A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a younger engineer with whom I am in the same project. He informed me that he had been to many different projects, but for short periods of time, because he is looking for greener pastures.
I asked him – have you found the greener pastures?
And he said – no, because the money is never enough.
And he asked me if I had found my greener pastures, and I told him while that is an important factor, it is not the primary determining factor on my career moves.
We spoke a bit further, and it became clear that for him to increase his chances of reaching the ever shifting goal post of greener pastures (that is a well-paying job that is also fulfilling, with great working conditions) he needs to do the following
- Improve and increase his relevant career skills
- Look for elevating job positions – that is, instead of moving horizontally from a job with similar roles but elsewhere, he should also move vertically to a job with more responsibilities elsewhere or where he is
- Improve his salary negotiation skills
Below, I expound on each
- Improving Work Skills
Employers look for problem solvers and personnel who work to ensure a positive cash flow for the company. No one wants to spend their money on someone who browses for a better part of the day at work. In as much as there is always something new to learn at work, it is good to bring something to the table.
The best way to improve your work skills is by taking short courses that will improve your expertise in your chosen field of work, and by undertaking work projects focused in developing the desired skill. Thus, in say 6 months, or 1 year, you will have much more career capital (more skills), which you can include in your CV, which will give you the confidence and reason to ask for more when it comes to wages/salary/fees.
- Look for Elevating Job Positions
I know of people who have stayed in the same job situation and condition for years. If you want that to be you, then this tip is not for you. But if you’re the opposite; here’s the deal – apply for jobs with roles you’d like to take on even though you may not have all required skills. Jobs with higher roles often require more of your resource, and also tend to pay more. This trajectory will lead you to management roles which inevitably translates to more pay.
- Improve your negotiation skills
Granted, it’s hard to negotiate the first salary, because you are green, and the company will retrain you to meet their needs, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of other applicants who would take your job offer without any second thought. But for your second job onwards, or after you have stayed the job a while, and improved your skills, you have the power to negotiate for a better salary. An important way to get the figure you want is to quote an amount higher than what you actually want (ideal amount), and your employer or prospective employer will also quote his or her amount, and the two of you will have to reach an amicable amount through negotiating (expected amount).
If you are afraid of negotiation, remember, your employer wants your time and skills, and therefore you are a resource. Also remember that you put in time and money in school and in previous jobs to acquire those skills, and ask yourself – how much am I worth? That will help take the jitters away.
Always, quote higher than you actually want because two things are bound to happen, you may get the ideal amount, or the amount you actually had in mind. If you start with your ideal amount, you will be taken a notch or two down much to your satisfaction.
After we were done with the conversation, my colleague told me that he now has a better idea on what he needs to do to get to his greener pastures.
I hope you have too.
Thanks for reading!