What to do when you love your job but get paid a pittance

  March 18, 2017

One of the most common dilemmas facing anyone looking for a job is: money or job satisfaction? Which is more important? Almost everyone would say job satisfaction; after all you, assuming you work full time, you'll essentially be spending more time at work than anywhere else, so it's damn important to make sure you like what you are doing. But that doesn't mean money isn't important, in fact it's very important if you want to do things like live in a home, eat food and have any sort of social life. The actual amount of money you'll need to do all of these things will of course vary depending on your personal definition of the 'good life'. Some people manage on barely anything and are quite content, while others may be objectively richer, but still don't feel they have enough. But the point isn't actually about how much money you have, it's about whether you think it's satisfactory, and what do you do when you love what you do, but the pay isn't what you want?

Ask for more

As a graduate you probably assume that you can't ask for a raise, and this is true to a degree, especially when you are new in a role. But if you believe you are being paid unfairly, and can pull together a justifiable business case for why you think you deserve more, then there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't ask for more. We'd definitely advising doing your research about how to negotiate your salary effectively though as it's unfortunately not as simple as ask and get. If you're not quite ready for the 'just ask' approach, then you could play the longer, more subtle game of speaking to your boss about what it is you'd need to do in order to secure a pay rise or promotion. This way you're not directly asking, but you're still planting that seed, and making some proactive effort to move towards that bigger salary.

Earn more

When getting more out of your current employer is a no go, but you still really need/want a bit of extra cash, then you might just have to suck it up and do some extra work on the side. This could be anything from working weekends at your local supermarket, doing some freelance work in the evenings or even taking part in medical trials for money (not necessarily the top choice). You are ultimately the one in control of how much you earn, so if you've got the skill and the will to go out there and earn more, then do it!

Go somewhere they will give you more

Not getting what you want in your current job and don't have time/energy/desire to do a bit on the side? It might be time to start looking elsewhere, this is going to be the least favourable option is you genuinely like what you already do, but if money is such an important factor, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. The thing to bear in mind though is that sometimes in order to make any real progress in terms of salary, you might have to move not only companies, but industry as well. A lot of the time the pay you'll get for a particular role will be pretty standard across the board, so in order to make more, a more lateral move might be required. If this is the route you choose, then don't forget to use your Happy Work profile and we can make sure that wherever you do switch to is a good fit, so hopefully you end up liking your new job just as much, as well as getting a little extra in the bank each month.