The saddest people I see are those who, having never fought for raises or promotions, never explained they couldn’t carry the workload forever, wake up full of fury to find no one understands. why they’re fussing. The boss is shocked: You’ve been the workhorse at a cheap rate forever. Why would you decide now that you’re being mistreated?
Here’s the skinny. Most people who are overworked and underpaid are willing victims with withered, diseased, under-inflated egos. They know they should demand more money, look for a new job, campaign to get work reassigned, but comfort is so important they will stand almost any mistreatment as long as they don’t have to argue or campaign. One day a triggering event occurs and they turn into an avenger. What happens is that comfort becomes less important and fair treatment more.
One of my clients was underpaid by 30 percent because she worked three days a week. The company felt it could get more from her because she had a “better” schedule. This might have gone on forever until, one day in the office, she saw a W-2 form that belonged to a co-worker. It was not 20, not 30, but 62 percent more than she was earning. Her gratitude for the schedule on a scale of 1-100 went to -50. Fortunately, she called me before she confronted her boss.
As I told her, she has encouraged the common wisdom that what mattered most to her was her work schedule. Second, she’d let people think she was so grateful for flexibility that she’d never leave. Hence, exploiting her was a slam dunk. Note: If your boss believes you won’t leave you’ll never get a raise. Why throw money at people who don’t care? It’s anti-capitalistic.
Unless you are prepared to fight for money because you’ve earned (not deserved) it, you are exploiting yourself! Who’s to blame for that? My client got an offer from another company, same schedule, for twice what she was earning. Her employer matched it. She has gotten over gratitude as she considers her long-term financial interests and how ugly being old and poor might be.
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