4 Ways to Keep a Pay Raise from Stealing Your Joy

Salary increases are very important to self-esteem and motivation.  However, joy is much more important.  Often times, salary increases can steal your joy—making you wish you had your old salary back.  As a by-product of this bittersweet phenomenon myself, I have several tips that you and the folks you share this article with can use to maintain joy or increase joy throughout your careers.  (Please follow the chart below as a reference guide)

Job Happiness

(1) Seek Promotions or Lateral Moves Within Current Company

This tends to be easier at larger firms; however, smaller firms may give this opportunity as well.  In an ideal world, I would have done this at the first company that I worked for after college.  The company provided a large network for career paths at the location I was stationed as well as at other locations in the region.  In fact, this type of mobility and versatility was encouraged by management (to a point).  As stated in the title of this section, sometimes you do not necessarily need a pay increase or promotion to increase your joy, you just want a change of scenery. Staying with the same company makes that possibility quite easy—as long as you like the company you are with, of course.

(2) Keep Current Job and Develop a “Side Hustle”

What if you have very predictable working hours and lots of leisure time, but the pay is awful?  That’s how I felt within Firm B in 2012.  Nothing got on my nerves more than knowing that the peers I graduated with were making more money that I was.  However, instead of being smart, my pride got the best of me—I wanted employment elsewhere.  With the amount of leisure time that I had though, getting a new job should have been the last thing I wanted to do.  I should have sought a side hustle.  A side hustle is a miniature version of the DREAM CAREER that you want in the future.  If you work 40 hours per week or less, I highly recommend this option for increasing or maintaining joy.  Use your spare time to make your dreams come true—maximizing your joy and your checking account.

(3) Reduce Personal Debt and Give Yourself a Raise

Simply put, if you eliminate your debts (student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc), you will effectively have more recreational money and investment money—you have given yourself a raise!  Not only does this mean that you have more money to have fun with, but you also have more money to invest in yourself and your family (please revisit Step 2).  Reducing your debts is completely within your control as well.  So unlike landing a promotion or snagging a raise, you do not have to depend on luck—you can depend on faith and will-power! What’s not joyous about that?!

(4) Thoroughly Vet Opportunities for Advancement before Jumping Ship

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  You heard me earlier mention how I had almost laughably easy working hours.  I haven’t had that type of work/life balance in years.  And the stress is definitely wearing me down.  However, this could have all been avoided if I vetted the companies that I wanted to work for as thoroughly as possible.  Sometimes this isn’t easy, but it can be done.  Ask people who currently work at the firm that you wish to apply for.  If you end up getting an interview, ask to speak to an individual who has a similar job to the one you are applying for.  And lastly, if you get some unescorted time, look for the people who have the worst jobs within sight—they might be the most honest with you! If you get “bad vibes” after doing a proper vetting, then stay put and wait for another opportunity to arise—a pay increase isn’t worth sacrificing your joy for!

#CareerJoy What are some other ways to maintain joy while also increasing your income?

2 Comments
  1. Number 3 is really important. So many people don’t understand how powerful compound interest is. Any additional payments you can make on your debt can literally save you thousands of dollars.

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