always ensure that your manager is up-to-date with your training so once you obtain the certification, and start providing more value, it’ll become easier to have a conversation about salary increase). Additionally, many employers will work with you and often times pay for your training, conferences, etc.. from their training budget, so make sure you take advantage of this.
The table below gives you an example of certain professions, and their suggested certification that would provide a return on your investment.
|Job Title||Suggested Certification||Requirements||Potential Salary|
|Accountant||Certified Public Accountant||150 college credit hours + CPA Exam||$84,966 (Texas)|
|Project Management||Project Management Professional (PMP)||College and/or High school diploma + 5 years of experience.||$75-$150k (Texas)|
|Professional Welder||Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)||High school/GED + GTAW vocational training program||$68k+|
|Information Technology||Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)||High school/GED + 2 prerequisite Microsoft Certifications||$95k+|
|HVAC||Section 608 Technician Certification||High School Diploma + certification training||$60k+|
As you can see many jobs have a progressive path that you may follow. This not only guarantees that you can go up in salary, but it’ll allow you to accumulate a great wealth of knowledge which I personally value.
Take some time to think about your own career, specialty, and see if there’s a roadmap available for you to follow, or ask any other professionals in your field for guidance.
For example, if you’re in the technology field (IT, Software Developer, Cyber Security, etc.) I always recommend the following roadmap (as seen below) as it provides a suggested roadmap, and list of certifications that one can acquire based on their skill levels (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert). I know some professions might not be as clear cut, but I think it’ll give you an idea of what to look for.
If you feel that this type of advise doesn’t apply to you then it’s okay. Start thinking about other skills that you can attain that apply to any profession such as sales, marketing, training, etc. These type of skillsets may be leveraged in most places and will give you an edge over other peers who are only limited to their specialization. Learn to think outside the box, as many of these skillsets can be achieved via side hustles. I’ll write another article on side hustles to better give you an idea of how you can develop other skillsets outside of your normal 8-5 job.
Now that you’ve decided to invest in yourself, it’s time to get S.M.A.R.T about it. Before you continue reading, I need to get something off my chest.
Personally, I’m not a fan of people complaining all the time about [insert subject] and not taking proactive steps to changing their situation. It’s easier to complain for the next 5 years and not do crap about it and watch time fly by and remain stagnant, still complaining… These same individuals like to say things like “I want to be rich, I want to have money”, or [insert any other vague statement here]. However, they’re not willing to sit down and ask themselves exactly what they envision their future goals to be, or plan for it.
Now that my rant is over, let’s do something about it!
Instead of making vague statements such as “I want to be rich”, turn that statement into a S.M.A.R.T goal.
S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that’s easy to remember and will help you guide your goals. It stands for:
Instead of making statements such as “I want to be rich”, reframe that same statement to “I want to increase my salary by $10k in the next 2 years by getting a certification or improving my skillset for my current job. By signing up for x training program and taking 2 courses per year, I will be able to accomplish my goal in December 15th, 2022”. This will allow you to start creating a plan that can be measured, and has an end date attached to it.
Another one can be, “I will present a 5 month plan to my boss that will allow me to increase my sales, or complete a certification so I may provide more value to the company. During this time we will agree that we will have a bi-weekly catchup to discuss my progress, receive feedback, and eventually discuss my salary raise. This will ensure that both you and your boss are in agreement and this conversation will be expected in the near future.
In this article we briefly covered the mindset one needs to have to approach a salary increase, and possible salary re-negotiation. Again, always remembering your worth and value that you are providing your current or future employers. Additionally, ensuring that we approach these in a S.M.A.R.T way so we may set a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goal so we may stay on track, and have a set deadline to accomplish your goal. I hope this helped you or at least sparked an interest in you attempting to go for a salary increase. Let’s ensure you get paid fairly and based on your worth!