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Upset About Your Pay? Think About What Else Your Job Gives You

Many surveys have shown that more money alone doesn't make a huge difference in the way people feel about their job.

10/24/2017 17:23 EDT | Updated 10/24/2017 17:40 EDT
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One of the biggest complaints people have is that they often aren't paid enough for what they do.

But is money really your biggest issue? If your pay was doubled, would you be much happier?

We all know the adage that "money doesn't buy happiness." Many surveys have shown that more money alone doesn't make a huge difference in the way people feel about their job.

Of course, this is assuming that your job pays you enough to cover all your bills. Maybe you don't fly away on vacation once a year, or ever buy a new car, or own your own home, but we'll assume you do get paid enough that you're relatively comfortable. (If you can't pay your bills, it is all about the money. After that, other things are more important.)

So, if it's not money — what does make people love their jobs?

Let's take an example. Say your daughter is getting married in the summer, and it just happens to conflict with a major product launch at your company. It wouldn't matter how much money you were offered to come to work then, you just aren't going to do it, are you?

I'm 52, and when my dad was young, his family was very poor. Money was (and still is) very important to him. He has a "scarcity" mentality, meaning he's always worried he won't have enough money. Growing up, it seemed to me as if we always did have enough money, and I don't feel that I suffered. I'm not sure he would see it that way.

Perks, in general, are an important job consideration to more than half of all people looking for a job.

When I was going to college, my dad instilled in me the importance of having a well-paying job above all else. I knew that I had to make good money so that I, and my family, didn't suffer. I grew up focusing on the number that was my salary. Since my job at the time didn't pay as well as many other jobs, I was always unhappy with my pay. That unhappiness worked its way into being unhappy with my boss, my company and my profession.

My children were not raised with a focus on the almighty dollar in the way that I was. By the time I had children, I understood there was far more to life than just money.

When my younger son, Patrick, graduated from university with a degree in engineering, he was in demand. At every interview he went to, he was offered the job. He was able to pick and choose where he wanted to work.

But the job he selected was not the best-paying one. He turned down a six-figure position (right out of university, if you can imagine) because the "cost" of that job was more than he wanted to pay. They expected heavy overtime (as part of his annual salary), they expected a fair bit of travel, and they expected a lot more than Patrick was willing to give just for a big paycheque.

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The company he chose provides a great quality of life in a town that has reasonably priced real estate. And when overtime is expected, it is not only rare, it is also paid. He was offered great benefits and an education allowance. That was the job that made sense to him. I'm glad he didn't focus on the salary; I'm sure he is much happier with the company he chose because it aligns with his values.

Glassdoor.com recently surveyed people about what was most important than money to them. Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said they preferred new or additional benefits over a pay increase.

Thirty per cent of people surveyed said a flexible schedule (for instance, the ability to work from home) was more valuable than a raise. A free lunch and casual dress were more valuable to 19 per cent of respondents, and employee development programs were more important than a raise to 19 per cent of respondents.

That list shows how important some benefits are over salary. Perks, in general, are an important job consideration to more than half of all people looking for a job.

Currently, 52 per cent of office professionals (according to SnackNation.com) are expected to be on call after hours. How important is it to you that you not be on call? A whopping 51 per cent of people take 10 or fewer vacation days a year. How would you like to be so busy that you can't even take all of your vacation allowance?

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Three out of four employees say their boss is the most stressful part of their job, and 65 per cent of people say they would take a new boss over a pay raise, according to SnackNation.com.

Clearly, it isn't all about money.

When you are upset that you're underpaid or when you feel you're being taken advantage of, it is important to list all the benefits your job offers you. Take the bottom line out of the equation and ask yourself how important some of the other perks your company offers you are.

How important is a good working relationship with your executive? What is the price for having great co-workers, a decent commute to the office, respect within the team at your workplace and value afforded to your work skills? What price tag can you put on the fact that your company supports your professional development, or encourages volunteering within your community, or allows you to have decent work/life balance?

Stop thinking about the number that goes on your taxes each year, and focus on all the other benefits you get. That will be more likely to make you want to get up in the morning and feel grateful that you work where you do!

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