How To Get Paid Your Value

by Olivia Adams on May 28, 2014

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Image Credit: Portrait of Young Successful Business Team image from Bigstock.

Image Credit: Portrait of Young Successful Business Team image from Bigstock.

In the words of the infamous Will Ferrell, “Aren’t we all striving to be overpaid?”

To some this might seem arrogant or selfish, but in reality, Will Ferrell has a good point. Don’t we all deserve to be paid what we’re worth?

As Millennials, we get a bad rep for being “self-entitled.” Just because we want to find a career we love, previous generations scoff at us for following our passions. Unfortunately, this has caused Millennials to question their value and begin to wonder what we’re really worth in the workplace.

Let’s take a look at the entire internship debate, for example. Over recent years, paying interns has become a hot topic with which much of society has gotten on board. Unpaid interns have been compared to “slave labor” and some don’t even see the value in doing an internship at all. This is unfortunate because hands-on experience has been the best type of training for any individual over the last century or two.

Unpaid internships and internship-like entry-level jobs have caused Millennials to question their worth. They don’t know whether they should accept “bottom of the totem pole” work or chasing their dreams and hope for a paycheck to follow.

When it comes to getting paid your value, you have to know what you want. You also have to work hard to get what you want. If you feel your employer is overlooking your value despite your effort to bring in results to the company, then maybe it’s time for you to take action.

Getting paid for your value can be an intimidating goal to go after. In fact, 41 percent of workers say they haven’t negotiated the salary they currently hold. Whether you’ve been at your job for six months or two years, you need to think about the value you bring to the workplace and whether your employer recognizes it.

If you’re wondering if you’re getting paid for your value (or simply receiving the recognition you deserve), here are some things to consider and how you can get more of what you want out of your job:

Find a job with meaning.

Although Generation Y reports the lowest levels of job stress, they also have reported the lowest levels in job satisfaction or finding meaning in their careers.

The first step to getting paid your value is to find a more meaningful career. Now, this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but if you ask yourself the right questions and create manageable goals, you’ll be one step closer to finding a job that brings more meaning to your life.

Ask yourself what purpose you want to have in your job and how it relates to the rest of your life. Do you simply want to collect a paycheck, or do you want to create value within your job? Hopefully, you’ll want a job where you can make a difference, whether within your organization or for the common good. Whatever purpose it is you want to serve, once you figure it out, you need to fulfill that goal.

You need to be Generation “Why?”

Gen Y’ers need to ask more questions in order to get more out of their careers. Instead of being a passive employee, set goals for yourself and work hard to reach the next level of your career.

If there’s something you’re not satisfied with in your job, change it. There are so many opportunities available in your job, you just can’t be afraid to ask the right questions.

For example, if you’re curious about why you haven’t received a raise since you’ve been with the company (and you’ve been there more than a year), don’t hesitate to bring up the question in your next performance review. The worst thing your boss could say is “no,” so don’t hold back any questions about your salary or benefits.

If you are going after a promotion, ask your manager about the qualities they look for when they go to promote an employee. You should also ask your boss about your strengths and weaknesses, and find out where they think you can improve. Being proactive in your job is a huge part of getting what you want. If you don’t ask about your salary or opportunities for promotion, you may let these opportunities pass you by.

Do your homework.

As you continue to search for meaning in your career and ask questions along the way, you need to do some research. One of the key factors of landing a promotion or receiving a raise is knowing your worth. This means you need to research what other organizations pay their employees who are in a similar position as you.

To pinpoint your value, use websites such as Glassdoor.com to find competitive wages and research what you should be paid. If you discover other employers are paying their employees higher wages, this could be something you could present to your boss during a salary negotiation.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to receive a promotion, you need to take a look at everything you’ve accomplished while working for your employer. Take inventory of your contributions and figure out how much value you brought to the organization. Looking at what you’ve done in your position will give you a better idea of whether or not you’re ready to ask for a promotion. If you find you’ve been exceeding your goals and aren’t challenged enough in your current position, it could be time to ask for a promotion.

Stick to your guns.

Getting paid your value is all about being confident in your self-worth. Now, it’s important not to come off as arrogant or cocky, but you should be confident enough in your skills and accomplishments where you can determine if you’re worth the raise or promotion.

When it’s time for you to ask for a raise or promotion, be sure to present to your employer your research and the value you’ve brought to the company. In your presentation, be confident in your accomplishments and explain how you want to bring even more success to the organization. If you’re employer fails to see your value, you may need to reconsider whether your position is a good fit for you or not. Remember, there is an employer out there who would be thankful to have a talented and driven employee like you on their team.

Knowing your worth and getting paid for your value is a journey every young professional will take. Although it might require you to negotiate with employers and a little research on your part, every effort you put into getting what you honestly deserve will bring you much more reward in your career.

Do you believe you are getting rewarded for the value you bring to your employer?

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