Your daily inspiration isn't coming from the New York Times today, as a popular article touts the unfortunate truth of the murky crawl at which US paychecks continue to slowly increase.
U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years...(this) also likely reflects a sharp drop-off in bonus and incentive pay for some workers.
If you've been counting on your annual review to result in a hearty increase, or banking on your Christmas bonus to finally put in that pool you've always talked about, the harsh reality may be that things won't turn out the way you want. So what's there to do?
#1 - Find a Niche, High Demand Adjacent Position, then Negotiate Like Crazy
Not every trade and position can be replaced by a self-checkout kiosk, but job reports are still pointing to the reality that most companies are able to find the workers they need for all levels and placement without having to provide promotional incentives or increases in job pay. This is least likely to be the case for super-niche positions.
As a help desk associate for a large company, you may be one of many with the job. In these situations, you have little bargaining power, and the strength of what you do is diluted by the fact that several other people can simply step in and pick up the slack if you didn't show up one day. In virtually every large company, however, there are special positions and unique assignments that require particular talents, specific education, and very unique combinations of job history in order to be successful. These positions have the bargaining power when it comes to paycheck increases and other perks, because they cannot simply have their work handed to someone else.
These niche positions do exist, and they often have very particular standards for candidates. As a generalist, you should look at similar jobs within your company that have only one person filling them. Find someone disenfranchised with the company or on the edge of retirement, and seek to build a case to replace them when it's time. As you build yourself into this new role, you'll find your degree of importance changes significantly. At this time, you'll have the advantage and be ready to take on your boss for better annual increases, stronger bonuses, and other advantages. Obviously, this can take quite a while, though.
#2 - Start Your Own Business and Stop Relying on Someone Else
Not everyone can find an ultra-niche job position, and most of us simply don't have the patience to wait (presumably) years to get set into a job where you can push back and get what you want. This lends to the polar opposite option from #1 - quitting your job.
There are certain qualities that make up a good business owner, and they're not all focused around having a business degree or ten years in upper management. In fact, the best traits of good business owners are more centered around personal drive, determination, and a desire to help others.
Going out on your own takes a lot of careful planning, to ensure that you have the financial strength to survive a start-up time period with little to no pay. It also takes a good business plan, so that you have clear goals in place and know when you'll arrive at them.
For many (myself included), starting a business is an exciting, captivating experience that requires hard work but pays off in dividends. Our own vending business startup plan helps you get started in less than 90 days, and is based off of the feedback of our thousands of vending business owners that we've helped since our company first opened in 1988.
#3 - Add an Extra Income Stream and Keep Your Day Job (for now)
As great of an idea as it may seem, starting a new business isn't always the best option for right now. Perhaps you don't have your finances in order, or your family just isn't prepared for the big changes (and the little bit of chaos) that are associated with business startup.
In this case, you should look at an extra income stream. From selling things on eBay (which people still do, apparently) to freelancing, there are tons of ways to pick up the occasional gig. If you're like me, these things may be interesting, but they're far from dependable. That's why I started my own vending route on the side.
One of the best perks of operating your own vending route in your own area is that it's not a 9 to 5 job. In fact, many vending operators can service their routes on their way to a job, or on their way home. It only takes a few minutes to stock a vending machine and collect the cash inside. When you manage that time really well, you'll be able to supplement your existing earnings with stable vending dollars.
Want to learn more about starting up an extra stream of income as a vending operator?