Salaries: You’re Only Worth What Someone Will Pay

Some sobering perspective on salaries from recruiting/HR blog Fistful of Talent. Basically, at some point, as helpful as and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are for researching what a given position should pay, eventually you’ll need to realize that those are all generalizations.

Blogger RJ Morris uses the example of a house he was trying to sell:

The experts kept telling me, “Your house is worth x dollars,” so we listed at that price.

On Day One, we received a slightly lower offer. “Look how brilliant we are,” we all thought. But we also thought the house was “worth” more, so we countered, thinking we could get them closer to the home’s value. Or at least our perception of the value.

We never heard from that buyer again. Ever.

And for a few long months, we had two houses, two front doors, two mailboxes and two mortgages. A few double payments later, when a guy finally offered me a contract for the same price we rejected on Day One, I could have kissed him. Hard.

So whatever you think you might be worth, salary-wise, you’re technically worth $0 unless somebody is writing you a check.

An article from US News & World Report lists 7 ways to do salary research that don’t involve hitting up online databases. Good stuff.