When I started at my day job in 2015, I was so excited. It was my first real job. It didn’t matter that I had no interest in what the company was doing or that marketing did not align with my values (manipulating human psychology to sell crap never sat right with me.) I was getting PAID. And I had those good benefits. I could say I had a “real job.” I got to travel to tradeshows! (Because we all know those are super fun 😉 ) The office culture was chill. I had flex time!
Then my student loans kicked in. To pay it down asap, two-thirds of my paycheck started going towards that. So much for getting PAID. Then one of my co-workers told me how much another co-worker was making. It was 15K more than me. Even though he had more experience, I was like “WTF? I can do what he does.” So I started thinking about how I could add more value to the company so I could ask for a raise.
I started taking online courses and learned a very marketable skill that we were paying a firm $3K a month to do. I then took over that responsibility. I thought, “I am definitely going to get a raise for this!”
Then I had my review and my manager was like, “you are a smart, great worker that gets things done, but you aren’t going the extra mile and don’t seem passionate about the company.” And I’m thinking, “What do you mean I am not going the extra mile? I just learned all these new skills!” It took me two more reviews hearing the same thing to finally get it. I will never be promoted or get a raise in today’s economy if I do not have any passion for what I am doing.
Over the next year, I continued to step up and take on more tasks and responsibilities, thinking it would get me ahead. My boss was laid off and I took over all her duties. Still no raise, still no promotion. Yes, part of this is on them. But I need to own my part.
Getting stuff done doesn’t add value to a company. Getting stuff done is what I am already paid to do. There is always someone (computer/robot/AI) who can learn to do the tasks that I do. Companies value innovation, and innovation requires a passion, curiosity, and interest that frankly, I don’t have for this company.
I can’t take an online course on “How to be passionate about “X” industry.” And there is a reason for that.