Feeling financially frustrated? You’re not alone. A few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about all the things we wanted to do. Our conversation boiled down to, “Someday, when I have the money, I want to…” again and again. But someday never seems to come around. We never seem to have the money for the things we want.

It’s easy to look at the experts in our fields and start to resent them a bit.

I’m just as smart as my boss. Why is she living comfortably while I’m living paycheck to paycheck.

My content is as good as or better than such-and-such’s blog. Why does he have a million followers and money to travel the world and I don’t?

This book I’m reading is stupid. Why don’t the “experts” listen to me? I have much better ideas, and deserve to get paid for them.

Trust me; it’s easy to fall into a trap of hating everyone who is more successful than you are, even if you’re not quite at that point yet. When you’re frustrated about money, it seems like the world is out to get you. No one listens to you. Everyone takes advantage of you. I WANT MORE MONEY but my hands are tied, so I’m going to be in this pit of unhappiness forever.

Have your pity party. Go ahead. I’ll wait. And I’m not saying that sarcastically, either. I’m of the firm belief that we all deserve a self-induced pity party occasionally. But don’t get trapped in that moment until it becomes a state of mind. End the party and realize that if you want more money, you have to do something about it.

Earlier today, two people I highly respect both wrote about a similar topic - the concept of “good enough.” Deb Ng posted “Why Good Enough isn’t Good Enough” at Kommein at almost the same time that Amber Naslund posted “The Culture of Good Enough” on Brass Tack Thinking. Their messages were similar - if you’re just getting by, if you’re not taking pride in what you do, if you aren’t doing things to the best of your ability - you’re never going to get ahead in your life. And surprise, surprise, if you get ahead in life, there’s a good chance that you’ll make a lot more money.

Let’s say that you have one of the lowest jobs on the food chain, so to speak - you run the fryer at the local Burger King.

Sure, that’s probably not what you want to be doing ten years from now. It’s probably frustrating to you that you can’t find a better job. You probably dislike going to work every day. But do you do a good job anyway? If you walk into work every day with a positive attitude, you aren’t saying, “I’m happy with my life situation.” You’re saying, “I take pride in the work I do.” You have a better chance at being promoted to shift manager, and from there, you may become the location’s manager. Say a local businessman walks in and sees you hauling ass to get your job done fast and with accuracy. He might be interested in hiring you to work at his office. Say the store’s owner receives compliments about your service. She might recommend you for a leadership program scholarship.

If you want more money, be more useful. What can you do right now in your current job that would help out your bosses or clients? Could you volunteer to stay late occasionally to help your manager finish a major project? Could you get a client’s project done ahead of schedule? Could you rethink your blog so it is more helpful to readers? Maybe, just maybe, it is as simple as doing tasks before you’re asked to do them. If you work at that Burger King and notice that the floors are dirty, grab a mop and do some cleaning. Go above and beyond, and people will take notice.

I want more money. We all do. Just keep in mind that earning more money has to be justified. If you aren’t doing anything more, you aren’t going to be paid anything more.

  1. Aamer Iqbal (Reply) on Thursday 11, 2010

    It follows that when employees ask for a raise then should they do so after working better, providing value or similar? As an employer I find it hard to entertain such requests when they refuse to bring in some change for the better, which can allow me to pay them more. E.g. the way you attend clients or take telephone calls drive prospects away. Basic common courtesy is not something for training manuals! One candidate I interviewed had no skill, did not know anything about computers and wasn’t willing to learn, did not suggest a job they could or would like to do. The only thing they wanted to know was how much would I pay them! And this is why I like this article.

    • Allison (Reply) on Thursday 11, 2010

      There’s something to be said about experience - when you’ve been doing a job for some time, you should be able to do it better. That said, if you aren’t bringing anything more to the table, why should your boss pay you more? It’s exactly what you’re saying, Aamer - if you aren’t helping your boss/company/client earn more money, why in the world should they pay you more? Because you’re a year older? That isn’t good enough.

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    Escaping the 9 to 5 Maren Kate's site is all about leaving the rat race to own your own business. She talks a lot about gaining freedom from the traditional work atmosphere and using virtual workers to achieve your entrepreneurship goals.

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    JobMonkey If you're at a loss when it comes to knowing what you want to do in life, JobMonkey is a great site to learn about career options. Their guides cover everything from truck driving to banking. They also have info about the training you'll need to work in these fields.

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