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Quitting a Job Because of Low Salary

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Money isn't everything, as the old saying goes, but it sure pays the bills. Few work experiences are more demoralizing than low salaries, especially when you don't see a better alternative. Before jumping ship, though, make sure that you've exhausted every option, and are not giving in to raw emotion. While it's easy to leave a job that you dislike, it's almost impossible to undo a resignation, which will just leave you out in the cold.

Analyze Your Compensation

Before you act rashly, it's important to analyze your compensation first. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a calculator on its website to break down wages by occupation, region and work levels. City-by-city and state-by state-comparisons are also available for 85 areas in all 50 U.S. states. Work levels are especially handy, since the bureau uses nine factors to assess a job's overall responsibility. Accessing this information and comparing your current pay will help you determine if it's time for a change.

Ask for a Raise

If quitting seems like the solution, it's best to give the boss one last chance to resolve the issue. Managers rarely want top performers to go. This factor can work in your favor, especially if you show how your contributions add value to the company, according to "Psychology Today." If nothing else, you'll find out where you stand in getting the salary that you seek. If your manager can't give you clear direction, however, you may want to start looking for another job.

Examine Your Options

Many workers don't realize that raises are a fixed item, as "Evil HR Lady" Suzanne Lucas states in her October 2011 column for CBS News. The company's payroll allocation is divided by the total number of employees in a department. If other people have gotten raises, your boss may not have the flexibility to accommodate your request. Your reaction depends on a willingness to honestly examine all your options -- such as whether it's possible to find a better job and whether you mind starting over again somewhere else.

Review the Alternatives

When you've reached the point of quitting, review the alternatives one last time, "U.S. News & World Report" career columnist Alison Green advises in her June 2010 column. Sometimes, the non-salary benefits -- whether it's a short commute, or positive work relationships -- may outweigh the frustrations that you feel. If that's not the case, it's best to take a couple weeks to develop a long-term plan, Green says. That might even include lining up a new job before you give notice. Otherwise, you'll find it harder to land on your feet, especially in a tight labor market.


Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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