Are you valuable or expensive?
Many years ago, in the second job of my career, I was working in a very large Indian publishing house. We were paid high salaries – the best in the Indian publishing industry.
In addition to the salary, almost every quarter or so, there would be some new fringe benefits such as Entertainment Allowance added to our compensation. Consequently, we were in a happy state.
Nowhere to go
As this trend continued, many of us who had better career ambitions than just drawing a large salary, felt trapped. Although I was promoted, for the bulk of the staff, the roles remained unchanged. To make matters worse, our peer organizations were paying just about 60% of what we were drawing for these roles. Obviously, there was nowhere to go.
Valuable vs. expensive
We were no longer valuable resources in the industry. We had become expensive resources.
Fortunately, after about 5 years in the publishing house, I got a break into an MNC that was able to better my compensation package and it was a happy transition for me. However, many of my colleagues were trapped in a culture that they hated but there was no honorable exit in sight because they had become unaffordable. As a result, they were trapped in a golden cage.
Salary vs. other engagement factors
There is enough research to suggest that salary alone cannot keep an employee engaged. Of course, employees expect fair compensation. However, today’s employees look for elements such as purpose and meaning at work, learning opportunities, recognition and respect, freedom to operate, trust in leadership and an invigorating Culture.
I have seen the same dilemma of valuable vs. expensive playing out in MNCs too.
Staying in the same role for too long will make you vulnerable
If you have stayed for too long in the same role and have been getting your regular yearly increases, chances are that in a few years time, you will become more expensive than valuable. If this situation continues for a long time, you could become a sitting duck when it comes to downsizing or reengineering decisions within the organization.
Also, being an expensive resource, if you have lost your job or have come out of a job on your own and are looking for a break again, it becomes extremely tough. Even if you are willing to compromise on your salary expectations, a prospective employer is always worried that you might not stay and jump ship for a better offer.
11 tips to protect your career
So, how do you protect your career? Here are a few ideas:
- Be brilliant at what you are meant to do.
- Keep up with what’s happening and where it is all heading.
- Know what is likely to make your role redundant and find ways to stay relevant. Read here my post about how important it is to see the writing on the wall.
- Stay social – presence in social networks is now essential.
- Stay focused on the Big Picture.
- Lighten your leader’s load – keep taking more and more from your manager and in the bargain, take on a bigger responsibility – you will become more valuable.
- Be a great communicator. Leadership is all about communication.
- Upskill yourself – in these times of obsolescence, watch out! You need to sharpen yourself. Get specialized skills that will be relevant in the future.
- Be a people leader.
- Focus on building and honing your leadership competencies.
- Take full responsibility for your career. Make personal investments in your career to plan ahead.
Always strive to be more valuable than expensive. As a result, you will have a fruitful and long career ahead in comparison to others.
Need help with planning your career? I offer career coaching. Let’s work together to make you more valuable. Write to me at mailme[email protected]