Saturday, December 1, 2018

What Are Your Salary Requirements?

What are your salary requirements?  I don't even know how to answer that question. 

Every time a domestic employment agent has asked me the "salary requirements" question, I've secretly cringed, while debating inside whether or not to just blurt out a random number.
Focusing on this... will result in less of this.

I have no salary requirements. 

In my opinion, any worker who wants to maximize their earning potential should have only responsibility requirements - and they should be significantly higher and more complex than what they are doing right now. And over time, new levels of salary will - not necessarily at each step, yet, over time - keep pace with the increased levels of skill, talent, and new responsibilities assumed.

Yet this approach is long-term and just like many other long-term plans, it's a tough sell. It's often easier to focus on earning (or getting a candidate to accept) $10K more per year, and just hope that someone is willing to pay it. And someone out there usually is. And - I also understand, as I'm also a normal, middle class domestic worker who has monthly bills to pay - who can't imagine how life could be just a little bit easier with an extra $10K coming in? But that approach, I've seen time and time again with those in domestic service - and I believe it's fair to say would be the case in other industries as well - keeps people over the long term lingering far below the talents and skills they could be building - and thus ultimately - far below the salaries they could be earning.  

Lou Adler's article in Inc. Magazine, "Don't Change Jobs Unless You Get A Thirty Percent Increase" is such a jewel, and it should be required reading for anyone beginning any career. But it's not too late to put into practice, where ever you find yourself along that path. In short, Lou proposes a long-term solution to a long-term challenge: maximizing one's career through non-monetary considerations. The solution is long-term because, simply, there is no short-term solution, as taking the quick fix of an extra $5K or $10K at a new estate, whereupon only your current skills will be used and with no opportunity to improve, will keep you at that lateral transfer also for a very long time... and maybe even longer.

Maybe a short-term emergency solution is truly needed on occasion, and I also realize that some people are just fine with working at the same level of responsibility and wages in their trade for the long term. Yet, if your goal is to really maximize your career and your salary, there's just no short-cut to it and you willingness to go above and beyond in your next job - despite that salary may remain the same - is what's needed for ultimate, long-term realizations of those more attractive "salary requirements."  

Eventually, the compensation catches up. Eventually, the hiring managers at the estates you apply will be reading a resume which is loaded with skills and talents, and will be offering compensation which is in line with the new you. It may not happen in the next job, but it will in the job after that. And again you improve, and again you may plateau, and again you will catch up. Every few years, you need to take on more. Thirty percent more. Give more of yourself - first - and I guarantee the money will eventually follow.

Don't go for the quick fix and trying for just a couple of more easy bucks. Go instead for accepting thirty percent more responsibility at your next job, and forget about the money. 

If the wages turn out to be only the same, or even less - that's still great - see it as an apprentice opportunity! Build a reputation of going above and beyond, of wanting to take on more responsibility than what was ever bargained for. Volunteer for new projects on your estate; let those both around and above you know that you hunger for working more - and you will help them as well. 

Become indispensable, become the go-to person who inspires the other staff to go beyond what they believe they could accomplish, and one day, maybe even sooner than you know, you'll look down at your paycheck and realize that your "salary requirements" have been met beyond anything you could have imagined.

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