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  • Writer's pictureStraight To The Point

Are you paid well?

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

There would be very few people in this world, who would answer with a "YES" to the above question. Even those CEOs and Presidents of Corporation who are paid in millions, there is a strong possibility that they feel that the organisations do not pay them well. We feel that our skills and knowledge is worth much more than the pay cheque that the HR department processes every month. We put in the mandated number of hours and more at work, yet the salary remains the same (some are of course are blessed with over time, compensation paid for working beyond your stipulated hours, though this is slowly disappearing in many parts of the world).

There would be a world of difference in the technological skills, attitude, aptitude and the behaviour of the baby boomers and the millennial - the one thing they would agree would regarding the salary or being not paid enough.

Salary is negotiated at the beginning of the employment and is periodically reviewed based on the career progression of the employee. The starting salary obviously depends on the skills, experience, education and the cadre to which the offer is being made. In some organisations (especially the Government) the salary scales are fixed and everyone in a particular cadre gets paid the same. This, according to some management experts, is the reason for the bureaucracy or a lack of ownership amongst the government employees. Whether you are a motivated employee or a disgruntled one, both of you get paid the same amount at the end of the month. It is only the intrinsic motivation of some that keeps them going on a different path.

Many of us consider the salary as the compensation that the organisation pays us for the effort we put in during the working hours with the organisation. We are like mercenaries hiring out our skills and time in compensation for a financial gain.

Time for a paradigm shift

Instead of viewing the salary as a compensation for our time, let's examine a different view point; a paradigm shift in the traditional way we approach the salary and employee concept. Every job is an opportunity for us to learn new skills and develop and practice the skills learnt to make us more experienced.

Lets take a fictional case of John. The year is 2017 and John has just passed out of the college having secured a degree from a university that is neither in the standards of Oxford or Harvard nor is it a degree mill. It is just one of the thousands of universities in the world. John now applies for a position in NewCo and gets hired in one of the departments. He is offered a reasonable amount as a salary.

What is John bringing to the table? An academic degree, zero experience, minimal skills and an acceptable level of interpersonal competencies. How does the organization make use of him?

John is put on an Apprenticeship (formal or informal) program for a few weeks or months for him to learn the trade and apply the academic knowledge he has learnt at the university. Chances are that he would have made a number of mistakes while at the job. These mistakes are corrected and often a senior colleague is assigned to John under whom he works. John puts in the required number of hours and gets paid regularly every month.

Lets review John in 2020. It's three years since John joined NewCo. John is now a confident team member of the department, who understands his job, has additional skills and knowledge, experience of three years and has also improved his skills of interacting with his bosses, peers and juniors. One day John sees an opening for an experienced person in another NewCo2 and promptly applies for the job and gets it. He quits NewCo and joins NewCo2 at a higher pay and position.

Sounds familiar? All of us have either gone through this experience or know someone who has gone through this.

NewCo gave John the opportunity to learn and sharpen his skills which enabled him to get a higher position in a different company. While at the university John was paying tuition fees for learning and getting his degree, while at his first job NewCo was paying John for learning . We get paid by the organisation for learning. We are not getting paid for putting in the hours at the organisation. This is the paradigm shift which I am drawing your attention to.

The learning aspect applies to everyone, whether you are someone who is starting their career or someone who is at the zenith of theirs. There is opportunity to learn and improve the learning every day. Learning is a destination that you will never ever hope to reach. It is a journey with several milestones and it is for certain that we will drop off at one of those milestones. That is when we stop learning or perhaps we are either not in a position to learn due to health or we are dead.

It is a personal choice that we make when we go to work every day. Am I going to work to learn and improve or am I going to fulfil the obligation of being present at work. If we are going to work to learn and improve then we have the satisfaction of realizing that the employer is paying us for this. If and when we decide to leave the organization the boss cannot delete the skills and knowledge we acquired during our stay. It is not like your profile on the intranet or your email id which can be deleted. You carry with you the skills and knowledge to the next destination.

You are the primary beneficiary of the skills and knowledge you gain at work. The organization is a secondary beneficiary of these skills and knowledge which help you to improve your productivity and efficiency.

Let's make everyday a day to learn and grow and get paid for that!!

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