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Salary 101: How Much Are You Worth?

Money manners concern even the most successful individuals. Read our guide for figuring out the best way to nab a good payoff.

On the ladder of success, to learn the true value of hard work, you must start from the bottom—no matter who you are, who you know, or what you think you're worth.

Determining one's own worth is a subjective thing, as it is never and should never be confused with how much or how little you earn. However, it isn't called "earning a living" for nothing. So, how can you gauge your so-called net worth in this dog-eat-dog world?

Here are a few guidelines to get the inside scoop on dealing with salaries, especially for those seeking their first job, contemplating part-time work, or are thinking of moving to another company:

1. On The Down Low

Minimum wage or starting salaries, especially in the Philippines where the rate is daily rather than hourly, is, unfortunately, not what we all hope to be making when starting out.

However, unless your job is a per-project basis where the pay is higher but not regular, the bottom-line is never about the number. It's about what it teaches you on budgeting, prioritizing basic daily necessities, the meaning of hard work, and most importantly, the value of sacrifice. Once you learn these, everything else life throws at you will be more manageable or, better yet, a breeze.

2.  Short-Term Vs. Long-Term

As much as the objective of working is to make as much money in the shortest time possible, whatever the job may be, you should always consider the pros and cons from a short-term and long-term perspective.

If the long-term benefits of your current low-paying, not-too-pleasant job outweigh the present circumstances, then it serves you right to be patient and persistent. Some people make the common mistake of charging or expecting too much, right from the get-go, which results to "one-time-big-time" jobs/projects, rather than smaller yet more frequent projects. Think volume.

3.  Pro Bono

There may be instances in your career where you will be offered jobs/projects that are below your minimum asking fee, but you shouldn't dismiss these opportunities—compromising is always a good way to establish your rate flexibility amongst clients/employers.

Now, what about the ones that are way below your asking fee? Before you brush off those seemingly insulting offers, assess first what you can get in return (e.g. expanding your network, building your resume, etc.), other than the monetary pay, and decide if it's worth it. Refer to #1.

However, to protect the integrity of your professional fees by not letting people assume you bite whatever fee is thrown at you, it's best to go pro bono, a.k.a free of charge. It may seem like you're being shortchanged when, in fact, you are merely establishing that you are doing the job for reasons other than money. That way, you would hope the professional courtesy is returned to you should the situation arise.

4. Perks And Privileges

There will be jobs that pay well but don't come with added benefits, while other jobs may only pay you a certain amount but come with so much more than your salary can afford.

Other than a salary, you should take a look at what each job has to offer in terms of perks and privileges. Though they may not be readily available right from the start, with hard work and patience, these rewards will slowly come, like a company car (sometimes of your choice), trips, signing privileges, and more.

5. Supply And Demand

We'd all like to believe we have so much to offer with regards to expertise, work ethic, and the like. However, everything is relative. Do your research to see if your skills and expertise are a dime a dozen or if they are really something more exclusive to you. This should help you manage your expectations when it comes to job earnings.

No matter what the job may be, salaries will surely help you survive on a daily basis and build your own financial pot. However, remember to build your character, wisdom from job experiences, and core values, as well. These will get you further than any top salary can.

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