Throughout our careers, the one constant has revolved around compensation. How much we earn has everything to do with our lifestyles: if we can afford to buy or rent, the ‘toys’ that we acquire, the vacations that we can (or can’t take), etc. While the cash is a critical part of one’s standard of living, it is only a piece of the puzzle that makes us who we are.
When we were young, whether college was in our lives or not, we had to start somewhere; and for most of us, the great economic rewards didn’t come until later on in life. Perhaps it was a minimum wage job or performing grunt work for low pay. But we realized (eventually) that no one starts at the top. We did our jobs and proved that we were worth more money. We became better trained and increased our value to our employer.
At some point, we were promoted and received raises. If we worked for the right company, we received yearly bonuses that for some could nearly equal the base salary. After a few job changes, which included salary increases and heightened responsibilities, we finally got used to a certain level of comfort. Some have the beachfront properties while some live far inland. Some take their yearly Hawaiian vacations while others settle for a local family reunion. Maybe some even have expensive hobbies that few of us could only dream about.
The point is who is really happy? Could we believe that all of people described above could be content with their lives? Sure, because we made it work for us and our families. That’s not to say that if we won the lottery that our lifestyles wouldn’t change; of course it would.
Companies lately seem to be a little stingy with their compensation plans. While most companies want to incentivize their sales and management teams with bonuses, commissions, etc., there are still companies in our industry who do not believe in that philosophy. A base salary is all that one can expect. Sure, there are the health benefits and vacation, but it’s a tough sell when even low base salaries don’t compensate enough for the entire package.
Most companies want to economically motivate their teams. Meeting goals and directives monthly or annually is the preferred and most exciting way of enticing new additions to a company.
However, some people are looking at alternate ways of enjoying their lifestyles that aren’t always dollar-related. Companies are now willing to offer more vacation time in exchange for a lower base salary. It’s an obvious win-win for both sides. The same work has to be done, whether in 49 weeks or 50 weeks in a year.
Working from home is becoming more popular for those that have office and/or traveling jobs. It doesn’t work for every company but many are looking into it. As technology becomes more advanced with video conferencing, Skype calls, etc. it’s becoming more economically feasible to have employees work remotely.
As we get older, it becomes more of a balance between life and work. If there is a way that we can spend more time with our families or do the things we love, then any employer who can offer that would be at the top of anyone’s list. How many of us would be up for working an extra hour per day if we could get every other Friday off? Yeah, I know; most of us already work an extra hour (or more). Would it change things that much if companies in our industry could figure out a way to allow us to do our jobs while giving us some extra flexibility to enjoy life a little more? Some companies in our industry are already experimenting with the life/work balance with success.
Hopefully the near future will bring us options to allow us to do our job but also give us a little more freedom to make a difference in our lives or someone else’s life.