Are You Paid What You Are Worth?

How much do you make?

Are you paid what you are worth?

Such questions asked one-on-one are typically taboo in the U.S.  The cultural norm in this country has been to keep such details private, although there is change occurring due to the social sway of the Millennial generation and technology.  We typically do not openly talk about our pay except, perhaps, to vent and complain about it.  Even when looking for work, we Americans will often endure multiple grueling interviews before the topic of pay is ever discussed.  The cultural norm has been not to disclose what we are paid.  It is kept a secret.  But why is that?  There are no salary secrets in Norway (just one example).

Cultural propaganda…hmmm, maybe.  More likely, though, we keep our hourly, weekly, and annual pay secret from one another because we are humble or view it as no one’s business but our own or because company policy forbids us to share payroll information with one another.  But, be honest, haven’t you ever wondered how your pay compared to someone else’s pay?  After all, shouldn’t you be paid what you are worth?

If you are curious to know the value you bring to the job market, you might want to check out the “Know Your Worth” website at where you can

  • Discover your current worth in the job market
  • Find out if you are being paid fairly
  • Explore ways to increase your pay[i]

Go to Know Your Worth at

Search Salaries and Compensation at

Of course, after receiving your free personalized salary estimate based on today’s job market, what will you do?  Well, if dissatisfaction sets in, there is the obvious….look for a job elsewhere.  Alternatively, ask your current employer for a raise—especially once there is “proof” that you are so much more valuable than is evidenced by the direct deposit to your bank account every couple of weeks.

A quick internet search will provide a wealth of advice regarding when to ask (and not ask) for a raise, how best to frame your request (and phrases to avoid), as well as questions to ask yourself before ever meeting with the boss.  Most themes revolve around: (a) being prepared, (b) timing of the request,[ii] (c) identifying the basis for your request (e.g., seniority, more responsibility, increased worth, length of time since last raise), (d) being specific about what you want, (e) not complaining about your current pay,[iii] and (f)  not comparing current pay to a colleague’s pay.[iv]

Plan B:  A really important question to ask yourself is “What will I do if my boss says no?”[v]

Perhaps the answer is promotion or an alternative to an increase in pay.  Regarding the former—promotion—I once crafted a job description for a then, non-existent position of Controller for a fast-growing manufacturer with international sales (the position did not exist, and the President ran the company).  I shared what value I would bring to the role, and the board approved it!  Instantly, my pay increased by several thousand dollars.  (It worked so well, I did it again a few years later—requesting a new position within the same company—again with a readied job description in-hand.  It, too, was approved.)  On another occasion, and in a different role and work environment, I bargained for a reduced work week and flexible scheduling while retaining the same salary amount and benefits.

Perhaps the best advice of all comes from the familiar adage: “It never hurts to ask.”  Statistics show that asking for a raise by selling yourself nets the best results.[vi]

[i] Know your worth. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[ii] Sturt, D., & Nordstrom, T. (2018, May 8). 5 things you need to know before asking for a raise. Retrieved from

[iii] Doyle, A. (2018, August 30). When to ask for a raise at work. Retrieved from

[iv] Things you should never say when asking for a raise. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[v] Green, A. (2014, March 17). 7 questions to ask yourself before asking for a raise. Retrieved from

[vi] Brenoff, A. (2018, January 1). How to ask for a raise in 2018, According to the professionals. Retrieved from


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