How Your Limitations Determine Your Salary

Oct 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

Things are hot in the Healthcare IT marketplace today. As a result, many people I speak with think they need to leverage this demand and attempt to increase their compensation while the going is good. So, how do you make the most of this hot market? Can you just walk into your manager’s office and tell them how much demand there is for your skills and request, or demand, an increase in salary? I guess you could, but what if your manager says, “I would love to increase your salary, but we just don’t have it in the budget.”

Recently, I was on the phone with a lady who’s a clinical analyst within a hospital IT department in the Midwest. She was frustrated, because she thought she’s worth more than she was earning. She came to this conclusion based upon what some of her coworkers who’d left the organization were making at the new companies they’d joined. One of the co-workers to whom she was referring turned to consulting and another had joined a hospital in the Northeast.

This lady was not willing to get into consulting because she didn’t want to travel the required amount, nor was she willing to relocate to take advantage of jobs in other states. She also did not want to commute more than 50 miles a day. And guess what? There are no other hospitals for her to work within a 50-mile radius of where she lives. Basically, she didn’t have any other options due to the limitations she put on herself in finding a new position and taking into account the opportunities in her local marketplace, which were essentially zero.

For this lady, her family is a top priority and they all live in the area. She didn’t want to be away from her family three nights a week. This is perfectly understandable and is the case for about 80% of the people in the marketplace at any given time. But she had to realize that, based upon where she lives and the criteria she set for herself, she doesn’t have any other career options at this time.

She could build a great case for herself with her manager to justify why she was worth more money. But at the end of the day, with the limitations she put on her career options, which were basically to stay with her current employer, she was only going to make what they were willing to pay her.

The reason I’m sharing this information is because I’ve found myself having this conversation frequently in recent months.

A hot employment market is one that presents many options for the employees of that market. When the opportunities are few and far between, then a market is not very hot.

The key lesson to be learned here is that if you’re in a situation in which setting limitations on what you’re willing to do for a higher salary or better career opportunity narrows your options, you become the single factor remaining in the financial dilemma you’re facing.

You may also enjoy: 3 Things Contractors Do Wrong That Lead to Short Contracting Careers

Consulting, Career Planning, David Kushan


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