That feeling you're being underpaid by your employer

We've all been there before, bills piling high; rent due in a few days, student loan payment past due, you've eating microwavable soup for dinner three nights in a row. This was, of course, never part of the plan when you envisioned life as a "responsible adult." Meanwhile, you're stuck in a dead-end job, barely working enough hours to even classify as part-time. You’re starting to consider the idea of moving back to your parent’s basement, and any hope of avoiding it seems like little more than a fantasy.

More than fifty percent of Americans today feel that they are underpaid.

But it seems very few have any idea on how to increase their worth and earn what they feel to be an appropriate wage. As the overall cost of living continues to increase, the Federal Minimum Wage in the United States has not been increased in almost a decade; meanwhile, the general cost of living continues to rise exponentially.

Sadly, nowadays, hard work alone doesn’t seem to be the answer. Many people currently work far over the average full-time 40 hour work week to provide for their families, while seemingly getting no closer to that American Dream that everybody is so desperately searching. It seems, under today's geopolitical climate, everybody has got somebody else to blame for their struggles; be it a specific group of people or even an entire political party; there is always somebody else responsible for one's shortcomings.

So how do we fight our way up the corporate ladder and earn our slice of the proverbial pie? Sadly, there are likely very few who can give a legitimate answer to that question. It takes a combination of hard work, patience, luck, and sometimes, even ass-kissing. To use an example from my personal life; I work in an office, and have a colleague; we'll call him Anthony, who started at the same time as I did, but in a slightly lower department. A few months after we joined the company, Anthony completed the necessary training to be transferred into my department

Fast forward a few months, and both of us scheduled ourselves to take a licensing test that would, in turn, allow us to continue moving up within the company. As the test came and went, Anthony passed, while I ended up taking three attempts to finally pass. During that time as I was trying so desperately pass this test, an opening came up for the position directly above the one in which both Anthony and myself were in. We both applied, but since Anthony already had that license, our boss saw the choice as a no-brainer. I was, of course, disappointed in being passed over, but I was also happy for my friend, who is a great employee and certainly deserved the position just as much as I did. I continued to work as hard as I could in my position, taking every opportunity that I could to learn whatever I might need in order to move up with the company when the time came hopefully. Whenever a position opened up, I jumped at it, but sadly, there seemed always to be somebody ever so slightly more suitable for the job.

As time went on, I never harbored negative feelings towards management or even the colleagues who received the positions I had sought after. Recently, a position opened up that is essentially two steps up from where I currently stand within the company. I knew it was a big leap, but I've always been one to try for any position I wanted, even if I wasn’t completely qualified, after all, you lose 100% of the chances that you don’t take. I was not surprised when I was turned down for the position; however, as it turned out, things still worked out for me. Anthony would end up receiving this new position, and my manager informed me that with Anthony's promotion, it not only left an opening for his position, but I would finally be getting that position in which I had sought so long ago.

 So I guess the moral of my story, is that it's easy to give up when you are turned down for a position that you really want, but it takes a much stronger attitude to keep looking ahead at the future and working to try to advance your career. Opportunities will come, some will be missed and some will be achieved; often, these results are way out of our hands and sometimes, the results could be anywhere from sheer circumstances, to an unfair justification. It's up to us to do whatever we can to grab at that brass ring and find our future.