Whether you’re on the market for a new job, preparing for your annual review or just wondering why the number on your W-2 seems so damn low, you’ve likely wondered if you’re being paid what your worth. Given the economy, many employees are facing smaller raises and job seekers are facing less generous offers. It’s important to remember that your compensation and your salary are two totally different things so you can make sure you’re getting the best of both.
- Paid Time Off
It’s not just about what an employer pays you for the hours you’re there, but what about the hours you’re not? Be sure to take into account vacation time and sick time when looking at your overall compensation package.
- 401K and Employer Matching
At the risk of sounding like a retirement commercial, someday will be here sooner than you think. While a 401K match won’t boost your bottom line now, it will continue to grow and gain interest over the years.
- Educational and Developmental Opportunities
Are you interested in pursuing higher education? Your organization might be interested in paying for it. Don’t overlook personal and career development opportunities that may be offered or reimbursed by your employer, and if you have children, be sure to check in to scholarship opportunities.
- Medical Benefits
With everything in the headlines, I think many people know to consider the medical benefits offered very carefully. This is potentially the most important part of the compensation package.
- Extra “Perks”
There are so many things that don’t fall into a specific bucket but can increase the overall value of your compensation package. Flexible scheduling and job sharing can be incredibly beneficial in certain situations. Telecommuting has made a huge difference for me, saving me time and money and making me a more productive employee. Discounts on gym memberships, wellness programs, movie tickets, cell phones and everything in between are often available if you just ask.
If you’re uncertain about what your employer offers, ask around. Don’t wait until you change positions or are negotiating to raise to get yours!