Salary and Promotions

Wanted: Fuel Counselor

A co-worker of mine only buys $15 of gas at a time. She’s been doing this since gas was 98 cents, and $15 used to go a lot further. It used to fill up the entire tank. She still pays the same amount when she fills up because it is psychologically easier on her.

This morning I looked at my car’s gas gauge and wondered if I could make it through the week with only one-third a tank of gas. I was relieved when I did the math. If I only drive to and from work, I’ll make it with two gallons to spare.

The topic was fresh on my mind, having just read the nationwide AAA gas price survey. The report was disturbing.

Nebraska has the most expensive gas in the nation – their average is $3.34 for a gallon of gas – 29 cents above the national average of $3.05. Rounding out the top 10 are Wisconsin, Indiana, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Kansas and Iowa

South Carolina has the cheapest AAA gas ranking, at $2.83, followed by New Jersey, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

I know that on Friday it will cost me more than $50 to fill up my car. Something I know is inevitable, but it will nonetheless ruin my TGIF celebration. I’m making alterations to my lifestyle this week by only eating meals I prepare myself. No take out or dining out until I fill up my vehicle.

Pinching pennies is a necessity because I make the same amount that I did when gas was $1 a gallon cheaper. I’m thankful I now work 12 miles from the office instead of the 40 miles I used to drive. Moving closer to work was a lifestyle change as much as it was an economic decision.

If gas prices keep escalating I might forgo asking for a raise and ask for gas vouchers instead.

What about you? Do you fill ’er up or only purchase a set dollar amount? Are you changing your lifestyle to adjust to paying more at the pump? Looking for work closer to home? Riding your bike?

What’s In Your Wallet?

Are you getting paid what you’re worth? I’ll guess, probably not. I don’t know of anyone who thinks they make enough money.

Well, I have some good news for you, courtesy of an online survey conducted by USA Today and CareerBuilder.com.

More than half of the hiring managers they surveyed said they raised their employees’ pay in the second quarter, and nearly half said they expect to increase pay from July to September. According to the Department of Labor, over the last 12 months, wages have grown by 3.9 percent.

So the trend is: wages are on the rise!

Increasing wages are directly tied to unemployment being at a six-year low. The labor market is beyond tight right now. Employers are having difficulty filling open positions, so they’re focusing more efforts on employee retention. One retention method is increasing wages.

A 5% raise based on $30,000 a year is an extra $1,500. That’ll certainly help when you’re filling up your vehicle.

You’re probably thinking, “So, where’s my raise?” If the survey is true and the experts are accurate, it should be coming down the pike. Have you noticed your employer clamoring to stay fully-staffed? If so, has the recruiting affected your compensation?

I’d like to hear your experiences. How did you prove your worth? What were the results?

What Would Keep You at Your Current Job? The Career Advancement Dilemma

Job hopping is a common phenomenon these days, and the average worker stays at any given job about two years, according to career blogger Penelope Trunk. A lot of this is because they’re impatient and frustrated with a lack of opportunity.

A recent Wall Street Journal story highlighted the frustrations of young workers who crave more responsibility. They’re dissatisfied with the work they’re given, the responsibility – or lack thereof – they have, and the feeling that the wait to start climbing the career ladder is too long. Especially for entrepreneurial types.

Blogs like Escape From Cubicle Nation and Employee Evolution highlight the frustration of many workers today. Employee Evolution was founded a few months ago by Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh as a way for millennials to voice their frustrations about trying to move up the career ladder. They’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal about their efforts. With all they’ve been able to accomplish blogging about their career frustrations, imagine what these people could do if their employers only gave them more opportunities.

Too many job descriptions these days seem to say “experience required” rather than “experience offered.” Now’s the time for employers to step up to the plate and invest in their young, eager recruits, or they’ll lose them to companies that do, or perhaps, to entrepreneurial ventures.

How Can I Prove My Worth to My Boss?

Are you growing in your career? Hopefully, the answer is yes. As your expertise increases, it’s important to keep track of your achievements. A good way to do this is to keep a detailed list of specific projects, deadlines, timelines and accomplishments as you advance in your job. Also, track how you’ve impacted the budget, company goals and other areas that have directly affected the organization as a whole.

Demonstrating that you’ve helped save your organization time or money, or increased profits is a powerful resource for persuading your boss that you’re an asset to the team.

Money and Happiness

In his book, Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert argues that having money (beyond about $40,000 a year) doesn’t increase our happiness. But, most people strive for raises, promotions, bonuses and all that goes with financial success. If his research is correct and more money won’t increase happiness, then why is money so important to most people?

In your job, how much money do you think it would take for you to feel satisfied? Or if it’s not money, what do you think would bring you the most contentment at work? How does your job tie in with achieving happiness in your life?