It’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you realize you’re not being paid what you deserve. It’s a moment that can demoralize you, affect your work performance, and tank your confidence. Before we dive deep into what to do when you don’t get the pay you deserve, let’s take a second to acknowledge that you should not be taking your salary personally or letting it affect your self-worth. As nice as your manager or CEO may be, you work for a business. That company’s goal is to earn money (usually) and keep as much money as possible (unless they’re a non-profit) so they probably won’t ever jump at the chance to give you a big, fat raise. Remember: it’s not you, it’s them. Now that you have your confidence back, let’s look at the ways you can compensate for not being paid what you deserve.
Boost Your Benefits
You went for the big ask, but your manager said a raise wasn’t in the budget. Or maybe that hiring manager at your dream job can’t offer you your dream salary. While nothing can fully replace a high salary, there are benefits you can negotiate for if more financial compensation is off the table. Do you feel like you deserve more pay for the work you’re doing? Maybe you can negotiate to work a little bit less. Things like vacation days are a lot more flexible than you might think, and you may find those extra vacation days are worth their weight in gold when the holidays roll around. Do you use your cell phone for work-related tasks? It’s very fair to argue that your cell phone bill should be paid for by your work. Do you work from home frequently? Then a stipend for Wi-Fi or office supplies should not be out of the question.
It may be harder for your manager to sell a big raise to the powers above, but they should feel responsible for covering work-related expenses that you may also utilize during your personal time.
Ask for Flexibility
Did you know the average American spends about $2,600 on their commute every year? That’s a lot of money you’re paying just to get to work. Every time you don’t go into the office, you can save yourself money, stress, and very valuable time. It sounds like a weekly work-from-home day may be in order! Or maybe you can ask to work from home in the morning and come into the office later when traffic dies down. Perhaps you can simply ask for more freedom to start and end your workday at times that work best for you. You may prefer working from 7am-3pm instead of a 9am-5pm, so ask for that. The peace of mind you gain from working at home or having a more flexible schedule may be more beneficial than higher pay, but will come at a pretty low expense for your employer.
If you need some evidence to help convince your boss that you’ll be successful while working remotely, here’s a handy fact for you to share with them: 70 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day a week and 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week. Get ready to trade your slacks for yoga pants.
If you’re not feeling like you’re being paid what you deserve, then why not prove how much you deserve it by learning new skills or strengthening old ones? Whether you want to impress your manager or pad your resume for your future job search, if your current employer doesn’t want to give you a raise, then ask them to pay for an education that will alleviate their concerns. Online classes, professional designations, and conferences are great ways for you to keep learning and expand your network, all while helping make you better at your current job. It seems like everybody wins when you hit the books.
Think Outside The Box
No raise, how about a new title? It may seem odd to ask for a promotion without receiving money, but under the right circumstances, it could be very beneficial. You generally shouldn’t accept significantly higher responsibilities without your compensation being adjusted accordingly, but what if you’ve already accepted those responsibilities? It’s not uncommon for your workload to quietly and subtly grow. If that’s the case and your manager can’t raise your salary at the moment, then try arguing for a new title. When you launch your next job search, you’ll be glad to have a higher-ranking title to help you land a job that pays the big bucks. It might also put a little fire under your employers to boost your pay, as they know that a better title makes you more competitive in the job market.