What people earn just might be the most taboo subject out there. I recently attended a Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter meeting on “How to Get Paid What You’re Worth,” where financial coach Belinda Fuchs had the room in stitches about how people talk about all kinds of stuff around the water cooler, “even affairs—you name it. But how many talk about what they make?!”
At that same meeting, I presented the results of our recent Senior Meeting Manager Survey, which concluded that the average salary among the highest-level meeting managers was $101,344. Most agreed that senior managers work a tremendous number of hours and travel all the time, and that was a fair salary.
As we dug deeper, however, it was clear that many in the room were making a living with less, and that there were underlying factors in their decisions to stay put in their jobs that weighed far more heavily than salary. The most common was a need for work-life balance—for example, being able to work from home at least part of the time. Another attendee said she had considered a promotion but didn’t want to leave her job because she loved traveling to meetings all over the country, and always booked extra days as vacation. One attendee who worked at a ski resort called his job “a lifestyle job,” and was fine with his salary in return for the amenities and the chance to ski every day.
What it comes down to is that getting paid what you’re worth can also mean getting paid less than you might be paid elsewhere to live the life you choose. In fact, it’s really about whether the job, with all its conditions and demands, is worth it for you.
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