Know your worth, and other financial lessons for the Class of 2022
Early in my career, there was a time when I felt under-appreciated and underpaid.
I had been working in the financial industry for a couple of years and managed to advance relatively quickly but because newly-promoted employees start at the bottom of a position’s pay band — regardless of their track record — I was one of the lowest paid team members.
I found myself frustrated that compensation was based on tenure, rather than productivity. While I enjoyed working for one such company and didn’t want to leave, I also wanted to be appreciated and paid at market value.
I had a fairly good idea of my worth as I had received a job offer from a competing institution. Armed with this information, I approached my manager to renegotiate my salary.
My manager decided to match the job offer and promptly moved me from the bottom of my position’s pay band to the top — an increase of approximately 20 per cent.
Of course, not all outcomes are this positive.
If management refuses to negotiate it is likely for one of two reasons — either you overestimated your value or they under-appreciate your contributions. If the latter is the case, I would consider making a change.
Avoid being over-paid
Knowing your worth also means recognizing when you might be over-compensated.
Our economy is entering a period of slower economic growth, maybe even a recession. In this environment, you don’t want to be the overpaid under-performer as they tend to be the first to be let go.
If I suspected I was over-compensated for my role, I’d take steps to make myself more valuable to the organization, or move to a position that better suits my skill set.
The goal is to make yourself indispensable as it reduces the chances of being laid-off and, during the good times, you are in a better position to negotiate your salary.
The slogan “follow your passion” is often heard at graduation ceremonies but unless that passion is combined with marketable skills, it may not be good advice.
Rather than the pursuit of happiness, which is often temporary and fleeting, I prefer a graduate pursue satisfaction — which is deeper and enduring.
Satisfaction is the feeling you get after a long-fought battle, such as earning a university degree, completing a marathon, or successfully launching a product. It takes a lot of effort and work but, once accomplished, it’s that feeling of pride that your hard work paid off that I believe young people should seek.
It may sound cliché, but my success wouldn’t have happened without a team of others.
Most great accomplishments or inventions are the result of teamwork, which is why I try to surround myself with quality people that have different but complementary skill sets.
Most of my real estate dealings involve partners, and now that I’m growing a business, I rely heavily on my partners and their connections. I don’t recommend being a lone wolf. I believe it is better to share the workload, as well as the successes and failures.
The last piece of advice is to work hard.
Greatness comes from hard work and there is no substitute for it. If you find a role where you are making a real contribution and that gives you a lot of satisfaction— happiness and success should follow.
As a young person you have the passion, time and energy—so put in the work and be successful.
On The Coast7:47Finance Tips for New Grads