Characteristics of a Successful Employee: Non-Comparison

I worked for a company who had a pay philosophy called meritocracy. Basically it meant if you performed better, you would receive more money than someone who performed average or below average. While everyone loves the concept, in reality, most people do not fall into the high performer category. Usually the person always thinks more highly of their skills than reality. When this happens, the individual is dissatisfied with their pay.

The reality is companies are able to pay whatever they choose to for a job. Factors have to go into it like the skills required, the availability of labor, the value to the company, etc. Unless a company is trying to attract the best of the best, most shoot for the market rate. Then they can move or down based on the experience and skills of the individual.

In my career, I have seen every kind of difference in pay and have seen too many people get hung up on what other people are making. It always amazes me to hear someone complain that someone else is making. They agreed to the salary when the accepted the position. From there it is just addition. If you join a company and agree to a low salary, then it will take a long time to catch up to others who negotiated a better starting salary. We have a clear heavenly principle revolving around being satisfied in your commitment and not comparing yourself to others. The parable of the workers in the vineyard is found in Matthew 20:1-16.

“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.

“Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

“He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’

“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

Here we see the employees who signed on first be upset when they worked all day and received the same wage as the person who only worked one hour. Even though they agreed to the wage as a fair wage for the day, they felt slighted because the owner decided to be generous with someone else. I am sure they were thrilled to have the job all day and it was only when they compared themselves to someone else when they became dissatisfied.

My experience tells me that money is never a motivator., but can always be a demotivator. It is the concept of until.  A person who is happy with the salary they negotiate and are usually happy to have a job until they hear what the next person is getting. Then the complaining begins and employee engagement starts going down. We need to be happy with what we negotiate and if we are not, find a new job and negotiate a better deal for ourselves. But while we are work, we need to stay focused and not worry about anyone else. Especially around salary. If you live in non-communist countries then you can expect salaries to be different. Having lived in Russia, I know what it is like where everyone doing a particular role gets paid the same amount. It doesn’t matter how well they perform. There is no pay for performance mindset in a communist country. The job is worth a certain amount and that is what you will be paid.

So worry about yourself and do the best job possible. This will help your engagement and output for the job you were hired to do. Success will come, as will salary, when you demonstrate you are the right person for the job and can over deliver to the expectations.

Let me know what you think.


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