Tech Manager—I Can Make More Money Elsewhere

(Part of the Top Ten Secrets Tech Managers Keep)

Since it's the Annual AUGI Salary Survey AUGIWORLD issue, I wanted to focus on salary related issues, but really wanted to start a series on the Top Ten Secrets Tech Managers Keep. These secrets are things that most Tech Managers know, but seldom share with others. They are secrets that if shared, can improve your firm or take it back a few steps. They are not all negative and some are very positive. I am not ranking them or starting with number one or ten, they will be rolled out randomly. So, in order to blend together the Secrets and the Salary Survey, I decided to start my series with this month’s topic.

I Can Make More Money Elsewhere

Coming out of the COVID-19 era it may seem like there are so many things changing in the work world.  The impact of the rapid abandonment of office space and the ramped up “work from home” efforts by many, this is not shocking. But other things have happened also. Since the shake up of the typical work environment we have seen changes not just in location of work, but also in types of work, levels of effort, and competing focuses

Your office may not have scattered when the lockdowns started. Or you may have returned quickly as soon as it was safe to do so. Remote work in a cooperative environment like design cannot avoid the impact of not rubbing elbows every day or sharing those hallway conversations, or group think design charrettes. Design teams need to interact. But this article is not about team dynamics. It is about you and your possibly modified approach to work.

For some, the focus may have changed. They may have taken on a side hustle and work longer hours to fit in both the regular gig and the extra one they have taken on. Some may have been part of the great resignation, or quiet quitting or have jumped jobs since the job market is so good. The great job market is a boon to workers, but if you are trying to hire… it is tough to find great people. All those things being said, the impact on the work world has changed things.

When it comes to your specific job, many of you think you can make more money if you were to go somewhere else.  That may very well be true. You know what you make. You may know what others make in the field. Salary surveys may help you define it, but the real value is in what others would pay you to come work with them. Your firm may not realize your value, or they don’t provide some higher end benefits, or they work you too much for what they pay you. No matter what the reason, you might bring home a bigger paycheck if you left.

Your firm and your coworkers do not really have a good handle on what you are worth to the firm. They don’t look at Salary Surveys or scour the internet for salary rates. They may have a general idea, but it is not refined. This is the secret that others do not know. What are you worth to them? What would it cost to replace you? What unique talents and job knowledge do you bring? What institutional wisdom is in your head?

On the flip side, for possible employers, think about what they might need. Share with them the “secrets” of your success. What project experience do you bring to them? What new tech have you rolled out with success? What structure do you bring to their chaos? Where might you take them in the future? Define your value and take it to the next firm with conviction that you can and will bring value from day one.

If your firm does know your value and they compensate you well, then don’t keep it a secret. I am not saying you should pass out copies of your pay stub for others to see that stellar number. I am saying, be thankful. Many of those that are keeping this secret and working for less for firms that are moving from bad to worse, rather than good to great. So let the boss and upper management know that you enjoy your job, the compensation, the work environment, and the teams you work with. Gratitude goes a long way.

But if you are keeping the secret of how you feel underpaid and what is out there to increase your net worth, then start planning on doing something about it. Now is the time to jump. Go back and read my article on quitting from November 2018 and think it through. But it might be time to let this secret have some impact and start looking around.

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