Your Low Salary Isn’t Really Your Fault

by Ron Haynes

You show up. You work hard. Yet, you still have a low salary and you can’t make ends meet. It has nothing to do with your own abilities (or lack of them), it has nothing to do with your people skills (or lack of them), it has nothing to do with your education (or lack of it), and it has nothing to do with your spending habits (or lack of them), and it has nothing to do with your personal drive to make extra money. No, the whole world is against you and there are just some barriers to opportunity and higher salary that you cannot overcome. And you just don’t understand why your job doesn’t pay well.

Maybe its that you’re not a left handed man. According to a couple of university studies, left handed men receive a salary premium that isn’t paid to right handed men. Researchers apparently found no wage difference between left-handed and right-handed women, but left-handed men with some college education average about 13 percent more than right-handed men. Lefty males who are college graduates average as much as 20 percent more than their right-handed co-workers.

If you’re already left handed, maybe you’re just not tall enough. Studies show that taller people make more money.

But let’s just say you’re 6 ft 4 inches, AND left handed, yet you’re still making a pittance of a salary. Are you married? Hmm. A recent article by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank says that married men make more money than those free-wheelin’ guys who have never been married. First, why is the Federal Reserve studying this? < cue the crickets > Oh well, they theorize that employers may have a favorable bias for stability and marriage signifies that men are stable and responsible. Umm, yeah. Could it be that marriage frees men up to focus on work, rather than on household tasks? Nah. If you ask me, the most likely reason would be that the qualities that appeal to an employer are similar to those that appeal to a potential spouse. You know, like a good work ethic, education, and (gasp!) appearance.

Okay, so you’re tall, left handed, married, and you still have a problem getting a high paying job? Well, maybe you should take up drinking. Drinkers, according to a a libertarian think tank, make more than nondrinkers.

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So, if you’re a tall, left handed, married, social drinker, but you still rank way low on the wage scale, what else could be tilted against you? Wait, you aren’t in Christian ministry are you? (Maybe you’re a “secret” social drinker?) Men in Christian ministry will find they make less than females. A survey by Christian Today International found that women in full-time solo pastor positions report 10.4 percent higher compensation than men.

Or, could it be that you just don’t work enough? Two MSN-Zogby polls indicate a direct correlation between higher household incomes and the tendency to put in longer work weeks. Ooo, that one hurts doesn’t it?

With all the emphasis on “working smarter, not harder,” there is still some value to putting in the time necessary to become the best in your field, your company, or your department. Time at the job doesn’t always equate to higher salary, but it’s hard to argue that being the last to arrive, the first to leave, and never volunteering for any new projects is a sure path to success.

The REAL reason you have a low salary is that you aren’t making enough of a difference.

True wealth comes from the difference that one person, one department, one company makes. If you make a positive, valuable difference in everything you do, with every person who comes in contact with you, in every project you undertake, the salary will come. Creating a positive difference creates a void in your financial life that WILL be filled.

So go out there and make a difference.

[tags]compensation, educate, education, employer, graduate, income, job, jobs, marriage, men, money, pay, payroll, paycheck, low paycheck, position, premium, salary, women, work, how to overcome a low salary, low salary, why do I have a low salary, unfair paycheck, unfair payroll practices[/tags]

NOTE: This article was included in The Carnival of Personal Finance #170 at The Personal Financier. Thanks!

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.