3 Ways to Keep a Job You Love When You Aren’t Being Paid Enough

We’ve all heard the saying, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Securing your dream job can feel like winning the lottery—unless you aren’t getting paid enough. If you are struggling to live your best life on your salary, you have a few options for trying to make it work. 

1) Ask for what you need

The ideal solution is to make more money doing what you’re already doing (i.e. getting a raise). If you haven’t discussed salary in the past few months, your first step should be to approach your boss. 

Your love for your job is an asset in this conversation! Employers want employees who like their jobs and are passionate about what they do, so don’t hold back on expressing your enthusiasm for your work.

In addition to your passion, you should also highlight your accomplishments and your value to the organization; this needs to be the foundation of your raise conversation. Even if your personal financial situation is your motivation for seeking a raise, bringing that up during a salary discussion with your boss is a “no-no.” 

Make sure you go into the conversation with your “wish,” “want,” and “walk” numbers. Your “wish” number is the highest number you can say with a straight face and is still reasonable for the role. Your “want” number is a salary that would make you feel good and give you the ability to thrive, AKA your target salary. Your “walk” number is the lowest salary you could accept without feeling bad about it.

2) Create more value in your current role

If you run into budget constraints during your raise discussion, all is not lost. If you can help expand your organization’s revenue, you may be able to secure a bigger slice of the pie. Work with your direct supervisor and higher-ups to come up with additional revenue streams you could create. 

Boosting revenue will hopefully lead to salary increases for you and your coworkers. This strategy has the added benefit of demonstrating your initiative and your investment in your organization’s success.

3) Seek additional sources of income 

If you can’t find a path to making more money in your current position, it’s time to look for ways to supplement your income. Can you make the additional cash you need through a part-time job or side hustle? Start by exploring options that will build the skills you need to advance in your full-time job. Bonus points if it’s passive income! For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, can you create digital products to sell on the side? Or if you’re a grant writer, can you put together an online course on grant writing basics?

Final Thoughts

Before giving up on your dream job, explore all the avenues you have available to make it work. 

3 Ways to Keep a Job You Love When You Aren’t Being Paid Enough is written by Kylie Lipinski, A Certified Financial Trainer for

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