Ready to have a money conversation with your boss? Here are 4 things you can do to get the financial appreciation you crave

In a recent blog (What can employees do for themselves to improve their job satisfaction and engagement?) I summarized 4 factors that employees feel matter for job satisfaction.  They are…


  1. Compensation/pay
  2. Job Security
  3. Opportunities to use skills/abilities
  4. Relationship with immediate supervisor


Are you surprised that compensation/pay was ranked #1? ;-)  Well, I wasn’t!


I also was not shocked to read in the report that survey participants reported a significant gap in actual satisfaction related to money and opportunities to use skills/abilities.


Let me explain why I am not shocked in the least – in fact, why I think the results are actually predictable given the actual lack of satisfaction our workforce seems to have.

If you believe that money will drive your job satisfaction then you are truly setting yourself up for lack of satisfaction – for sure!


Before I offer any insight about money (or using your skills/abilities), let me remind you what The Bible has to say about this topic – I promise not to Bible thump but there is a significant point in The Bible that we all can learn from regardless of our beliefs…


Luke 16:13

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”


So what does this really mean and how is it relevant to the results of this survey (and how you might be actually feeling yourself)?  Here is how I see it…


The truth is there is a hierarchy of importance for pretty much all of the things we do and value and that is true of our jobs as well.  If you value money over serving others – the pursuit of money will lead you to a dark and unhappy place.  Money isn’t bad.  Valuing it over anything else is.  Money is merely a material by-product of a divine mission to serve others.  Jobs are a gift – an opportunity to serve others regularly – the more dedicated we are to that and to first discovering what we have to offer to others and then to live a life that enables us to give that to others – the more we will earn.  Sadly, too many see a job as a necessary evil to earn money – is that you?


Which is more important to you – (wait, let’s stop a moment right here and let me ask you something – would you rather be known as using your skills/abilities or as giving of your talents?  Yes, I thought so – ok, let’s move on…):


A.  to fully give your talents – even risk your employment and/or reputation to give them?




B.  to get your “rightful” pay – even risk your employment and/or reputation to get it?


It’s sort of like a chicken and the egg scenario – which do you tend to do when considering a job offer…


A.  be sure you have a job that enables you to fully give your talents and then evaluate the opportunity for pay?




B.  be sure you have a job that pays you what you want and then evaluate the opportunity to give your talents?


The truth is that if you value money over giving your talents you will never be as satisfied with money as you could be then if you put a higher regard on continually discovering, developing and giving your talents.  Plus you will probably never earn your best potential!


That being said, I get it – money matters.  So let me offer you some band-aids or strategies for having a money conversation with your boss:


  • Seek to find appreciation for the pay you are earning – ask about your total compensation (the value of your GROSS base salary, overtime, bonuses, commissions, benefits, deferred savings tax benefits and employer matches, etc.) – focus on this number and see all the places your money goes as contributing to the life you have – do your financial contributions to others align with your values and life ambitions? Hmmm – could this perspective help you may find money by stopping contributions to things that you don’t value?


  • Ask your employer about the performance factors that matter most for pay – what behaviors and accomplishments to employers value most and therefore more highly reward?


  • Request “Budgeting 101” help if you are having a tough time making ends meet – never use your expenses as a reason for more pay.


  • And when you finally do just want to ask for more hard cold cash… ask for an amount that is less than the value you intend to create for others (you always want to be in a position where you are giving more value than the investment you ask others for – that’s just good karma and it alleviates any guilt or shame about asking for $).  For example, if you want $5k more a year – determine something you can do that will bring more than $5k annually to your employer’s bottom line and in value to those you serve.


The truth is, once your basic needs are met (if they are not, you may need to consider another or an additional line of work – just be sure it is one that is an even better match with your talents, interests and preferences), money never matters more than for your happiness than being valued for what you naturally give. 

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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