Once the definition of success, earning $100,000 or more per year doesn't automatically mean you've made it to easy street these days. As kids in the '80s (or earlier), we might have thought that amount was akin to a million dollars, but now, a six-figure income doesn't mean as much as it used to. What happened? Inflation, for one.
You're serious about your career, but that doesn't mean that you can't get a side order of lulz along with your career advice. With the help of socially awkward penguin and Scumbag Steve, we tackle the issues of generations in the workplace, introverts who are forced to socialize at work, and dress codes in this week's Workplace Lulz.
There are a handful of times in life that a single percentage can make a big difference: that calculus final you forgot to study for, the Olympic trial event you're watching on TV, and the rate of your salary increase. In this case, we're talking about salaries, and the difference between the difference between 4.1 percent and 2.8 percent — and why you may need to get used to the latter.
So, you've got a job. You can breathe a sigh of relief. And, for some workers, just having a job is enough. You're hearing all that great news about the uptick in the economic projections, employment is up, and the job market in general looks more hopeful. But, here's the thing: Just because you have a job doesn't mean you shouldn't be consciously making an effort to improve yourself and your position. The question is, how to do that without sticking your neck out and courting disaster.
Your annual performance review is over. Hopefully, you have some new goals to work on and a few pats on the back to keep you motivated. Now what?
Through a casual discussion with your colleagues, you suddenly realize that you are making significantly less money than co-workers with the same experience and job title. Or, a clerical error occurs, and you see something you shouldn't: the new team you are assigned to train going to be making nearly as much or more than you. Whatever the means of discovery, the realization is that you are indeed underpaid. So what can you do about it?
When you feel confident, the people you interact with in your career are more likely to reward you with the things you want, whether it's a job or a promotion or a raise or a parking space closer to the front door. This is potentially pretty unfair, of course, since anyone who's worked with other humans for more than a day knows that confidence isn't always an indicator of competence. So what can you do, if you're deserving, but underappreciated -- and not burdened with an excess of self-regard? Game the system, and fake it until you make it.
Humans are fascinated by the worst-case scenario -- the blown job interview, the botched salary negotiation, the bad college choice. It's not always schadenfreude, either. By analyzing the bad things that could happen, it's easier to prepare and avoid them. This year, PayScale's most popular posts were the ones that helped readers dodge disaster.
Have your social media feeds been filling up with thankfulness over the past few days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving? If these public statements of gratitude make you roll your eyes rather than count your blessings, never fear: we're not here to convince you to join a movement, or even start a journal or buy an app. However, focusing on the positive and remembering the ways in which you're lucky can be good for your career, if you go about things in a way that works for you.
One of the best, tried-and-true ways to excel at what you do is explain it to someone else. Oftentimes, we go through our jobs -- which can include detailed systems and processes -- without realizing what we are actually doing. If you are years or decades deep into your career, much of your expertise may be "all in your head" -- and you may not even realize there’s a better way to do something, opening up the opportunity to excel more and even advance higher up the ladder.