Can You Avoid The Money Question?

I recently saw a post with an interesting idea within.

“When you chase money; money runs.”

The idea developed was that if you do a good job or provide a valuable service the money will come.  It is about focus.  If you share your skills and efforts, the money will happen.  If you set out to get money alone, then your service and the amount of money you have will both suffer.

A nice story and possibly true but, sadly, incomplete.

You do not live in a world that is necessarily fair.  While you may be altruistic and sharing not everyone else is the same.  For example, your boss may use your inherent niceness against you.  You will not achieve the money you deserve unless you do something about it.

What to do?

  • Be objective.  How much are you worth?  Do others with your skills and experience make much more.  Are there any others with your skills and experience? Uniqueness adds value.  New graduates are worth much less than someone experienced ostensibly doing the same work
  • Are you in a job that rewards your skills and experience?  Remember that employers and customers pay you what you are worth to them.  It says little about your overall value, it speaks to what you are doing for them. If a CPA billing $300 per hour decides to give up business and tax advice as a career, it is unlikely they can command that price for doing bank reconciliations for senior citizens.  Same skills and experience still present, but the job is not worth the price.
  • Are you paid in ways that are not money?  Perhaps there are other fringe benefits.  Pensions, group insurance, liberal vacation allowances, cars, golf club fees, flexible hours, right to severance pay and so on are a material cost to employers.  Employers see the entire cost while the employees usually have only a vague awareness.  A contract worker frequently earns 50% more per hour than an employee.  The difference is the benefits.  And the employer is still getting a good deal at the higher hourly rate.

Chasing money for the sake of money alone and at the expense of providing excellent service and a pleasing work experience is likely a failing tactic.  Working for too little, or for free, similarly loses.

Spend a little time each year, maybe when updating your annual budget, and check out what persons like yourself can command in the market.

There may be costs to move, so keep those in mind too.  You don’t have to be aggressive about it, but looking after yourself is a necessary life skill.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:  

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