Not Being Paid What You are Worth? (Part I)

Not being paid what you are worth? Maybe it isn’t about you…

In one of my first jobs out of school, the engineering company that I worked for lost some valuable long-standing contract. After busting our butts all year, putting in heroic efforts and looking forward to our first raise, my junior colleagues and I did not receive the increase that we were promised.

In response, my colleague Pat announced that he was not working any harder until they paid him more. In fact, he did very little work at all, even the type of work he had previously done at his old salary.

I wondered out loud to Pat, what about the level of work that you are already being paid for? Should you not at least be delivering to that pre-agreed level?

Pat was eventually asked to leave. He had reneged on his agreement.

The company had also reneged on their agreement, and I chose to leave the company shortly after. I continued to put in my full share of effort until my final day. Word came all the way down from the company president to my director, to offer Wayne what it takes to keep him. My response was that it was too late and they would be wasting their money because I would probably still leave.

A company running on hard times is a different creature as compared to a job whose output is less valuable than it once was. Saving a company that is going through a temporary downturn by financing the company’s survival on the backs of hard working employees who deserve more is simply unfortunate but sometimes necessary. Our contractually agreed to raises were being used to subsidize the company’s marketing efforts.

The companies who have done this well reward the workers who are sharing the risk with a share in the future profits. The companies who simply take advantage of their employees lose their star performers while retaining the deadwood.

About Wayne McKinnon

Wayne McKinnon works with organizations to change their course of evolutions from extinct to distinct
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