One of the biggest problems you’ll face in your career is making enough money to deal with inflation and the increasing cost of living. But if you think your employer will give you a raise every 1 or 2 years based on merit, you’re wrong. Because no one else will make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve – but you.
Here are several mistakes that will keep you underpaid:
Not Speaking Up
Today’s corporate culture is one that favors extroverts who share their expertise. In fact, outspoken employees are often perceived as being smarter and having more initiative. Of course that doesn’t mean that “quieter” employees are any less intelligent – but if you don’t speak up and make yourself known to management, you’re more likely to get overlooked for promotion and pay raises.
If you’re quiet by nature or don’t speak well, that needs to change. You don’t have to be a professional speaker – you just need to be more assertive of yourself instead of being quiet.
Not Writing Well
You don’t have to write like a well-known author, you just need to be able to write proposals and reports confidently. The ability to write will has a direct effect on your productivity, as a poorly worded email can stall workflow, cost money, or even jeopardize your career.
So if you can’t write well enough yet, take a business writing class. It might have a high initial cost, but it will benefit you for the rest of your career.
Not Knowing What You’re Worth
Make sure you check a payscale website to see how your salary ranks compared to other professionals. Ideally, you’ll want to be in the 60th or 70th percentile. But if you’re not, you should negotiate with your employer to be in that bracket.
It’s ok if you underrate your worth, many of us do it. But your employer won’t fire you for wanting more, especially if you know you deserve it. The worse response you’ll get is a no – and if you get that answer, ask what you can do to get that promotion.
Not Being Hands-On
If you’re in a supervisory role, one of the biggest reasons why you’re underpaid is because you’re not hands-on enough. Signs of not being hands-on include always having your instructions misinterpreted, not noticing procedures haven’t been changed, and not having contact info for all of your subordinates.
Another downside to not being hands-on is that when you take credit for work you had little to do with, your boss will know it. And that will keep you underpaid unless you “lead from the front.”
Not Being Loyal to Yourself
You should maintain some loyalty to your company, but if the company is going nowhere or has bad products, you can expect to remain underpaid no matter how loyal you may be. If you’re in a small company, you may not get what you’re worth. That’s because it’s like an investment – you put in your time and lower pay to make the company succeed (and hopefully get higher pay!).
How long are you willing to stay loyal to your company? If you’re not willing to wait years for your efforts to bear fruit, you can apply your expertise towards a higher paying job.