James’ Blog: Overworked & Underpaid?

July 2, 2015

Sounds familiar, right? I think we’ve all been there; working all hours for what seems like peanuts in terms of financial gain. If we were to collate a list of the top 5 things people complain most about their job I think we’d see an array of different confessions – the over or under use of aircon in the office, people eating smelly food at their desk, managers not listening, leaving the office too late – but the real crème de la crème of complaints would definitely be how much you are paid compared to how much you THINK you should be paid.

It’s such a tricky situation, especially when you’re first starting out in your career because you don’t have the experience or expertise to really qualify what you’re worth but at the same time, you know you’re worth more than currently perceived.

It can be quite demotivating feeling overworked and underpaid because you feel unappreciated, like you’re lost in a faceless crowd, but the trick is to change the way you interpret every working experience you encounter. Instead of thinking ‘I’m fed up of this, I’m never going to do any better’, think about how you can take these experiences and effectively apply them to future ventures.

For example, you’re in your first job, you’ve just completed your first big project, you show your manager and they ask you to start it all over again. Instantly, you’ll feel like you’ve just wasted hours of your time for nothing. In these situations, you need to make the best out of a bad situation – instead of feeling disheartened, take the time to ask for constructive feedback to ensure you don’t waste any more time on mastering the project.

There are lots of components to success and many differing aspects to consider when climbing the ladder but one thing which remains unchanged is the significant presence of a good work ethic. Nobody ever got anywhere with a negative attitude – that may sound cheesy, but it’s true.

Try changing your perception; surely having too much to do is better than having nothing to do? Surely it’s a promising sign that you’ve been trusted to execute all these projects? If you’ve been given the opportunity to do a lot and gain lots of new experiences then you also have the opportunity to apply these experiences to your CV, in future interviews and to future job roles.

Think of it like this, every task you complete, every new contact you meet, every conversation you have, every piece of feedback or advice you receive and every time you illustrate your worth you are subconsciously building your professional profile. Money can’t buy experience and the more you have, the more in demand you’ll be. 

Nobody wants to feel like their role isn’t important and their not making an impact to the business so to avoid this, you should remember that everything is relevant to output and you should be measuring how productive your output is. Are you just a busy fool working for hours on something which in the end, doesn’t add any value? Or can you give good examples of productive input and prove that you’re busy completing worthwhile tasks?

Often, employees fail to recognise the correlation between output and salary. The more valuable your input, the more chance you have to prove why you’re worth more than your current pay package. For example, if one of my employees were to pitch me for a pay rise and presented three noticeable ways they have added value to the business – three ways they have illustrated good productive output – and I agree them, I can’t really say no because they have proved their worth and why they are a necessity to the continued development of my business.

You will feel fed up and sometimes you’ll want to give up. When this happens, take a step back, evaluate your current situation and remember that every opportunity can be used to your advantage – only you can mould the route of your future.

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