Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Are You Smart Enough to Be Underpaid?

Are you smart enough to be underpaid? It sounds like an oxymoron, right? But when you boil it all down, it makes a lot of sense.

A few years ago, a salary scandal put the City of Bell, California under national scrutiny, according to CBS Moneywatch. Residents of the city found that the City Manager made $800,000, the Police Chief made $457,000 and the Assistant City Manager made $376,288.  Shortly after, the three resigned, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Needless to say, residents of City of Bell weren’t happy with these outrageous figures, and that’s in large part because they didn’t believe these city salary employees deserved what they made.

While you may not be a city manager or police chief, this story could just as easily be about you. Though you may not be accountable to an entire city, you are accountable to your office peers, managers and clients, as CBS Moneywatch points out. If they were to find out your salary, would they think you were overpaid or underpaid?

When it comes to salary employees, you want to be considered underpaid. Yes, that’s right: underpaid. CBS Moneywatch states that you want everyone around you to value the work you’re doing so much that they believe you’re underpaid. Here’s how you can start.

Work hard. You would think this was stating the obvious, but it’s more than just doing your job. To be a more valued employee, you need to go above and beyond. Don’t just work within the limitations of your job description.

Find ways to do more and provide more to clients. Think outside of the box, but always run new ideas and opportunities by your manager. Doing so will not only ensure you’re helping the team rather than hurting but also clue your boss into the extra steps and work you’re doing.

Do the dirty work. Every team has those jobs, those tasks — the ones that no one on the team wants to do. Be the employee that takes these on. They may not be glamorous or exciting, but typically, these are tasks that make you invaluable.

In this case, you’re not only adding value to yourself as an employee, but you’re securing your job as well.

Keep your head down. Becoming an employee that is overvalued and underpaid doesn’t always feel great. In fact, it’s easy to begin feeling under-appreciated. When this happens, you simply need to keep your head down and continue working hard.

Your boss isn’t blind. And neither are your co-workers. Everyone will see what you’re doing, and when it’s time to evaluate work performance, your hard work will pay off — literally. Being an underpaid employee leaves room for big raises. And when other salary employees learn your figure, they’ll say you deserve it.

Do you strive to have your peers think of you as underpaid? Spark a conversation below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by rh1n0

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.

1 comment

  • So we should be some kind of martyrs? I love that you’re a freelance writer, I believe that’s the way to live. But I don’t know, it shocks me to read that, in some way, we should keep our heads down and bow to our managers. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of the article is fantastic: people thinking you deserve more. That’s a lovely objetive. But I don’t know if the way is hard work; I believe the way is smart work. The problem with that is that we still have managers and peers who only see how much time you spend sitting in your desk.