As I was going to my yoga studio the other day, I came across this sign and it really made an impression in my mind.
The act of leaping should be interpreted as having the courage to try something new. Finding comfort in an uncomfortable state is how we progress in life as individuals. The leap can be as small as eating something you’ve never tried before, or as big as quitting your job to open your own ice cream shop (one of my friends did this – @rollingdeepicecream).
In my specific scenario, taking a leap was having the courage to speak to my boss honestly about my salary and compensation. Having a discussion with your employer about your income is incredibly uncomfortable, but is a conversation that needs to take place.
To leap is to have trust in your abilities to persevere through any difficulties that may come your way.
Just be sure to ‘look’ before you leap.
For my readers that don’t know, I have been working at investment banks in the Information Technology department for the past 5 years.
This past week was comp (compensation) week, where employees, like me, are told their yearly raise and bonus (or lack thereof). I was expecting great news as I felt that I had delivered loads of new work on top of my normal responsibilities.
I added value whenever I had the chance, worked independently, and had a great attitude – most of the time. I even took on additional responsibilities from people that had left the firm.
I was given a 3% increase in my base wage and a $700 increase in my bonus. This may or may not seem good to a lot of people. Personally, this increase was insignificant and did not reflect the additional work I had done in the past year. Considering inflation is around 2%, my real wage increase was around 1%. Needless to say, I was incredibly disappointed.
I explained thoroughly to my boss all the new responsibilities I was handling successfully but was met with a stern “There will be no change in these numbers”.
All of a sudden, my boss, who I respect greatly (and I thought respected me) turned into a heartless managerial robot. There was no effort in explaining why my raise was so insignificant, instead, he made a comment along the lines of why I should be happy with a raise that barely beats inflation.
The lack of a merit-based system in the corporate world is precisely what makes millennials loathe the typical 9-5 job. People that perform at half the capacity get promotions not based on output, but on experience and political know-how.
It was at this point that I mentioned I had another offer for %20 more. I was metaphorically prepared ‘to leap’ and move on to a new firm. I had been in contact with many consulting firms and got a general feel for my market value.
I highly advise everyone to constantly seek their true market value by job hunting year round. This may seem tedious but knowing your market value will give you a good anchoring point for your salary.
The $25,000 Difference – Health Benefits
This competing offer is semi-real (my interview is next Monday, May 15th) and is a consulting position without health benefits.
My boss brought up the real reason I couldn’t make any more money, which was that the health benefits are equivalent to $25,000 worth of compensation to the corporation. WHAT!? Are you f*cking kidding me?!
At best, the health care benefits I receive add up to around $2,000 a year, not $25,000. I am a 26-year-old who is in great shape. I don’t have the same health issues as the average middle-aged employee in the bank.
With this pure difference in value obtained, there is no way that my boss and I would ever see eye-to-eye on my compensation.
The unwillingness for my company to pay me my market value is precisely the type of mentality that is wrong with large corporations. They believe every person is a ‘resource’ who can easily be replaced.
Loyalty to a specific company only benefits the select few who get chosen for the ever elusive promotion. For everyone else, we must wait patiently until someone dies, quits, or retires in order to get promoted.
The other option is to take a stand and fight for what you deserve. Not every request for a higher wage is met with as much resistance as depicted in this post.
My girlfriend recently asked for a pay raise and received a %33 percent raise by writing a well-worded email. The key is to have the courage to take that first step and leap! The net will appear.
I am not going to wait around for someone to die, quit, retire, or make a new job for me.
I am ready to leap, I hope you are too.