Most people I meet have been raised to give their best efforts when they work. Somewhere they got the message that if they work hard and give their best efforts, they will be rewarded for their loyalty.
And sometimes they are… and generally, they aren’t.
For most people, work involves travel to and from a place away from home, dressing a certain way and following direction to them according to company rules. You are expected to deliver a certain amount of output for which you receive a salary and, perhaps, benefits and periodic raises.
For many people, raises do not keep them ahead of inflation. Through October 2005, the consumer price index was up 4.3% and the core inflation index (the one that excludes food and energy prices) was up 2.1% (could you do without food and fuel?).
This means just to keep up with inflation, a worker who was paying taxes of 25% on the federal, state and local level would have to receive a raise of at least 5.4% just to stay even with their income taxes. Add in property tax and school tax increases that occurat different times and that raise you’ve gotten won’t go very far.
What should you do?
Walking in to your boss’ office, pounding their desk and demanding a raise is not a good idea, easpecially if you don’t know the value of your experience in the job market.
Instead, update your resume and get yourself another job. Why allow yourself to get paid less than your market value. Are you that rich that you can forgo the additional income?
For example, if you earned $50000 and received a 10% salary increase, you would be earning $55000. You would be ahead of inflation (inflation is5.4% including the tax bite; you would be getting an actual raise ahead of inflation).
But let’s look at the multiplier-5 years from now, if you only received a 5% raise each year, here’s what would happen:
Year Raise to: Money you are ahead $50000 $55000 $5000
$55000 $57500 $12250
$57500 $60300 $22550
$60300 $63315 $35815
$63315 $66480 $52295
Can you really afford to ignore over $50000 in earnings? And what if you joined a company where raises were even higher?
Most people I meet work to take care of their family, to save for their future and enjoy life. Couldn’t you do a better job of all three with an extra $50000 or more?
© 2005, 2012 All rights reserved Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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