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Admin Pro Forum

Have you ever gotten a raise that changed your life?

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Question: "When I look back on all the pay increases I've gotten in my career, I realize that I'm excited about them for about two days, but the novelty of having a little more money fades quickly. Have any admins gotten a pay raise that really made them much happier in the long-term, or does the extra bump always quickly disappear into the daily onrush of bills and so-called necessities? Why do I feel no more content as I make more and more?" - Thula, Data Processing Lead

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Val February 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm

I think the reality for me is that I’m not motivated by money. Frankly, if I was, I wouldn’t be doing this job. The things that have had a bigger impact are changes like moving to a different department where my contribution is valued. Non-monetary perks – like being sent home a couple hours early on a Friday afternoon – are more impactful to my overall wellbeing. Yes, I would like more money, but since that’s not how I measure success it is a fleeting sense of excitement.

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AAinDMV February 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

I think the novelty certainly wears off b/c even though you’re getting a raise or a slight bump in compensation – no matter if it’s a stipend or raise to your regular pay – the amount of work doesn’t disappear. Sometimes more money just isn’t the answer, which is why I think many of us may be dissatisfied in our job. It can be a trade off of what makes you feel good at work and why you work. That being said, I’m often never afraid to ask for additional compensation, esp if I have a legitimate reason; all they can say is no. My current employer is willing to increase pay as it relates to increased responsibilities, which does help.

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Pauline February 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

We usually get 2%, so it’s not such a big increase, but I did get a promotion and a bonus last year, so that was a nice surprise. But usually the novelty wears off.

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Jeannie February 9, 2018 at 9:55 am

Like the other admins, no I haven’t. I did however get both a merit increase and a promotion with an increase last year. My boss didn’t change my title, still the Executive Assistant, but it was nice that I was eligible for both. That being said it still doesn’t catch me up to cover the cost of living increases, plus I am in the lower pay scale of the office pool. But I love my job and the people I work for so that is the trade off. I have always worked with the thought “would I like to have a larger check and hate my job; or live leaner and love what I do”. I choose to live leaner and love what I do.

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Sharissa Schwenke February 9, 2018 at 9:39 am

I quite frankly barely make enough to eat on and get the gasoline to get to and from work. The personnel committee decided to give me a 42 cent raise and I cried. To me that was a big deal over the course of the month. I still find myself not contributing as much to social things at work, buying Christmas office gifts or going out to do anything extra much less go on a vacation. Since I am a single mom with this sole source of income I cannot possibly expect to make enough to keep up with inflation or afford to go back to school, change careers, or save enough for the future. And although I am so thankful for last year’s raise that gave me an extra tank of gas, I was worried about growing taxes. I cannot afford to make a little more money. It needs to be quite a bit more so I am not penalized by a higher tax bracket. Tough situation.

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Anne February 8, 2018 at 7:59 pm

I do not think this feeling is only limited to admins. Pretty much everyone feels like this after a raise. The last company I worked for gave 1.99% raises. That was the cost of living.

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Shannon February 8, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Raises are typically around 3% where I work, so it doesn’t really keep up with the cost of living and isn’t very exciting.

That being said, I once received an increase in pay when I left one company to go to another and received a 50% increase over what I had been making! THAT was life changing for me and I was able to provide better for my family as well as show up excited to work.

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Cheryl February 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

I currently work for a quasi-governmental agency and raises are standard 3% each year, not enough to keep up with the cost of living increases in our market which are closer to 7% (a fast growing small city). I rarely get excited about raises because they don’t mean much to my bottom line. We do receive performance bonuses, and those mean something, though they are small for me as one of the lowest paid people in the company. They mean I have done a good job and contributed positively to the team as a whole. Sadly I am looking for a new job now because they have cut out all overtime, so I made $5,000 a year less this year than I did two years ago in the same position, even with the 3% raises each year. As a single mom, that simply isn’t sustainable. I think negotiating the right salary from the start is probably more important than the little raises in subsequent years. And with the new tax bill in place, it will be very difficult for anyone to go from being under $38,000 (12% tax) to over $38,000 (24% tax).

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Cheryl February 8, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Interviewed with a company and the Owner asked me what I would like my starting rate to be. I told him and he indicated that he could not possibly start me at that rate and that I would have to start where he started all his new hires….It was 20% more than I had asked for. Heck, yeah I would have done anything for the good of the company at that point!

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Stehanie February 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm

During one of our monthly meetings, my supervisor asked “What did you do that was fun this weekend?” As I sat waiting for my turn, I realized I hadn’t intentionally done anything fun in quite a while. So now, I make it a practice to do something fun each week. It isn’t always extravagant, but something I enjoy with people I enjoy. It is a blessing to have the extra bump! I am learning to do is make sure I enjoy the fruit of my labor. I recently took my grand-kids to a play and attended one myself with a friend. I realize I am able to do these fun things because of my income. I hope you’re able to find ways to enjoy the pay increases you receive. I believe this helps not lose heart in the day to day of our responsibilities.

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Lisa February 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I can definitely relate as our pay increases the last several years have been 3% or less and don’t really keep up with the cost of living increases. But then I try and remember to be thankful to get an increase as I know many city and state workers who have had cuts the last few years.

Only one time did I get a very significate increase and it was about a year after I was promoted from an Admin to an EA. Since I was promoted internally and had started off in a lower level position I was making far less than others in the company especially those who had been hired as EAs externally. That year I was given both a raise for performance and an equity adjustment. It ended up totally about $15k that year. That made a huge difference.

All in all, I think I am paid pretty well for what I do.

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Melissa February 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Honestly, I have had a lot more raises leave me disappointed than change my life. I have also found that the cost of life tends to expand to accommodate any increase. The cost of living also goes up much faster than my salary ever did.

My biggest raises were when I changed job titles, so I don’t know if you can really call them raises. I am still sometimes amazed at what I get paid when I stop to think about it.

What may be helpful is to have the increased amount you end up with in your take home pay automatically moved into a savings account, so at the end of 6 months or a year, you have a little pot of money to do something with. that may be life changing.

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