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Acknowledge - Don't Obsess

I've shared this story many times, but it was a teaching moment for me that I come back to time and time again. In grad school, we were working on a team project where we were competing against other teams in the class. As we struggled to find an answer, our professor shared some words of wisdom - "If you can't beat them at football, play baseball".

At first, it confused the hell out of us. We weren't playing any sport, we were trying to run a fictional business.

As I contemplated what he said, I started to grasp the lesson. It had nothing to do with sports, it had to do with not accepting fake limitations. If we weren't winning playing their style, maybe we had to change the rules so it benefited our company.

This is a long way to get to my main point - the great resignation, inflation, and other factors are raising salaries. I believe every company should pay their employees as much as humanly possible. But there will always be a company out there that is willing to pay more. It is a bad game to play because you always lose.

Stop obsessing about not being able to pay the most and start emphasizing your benefits. Be direct and say "if you goal is to make the most money, go work for X - they can pay you more." But follow it up with "but if your goal is to work for a great manager, in a great company, and be successful - there is no place better than here".

The payoff? Pay is still critical, but less so than ever. One of the lessons of the pandemic was that pay was nice, but being close to home and spending time with family in a safe way is even better.

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