Increase Your Income without Getting a New Job

Jul 5, 2012
4 Min Read

When you’re underpaid or not earning enough money for some other reason, a common solution is to find a new job.  Yet, this still isn’t totally practical given the job market’s slow recovery.  Until things improve significantly, you may well be stuck where you are.

However, this does not mean you're helpless.  I asked Laura Vanderkam, author of the new book All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, how one should go about increasing income without making a drastic career change.

Bump Up Your Hours

If you're paid by the hour, this will obviously increase your income.  Also, if you work part-time, transitioning to full-time will also help your finances a lot. But even if you're salaried, putting in just a few extra hours per week of focused work will often, over time, pay off in quicker advancement.  These don't necessarily need to be face-time hours.  If you normally watch TV at night after dinner or after your kids go to bed, try spending two nights a week thinking through your organization's problems instead.

Ask for a Promotion

Many times, people assume that good work will be recognized and rewarded. This is not always true. Sometimes you have to point it out! At your next review, ask what you need to do to move up to a position with more responsibility (and pay) by the review after that.

Ask for a Raise

Do your research on what others with similar tenure and responsibility are getting paid and then make the case for why you're worth that amount. Go into this meeting with evidence of what you've done to bring in more revenue or save your organization money - things that clearly show your value.  Also check out Alison’s recent post on how to get your boss to say “yes.”

Get a Counteroffer

It takes a lot of time and money to hire and train a new person. It is much easier to pay an existing employee more in order to keep her around. If you ask your boss to match a competitor's offer, she is quite likely to do so.

Take a Broader View of Your Field

Sometimes slightly different forms of a field pay highly different amounts. Look through the BLS's wage data, and see if something you have the skills for pays more.  For instance, adult education teachers earn more than preschool teachers.

Get a Side Gig

If your organization doesn't prohibit it, you can always moonlight doing the parts of your job you actually like, or something related. For instance, an editor might work a Saturday shift in a book store, or write articles for non-competing outlets.


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