Why Understanding Your Value Is Important to Getting Paid Better

Last updated 1 Jun 2017 . 5 min read

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Pooja is a 21-year-old working in a media start-up in Mumbai. While the company is quite well-known, the show is basically run by about 20 employees who are close-knit enough to feel more like a family than colleagues. Pooja joined the company fresh out of college, one year ago, in the Business Development team.

And she absolutely loves it. It is a job she enjoys with an excellent work environment and culture and she feels like she is constantly being challenged and has the opportunity to grow. And grown she has. The first few months involved her mostly doing the groundwork for her seniors’ clients, getting every little thing approved and going for client meetings with her seniors to learn. Once she had completely been trained and was confident enough, she was slowly made more independent. Now, Pooja handles her own set of clients for the company and does a pretty amazing job of it.

She finds it almost unreal. After all the complains she’d heard about the “real world” from her college seniors, she couldn’t believe that she was actually being paid to do something she thoroughly enjoys doing. She looks forward to going to work every morning.

Much like a first relationship, Pooja is utterly smitten with her first job.

But on their one year anniversary, as appraisal season rolls around, Pooja finds out her company probably isn’t into her as much as she is, into it.

Being offered a paltry pay raise, Pooja begins to question her worth. She knows from interactions with her colleagues who she is very close to that the bump hasn’t been uniform. She also knows her friends at an equivalent level in other organisations are being paid much better.

Yet, Pooja finds it hard to take it up with her bosses. She is a fresh graduate with just a year of experience, she thinks, she clearly isn’t indispensable to the organisation. What if she overevaluated herself and only deserves so much? She should just suck it up and say yes. Thoughts like these circle around her head day in and day out, till she finds it hard to focus on anything at all. Her appraisal has begun to eat into her self-esteem and she can feel herself crumbling.

Finally, she confides in Shabana, her colleague who had been in the organisation for a couple of years already. Shabana’s solution is simple, if Pooja isn’t happy with her appraisal, she should talk to her seniors about it. But Pooja feels justifying why she deserved a bigger raise would feel like bragging and being a junior level employee, she doesn’t want to grow too big for her boots. She’d rather let her work speak for itself.

Shabana realised that Pooja’s self-confidence has been shattered. So she takes a different approach. First, she gets Pooja to evaluate her value. Together, they work on a list of things she does differently and much more effectively now as compared to a year ago, charting her growth. They analyse what makes Pooja important in the organisation, what are the unique values that she brings to the table that others don’t. Finally, they calculate the revenue that Pooja has brought in terms of business for the organisation in the past year. Turns out, the annual salary Pooja had been expecting was a mere 1% of the annual revenue she had brought in.

Shabana also pushes Pooja to go for job interviews, even if she is not looking for a change to understand her market value. Clearly, it is a lot more than the raise she had been offered.

With these discoveries, the once timid Pooja regains her self-confidence. Now comes part 2 of the process – communicating her value.  With her newfound understanding of her own worth, Pooja is no longer willing to settle. She arranges for a meeting with her bosses and confidently talks about why she deserves a better raise. Nothing she says seems like bragging because she is, in reality, simply stating facts.

Her bosses deliberate and agree to grant her the salary she expected.

Pooja is every single one of us. We’ve all felt bummed about not being paid enough, yet most of us refuse to evaluate the actual situation and assume it is because this is what we deserve.

While both men and women are affected by this, it is more prevalent in the case of women. In fact, women in India earn 25% less than men, proving that gender continues to be a significant parameter in determining salaries in India, according to the Monster Salary Index (MSI) on gender for 2016. While men earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs345.8, women earned Rs259.8 in 2016.

In an insightful Ted Talk, pricing consultant Casey Brown shares helpful stories and learnings that can help you better communicate your value and get paid for your excellence.

Watch it right away and then get on a call with your boss!




Palak Kapadia

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