"I have a job and team that I love, but I'm not getting paid or valued at the amount that I should be when I look at the market rate. How should I evaluate this situation and determine what my next steps should be to get a raise?"
Having a job and team you love is great, but ultimately we work to make money. If you are not being paid or valued at the amount that you should be, then it's definitely time to ask for a pay raise.
To get the the raise you want and deserve you're first going to have to do some information gathering. Going to your boss with a print out of Salary.com's breakdown for your job title isn't going to be enough. You have to build a clear case for why you should be making market rate.
What makes you valuable to the organization?
We recommend documenting any and all positive evidence of progress or success while on the job. Did you launch a campaign that brought in X% increase in revenue? Have you built out and managed processes that have improved work quality and output? Write all of these things down and come prepared to speak to your successes. It might feel awkward, but you have to be your best champion. Also, while your boss probably loves you, he or she may have forgotten some of these achievements. If you're asking for more money, now is a good time to remind them.
Be ready to look elsewhere
If you've presented the evidence and still aren't getting the money you want and deserve it may be time to move on. It's hard to say goodbye to a team you love, but the longer you tarry because of personal connections, the longer you hamper your ability to earn more money. Also, don't think your organization doesn't know how much you love your team. They could be capitalizing on the personal connections you have to keep you at your current level. If they believe you're not willing to leave, what incentive do they have to pay you more when they can keep you for less?
It is in their best interest to keep you happy and satisified.
Employee churn is expensive. The cost of: paying out your PTO, the displacement or halting of the work you are currently doing, recruitment costs, time spent by hiring managers, the fact that they may have to pay your replacement more, and finally, the time spent onboarding the new employee, all adds up. The increase in salary you are asking for is most likely less than all of those factors combined.
If this organization is not willing to invest in you and your growth then despite how much you may love your job and your team it is not a great place to work. The longer you stay the more you are impacting your chances of making more money long term. The sooner you get this pay raise the sooner you get the next one. If you're not getting paid what you are worth, the love for your team and your job may diminish because you don't feel valued. Then you'll be stuck with a shitty salary, a job you resent, having lost time and money.
Lastly, just because you leave a job doesn't mean you lose your friends. You can always grab drinks with them to bitch about your new job, and you'll be able to afford to buy an extra round. Best of luck.
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