Sept. 14, 2022

Dr. Wong's Weekly Reflection: What Salary and Benefits am I Looking for as an Employee?

Dr. Wong's Weekly Reflection: What Salary and Benefits am I Looking for as an Employee?

S4/Ep 21//Weekly Reflection 2//Color of Success

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In our brand new segment, Weekly Reflection, Dr. Wong discusses a thought question, and provides an actionable item to further self-reflection.  In this week's episode, she challenges you to think, "What salary and benefits am I looking for as an employee?"

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Weekly Reflection: What salary and benefits am I looking for as an employee?

“I make enough money,” says no one, including worker bees all the way to CEO’s.  The debate continues as to whether employees are getting paid adequately for the work that they do.  There are rare instances when CEO’s take pay cuts when the company may not be doing so hot, so they don’t have to cut employee salaries.  This may implicitly imply that they make enough, but these acts seem even more rare than a person becoming part of the 1%-ers. 

So, how could companies determine an employee’s “value?” How are they redefining it now that the pandemic has led to more people working remotely?  For instance, a livable wage in California is significantly higher than in other states, yet whether an employee lives in CA or NV, they theoretically would be producing the same output.  Many companies also try to attract talent through perks.  However, free lunches seem to have lost its novelty during this zeitgeist.  What do employees want?

I, for one, value flexibility, a supportive team environment, continuing to enjoy raises, ability to accrue and use vacation or sick leave (especially for mental health days).  Working remotely has substantially improved my mental health and has increased personal safety, seeing patients virtually.  I get to have co-workers like my dogs and partner. I’m there when my kids get home from school, although I strongly dislike correcting homework on fractions.  I am not going to lie, being paid “well” is a value, which includes salary, retirement, leave, as compared to what other organizations would pay me.  The role is extremely important.  Am I providing care with a healthy team?  Are we making an impact?  After all, you can be in a job with seemingly great benefits, but the job duties and team are not conducive to your job and life satisfaction. 

An actionable item: Identify the most important aspects of a job that you care about.  Then, prioritize them in terms of importance.  Also, identify non-negotiables.  For instance, I wouldn’t take the job if they didn’t provide X,Y,Z?  It may also be helpful to do market research on average salaries in these jobs.  Examine these answers in the context of your current role and any jobs that you are interested in applying to.  You may find that you actually have a “great gig,” or it may be time to move on.  This exercise can jump start your career development.