Don't Underestimate Your Worth

Needless to say, one of the best ways solidify your financial circumstances is to increase the amount of money that you take in. If you're employed, have you undervalued yourself? Never, ever be ashamed to ask about what other professionals in your field are making. And never be ashamed to ask questions about how money is being spent in your particular business environment. Below are some on-the-job tips to help you ensure that you're compensated according to your worth:

Get your compensation agreement in writing. Verbal agreements are worthless if there's ever a difference of opinion. Always ask your supervisor to document agreements about time, money, or benefits. If it's not done, send a follow-up e-mail or letter as a reminder, and be sure to keep a copy yourself.

Negotiate your benefits. Everything is negotiable, and time or extra benefits may be more valuable than money in certain circumstances. If your spouse has a good health insurance plan, you might consider dropping this benefit in exchange for time off or additional compensation. Also take into account the extra costs associated with your employment, such as your cell phone and laptop computer, and make sure that you're appropriately compensated for their use or that you're utilizing these expenses to your advantage tax-wise.

Submit your expense reports in a timely fashion. It can be a real irritation (not only to your boss but to your payroll department as well) if you turn in your expense report late and then ask for your reimbursement check to be expedited. There's no point in waiting for the due date of your credit card bill to be right on top of you before you write up your expense report. Besides, an extra thirty days can make a difference in the interest you earn in your accounts.

Always know your supervisor's boss. And always subtly make sure that he or she knows about the great job you're doing so that when it comes time for a salary review, you're sure that the ultimate decision maker (or a step closer to it, at least) knows just how wonderful you are. Never assume that your boss is telling his or her boss how brilliantly you're doing; instead, find a roundabout way to communicate this yourself.

Ask for performance reviews. Don't just wait to be given one. These keep you in step with your boss; they also keep you on top of future salary negotiations. In many organizations, especially entrepreneurial ones, salary negotiations aren't handled on a formal basis; instead, they can occur at any time, subject to the whim of someone noticing how well you're performing. Make sure that someone is always aware that you are an asset and that you make a difference to the company's bottom line.

Keep your options open. If you're contacted by a headhunter (an employment recruiter), take the opportunity to talk and gauge your value in the workforce – even if you're not looking for a new job. Just because you aren't in the market doesn't mean that you shouldn't stay informed. After all, the object is to know what you're worth. It's the first step toward getting it.

blog comments powered by Disqus