Why Is My Pay Less?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unfair pay: I feel so depressed at work because cleaners, securities and cooks earn triple times what I earn.

I work with a reputable mining firm as an administrative assistant. I feel so depressed at work because cleaners, securities and cooks earn triple times what I earn. I always feel sad at work and the hurtful thing is no one appreciates my efforts at work. What do I do? I need encouragement.

Signed, Sad On The Job

Dear Sad On The Job:

Your sadness has a long history, at least as far back Biblical times. Employers tend to pay what they have to, and frequently employees learn that others are paid more. The pay is different for many reasons: length of time employed, difficulty of finding people with the desired skills, type of mental and/or physical labor, and amount accepted when hired.

Would you like to do the jobs that get paid more? Those paid more might be doing jobs that are harder and dirtier, ones that also get few thank yous. Those paid more rarely, if ever, complain that they are paid more. Now you can privately pine about this. You can gossip about it with coworkers and friends and possibly get their sympathy.Or you can make a case for yourself.

What can you say you do that adds value to your workplace? Can you list the tasks you perform? Do you have examples of good work? Have you worked in this job long enough to request an evaluation of your work? Are you sure no one appreciates what you do? Have you ever asked those who depend on your work if it is satisfactory and if there are other things you might do to make their work easier and more effective? Do you come to work dressed for the job? Do you have a can-do cheerful demeanor? Ideally those doing comparable work get comparable pay. But that rarely is the story.

Usually carefully designed systems of pay only happen after unions negotiate pay for various job descriptions. If you are not a union member, you must either get over thinking you are mistreated or you must meet with your boss or whoever determines what you are paid. During that meeting you should be prepared to talk about what you do and the value it contributes. Also you could ask what you are doing and need to do that leads to a career path with the company.

Don’t whine or beg. Speak up about what you think you should be earning and talk about when you will be paid fairly for what you do. Learn if you should get additional skills or apply for other kinds of work that will earn what you need and want. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that sometimes means speaking up for your self.

William Gorden