Recently, there was an article on LearnVest titled “Hello, My Name is Tom and I’m an Underearner”. It’s an interesting read about the characteristics of underearners and the presence of an AA-type support group called “Underearners Anonymous,” (Who knew such a group existed?) It got me thinking about how salary means more than money: It can affect how others see you, and how you see yourself, like a dirty window on the world.
One of the problems that can develop during a job search is a completely unrealistic idea of salary. It’s easy to undervalue your abilities and ask for too low a wage, or to assume you can demand the paycheck someone with years of experience in your field would get. If you add up your monthly bills and just ask for that much, you aren’t using all the information that should go into salary ranges.
Underearners are people who are not getting the salary that someone with their qualifications would reasonably expect. This could be because they don’t value those qualifications or are afraid to ask for a raise. It could be because they’d have to live up to their potential and they are afraid.
There are a lot of reasons why salary and self-esteem are connected. In some cases, there is discrimination causing salary issues, but this cannot be assumed because sometimes the reason for the lower paycheck is actually performance-related. You need to dig deeper to find out why that paycheck is that amount.
During a job search and interview, salary is a subject that you should be prepared to confidently discuss with a prospective employer without being demanding. The more you understand your worth, the easier it is to see that you deserve (earn) a wage that is accurate. There are two excellent resources available to you:
- Job Search Resources — this page has a wealth of information, including salary calculators and self-assessments
- Job Search Success System — this is a full course that will give you the skills to show your worth accurately to potential employers.
When you are getting the salary you should be getting, it’s like seeing your world through a clean window.