Salary Negotiations: Underpaid? Change That!

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Salary negotiations didn’t go so well back when you were hired? So now, you’re working your tail off and producing huge dividends for the company–for what? Your work is stellar; your pay is ordinary. You’re getting paid the same as co-workers who aren’t nearly as bright, hard-working, or talented. What do you do?

The Consequences
First, let’s discuss the consequences. Assuming you’ve got a number of good years left in your career, tolerating a low rate of pay is harmful in the short term and devastating in the long term. Raises tend to be awarded based on a percentage of current salary. Consequently, the longer you stay underpaid at this company —or if you take a job elsewhere without negotiating well–the costs multiply over time.

An academic concerned about underpaid women calculated that a 22-year-old woman who accepts a $25,000 starting salary instead of negotiating for $30,000 could lose over $500,000 by the time she is 60. Ouch!

But it gets worse. Because you know you’re underpaid, at some level, you resent it. This affects your self-esteem and (often) your attitude and work performance. You think, “Those so-and-sos aren’t giving me what I’m worth, so I’m not going to put myself out for them.”

People who are unhappy or have a bad attitude get passed over for promotions, denied raises, or worse—laid off.

Marilyn’s Boss Takes Advantage of Her

A while ago, we worked with a woman we’ll call Marilyn from Wilmette, one of the Chicago suburbs. Marilyn’s boss was taking advantage of the fact that she was so hardworking and efficient. He gave her a punishing workload, and she had almost no time for a personal life. The poor woman told us that a particularly busy time, she spent three days at the office, only going home for a quick meal and a shower. She caught short naps at her desk and kept grinding out the work.

We helped her set limits on the number of hours worked and sent out feelers about a raise in pay. When it became clear that her boss wasn’t receptive, we helped her look for a new job.

What should you do?

Don’t Expect the Salary Issue to Fix Itself

Sure, the boss MAY come to his/her senses and give you a whopping raise. But don’t count on it. Your current boss may well like the current arrangement because underpaying you makes more money available for other employees who demand more money, and/or for his own purposes, like a country club membership.

Or, the boss might understandably be focused on the trouble spots. Since you’re doing such great work, he can ignore your area, and may not realize that you are doing great work. It’s up to you to make sure that you are paid fairly.

Justify Salary Increase: Document Your Impact

In business, what gets counted counts. To get a raise, you need to show that you deserve it. So document all the things you’ve done. Keep a job journal:

♦ Calmed an irate customer, saving a $100,000 account.
♦ Fixed the company’s chaotic filing system, saving untold hours of staff time, PLUS preventing the embarrassment of being unable to locate client files.
♦ Took initiative to locate a company that develops apps and created one that greatly improves accuracy and efficiency.

Research Salary Levels In Your Industry

Good sources include salary websites, professional association, recruiters, conversations with your peers inside and outside your company, and online postings..

Learn Salary Negotiations Techniques

Don’t just accept that you’re not good at negotiating for yourself. You CAN learn and improve. Read and study Jack Chapman’s book, “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute.” It has helped people across America and beyond to put more money in their pockets. You might want to hire a salary coach for help, since negotiating for yourself can be much more difficult than negotiating for the company.  Contact Jack today at 847-251-4727 to discuss how to get paid what you’re worth.


Negotiations don’t come easily for a lot of people, so practice is important. Make sure that you try out the new behaviors ahead of time with your career or salary coach so you don’t wilt during the uncomfortable discussions.

BTW, we’re happy to report that all ended well for Marilyn. She was offered a job with a rapidly-growing Glenview company. This time, she did some due diligence on the company and the boss. She found it was a company that respects and values work-life balance and the boss was very fair.  With Jack’s help, she also negotiated a substantial pay raise and an extra week of vacation.

Marilyn was astounded–and felt so good about starting her new job–with the attractive compensation package she negotiated. This included a number of benefits and perks, including tuition reimbursement for her MBA program.

Every day, people find that they can win the salary negotiations game. Are you ready to take action to get what you’re worth in your job and career? Call us today:  847 673 0339



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Lucrative Careers

Our Career Action Plan Meetings advance healthy careers and heal the wounded. Give us two hours, and we’ll get to the root of your career issues and come up with a plan to fix them. Call today: 847-673-0339.

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