What To Do When You’re Underpaid

You’re frustrated right now because you feel like you’re not being compensated what you deserve for the amount of experience you have and the amount of work you’re doing every day. 

There are plenty of people that feel the same way you do right now; overworked and underpaid. 

You’ve gone year after year, getting great evaluations and doing everything you’re supposed to do, but you’re still not paid equitably. 

At least that’s what you feel in your gut. 

When you don’t get paid what you’re worth, you start to develop imposter syndrome. 

You feel like you don’t deserve the job and that’s why they’re not paying you.  

You’ll start to look around for other opportunities because you don’t feel valued.  

But if you leave your organization right now, it’s going to hurt your team because they care about you.  

They need you but they don’t control whether you get the salary bump that you deserve. 

Here is some advice to get out of this situation.  

1. Keep doing your job. 

When it comes to getting promotions, higher ups will find any reason not to give you what you deserve.  

You can to hit every metric, every mark and every goal set out for you.  

They’re going to find an excuse to not give you what you want. 

You’ve got to do what you were hired to do and do it to the best of your ability.  

Don’t give them any reason to find an excuse not to pay you what you deserve. 

2. Ask for what you want. 

The next time you have an evaluation, you need to ask for what you want.  

Many times, if we don’t ask for what we want, we won’t get it.  

I know you think people should give it to you based upon merit.  

But I will tell you a phrase that I’ve heard for many years: closed mouths don’t get fed. 

You’ve got to find a way to open your mouth and speak up for yourself to ask for what you want.  

Go in there and be prepared to show your success. 

This is why you don’t stop doing your job. 

3. Tidy up your resume. 

This one is probably going to be the scariest for you.  

 You need to tidy up your resume.  

You need to tidy up your LinkedIn page. 

Start putting feelers out there and looking for a new opportunity. 

I’m not telling you to quit your job.  

But I want you to get yourself together to see how you stack up in the marketplace.  

Many times, you may start in an organization at a low position and work your way up through the ranks. 

You think that with your promotional and pay increases that you’re being paid equitably. 

You’re not. 

You’re a result of a legacy position. 

This means you started at a super low salary and you worked your way up into leadership, but you’re not necessarily being compensated at the market rate. 

HR is supposed to do their part and do a market analysis.  

But we all know in business, sometimes those things don’t get done.  

Don’t wait for an internal mechanism to tell you what you’re worth. 

Put your stuff together and put some feelers out there.  

Maybe even apply for one or two jobs to see how you stack up in the marketplace.  

You don’t have to take any of those jobs.  

But you should see where you stand in the market.  

4. Have a conversation. 

Have a clear and direct conversation about your work, your performance, and how you have contributed to the organization.  

Don’t get caught up in your feelings.  

We can only talk about the facts.  

You’ve been a high performer.  

You’ve got high employee engagement.  

Your team cares about you and people look up to you as a role model in the organization.  

But most importantly, you’ve hit every metric and every goal that has been set for you.  

So based upon this, you deserve to be compensated equitably.  

And you’ve got to have some idea of what that amount should be.  

See what other jobs are being posted for when you’re searching online.  

Keep in mind: 

You might get told no or you may not get a response at all. 

You organization may even show you that they don’t care about you. 

They’re not willing to help you with the compensation.  

This may not be the family organization that you thought it was in the first place. 

This may not be the place you need to be long-term. 

You may actually need to call some of those folks back and really start looking for a new career. 

This is going to be a difficult time in your professional career.  

I want to do my part to help you to find success.  

I want to help you to become the most admired executive that your organization has ever seen, but most importantly, get compensated what you’re worth and what you deserve. 



Recent Posts