Companies are in business to make a profit. It’s really that simple. Part of the profit scheme entails, using other people’s talents, skills, and abilities to make money. So, in order for a company to make a profit off its employees, the company has to pay the employee just enough money to keep the employee coming back for more, so to speak. This arrangement is an agreement that the company provides employees with and (usually)a steady stream of income, in exchange for the employee giving the company his or her time and labor.
Now, on the surface, there is nothing wrong with this business model. It is part of the way that capitalisim works. The business owner will pay the employee what he or she thinks the employee’s time is worth. The business owner will also consider how much money the business generates, minus the business expenses (overhead, taxes, insurance, etc). It stands to reason that the owner or executives will pay employees the least amount of money possible for a given job, in order to have a higher profit margin.
For instance, a moving company hires two employees, paying each one $9 per hour. The owner/manager of the moving company charges a couple $1,500 to move the contents of their 2 bedroom apartment. The process takes an entire 5 hours, using only the two employees. The owner of the company paid the two employees only $90 total for their labor, but the moving company received $1,500 from the couple. Even after operating costs and expenses are deducted, the company still manages to make a decent profit.
Years ago, a prior employer gave me a 20% raise, since I was doing “such a great job”. This sounds higher than typical, but a 20% raise only turned out to about $1.8 cents more per hour. I am very certain this is all that my former supervisor was able to offer me. The department had a certain amount of money alloted to bonuses and annual merit increase. So, I feel that she was being truthful.
At the same time, I feel that the company executives are full of baloney. They leveraged all of my hard work, and paid me pennies for what they made off of me. I don’t harbor much resentment, because that is the way that business works. I understood this when I accepted the position. That main point that I am driving at here, is that when you work for someone else, they put a ceiling on what you earn as their employee.
My philosophy about jobs is this: Unless the job is a high paying career or profession, it is really just a means to an end. A job is a parking space, until you can move to a parking space that gets you closer to your destination. You should take a job, knowing that your tenure there is not gauranteed and knowing that you will not get rich from it. Do your best when working for someone else. Do the work that your boss pays you to do (and perhaps then some to keep your job). But, always be looking for a side hustle and plan an exit strategy in advance.