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Everybody could deal with a fatter pay cheque. Seriously how cool would it be to be able to go to the dentist, right? Or even to go see a movie now and then? Before we get carried away and start buying gluten-free bread lets just take a moment to consider whether your fantasies of grandeur and prime cut steaks are realistic. Have you merely deluded yourself? Are you actually worth it or have you actually priced yourself out the market? This isn’t a matter of how much your buddy earns – even if they have the same job description. If you are just too expensive you could be faced with an ugly wake up call. So how do you know if you are too expensive?

One Man’s Trash is Another Mans Come-up

Okay that may sound a little dramatic and we prefer not to be that honest with ourselves anyway. The point is that you may have an entire set of skills which you are unable to utilise in your current position, why would your employer pay you as much as if you were utilising your full range of skills, when you are currently only able to use some of them? You are more valuable to an employer or company in a position which allows you to use and grow your skills to the benefit of both yourself and your employer. If your current employer is not able to offer you a proper channel through which you can do this, you are not nearly as valuable as you think you are – your output will fall short of your capacity and you will be unable to ask for much more than your annual increase.

The Idyllic, Picture Perfect Scenario

We all imagine a scenario in which we are paid so much more than one might even imagine the industry average to be (which is built on fairy tales to begin with anyway). We have loads of paid leave and we are the hero of the office. Sounds great right? Well, there’s another side to this coin. Some companies make the mistake of unwittingly overpaying their developers. With all the best intentions they want to retain and appreciate their staff but what happens when its time to move on? You know how it goes, you need a new challenge and you’ve hit the ceiling but you have a lovely set of golden handcuffs. This is the predicament many developers find themselves in especially when they are faced with moving from contractual employment – which often pays better than permanent employment, to a permanent role.

What is it That You, in Particular, can Offer?

Before you get flustered and embark on monologues about societies’ lack of appreciation for the work you do; remember that you have not been exclusively bestowed with the ability to code. There is and always will be someone younger, smarter and hungrier than you. Late stage capitalism (not to be confused with the golden era of capitalism) has rather effectively rescinded our entitlement, replacing it with real-life effigies of graduate engineers begging at robots.

It all sounds pretty grim but when you take that into account, you enable your worldview to open up. The fact that you are able to make such choices already plants you firmly into the minority; you are lucky. Even if that lateral move doesn’t promise you much more than the greater potential for job satisfaction and a shorter commute, maybe its still worth packing up your desk. It’s a tough call but some things matter more than money.