Money Monday: Are You Paid Enough?

It’s that time of the year when I receive my compensation plan and my bonus gets paid out. I’m happy to report that I’m pleased with the numbers. Not only do I enjoy what I do, but I feel I’m paid a fair wage.

Exactly one year ago, I was no where close to pleased. Frankly, I was pissed. After I received my comp plan, I returned to my cubicle and acted like I’d just been pink-slipped. I grabbed the calendar and threw it in the trash. I tore down personal pictures and put them in my purse. I emptied my filing cabinet and put the folders in the recycling bin. I left the office dejected, as if I truly had been laid off.

Because I’m an intense and productive hard-worker, I expect to be compensated for the effort I put in. I thrive on compliments, appreciation, and cold hard cash. After a sleepless night, I knew that tears would do me no good nor could I very well implode in a fit of anger. I had to get even. I had to prove not only to my employer, but to myself that I was worth more. I had to prove that my reaction of shock and utter disappointment was justified.

Enter Job Hunting Catherine-Style

Search jobs internally using key word ‘MBA.’

Search jobs externally (LinkedIn, Simply Hired) using key word ‘MBA.’

Search jobs in alumni databases filtering by role (strategy, product management, investor relations) and location.

Send brief emails (no more than a handful of sentences) describing qualifications and attach resume.

Do not send cover letters. That is a serious waste of time. If you are qualified, your resume will prove your qualifications, not what you write in a personalized cover letter.

Given that I only applied to jobs I was qualified for, I got a good response rate from hiring managers. Two weeks after I had started my job search, I secured my first offer and was on my way to getting a second. Along the way, several recruiters and hiring managers asked that I contact them if ever I found myself looking to make a switch in the future.

Keep in mind, I didn’t want to leave my job, I only felt I wasn’t paid fairly. Once I secured that first offer, I asked that my employer match it.


It’s around this same time that I hear complaints from people about work and pay. Believe me, I’ve been there. If you don’t feel you’re paid enough, then test your marketability by gathering offer letters, and come to some conclusions about whether or not you’re worth what you think you’re worth. It’s important to be realistic, but more importantly you have to be confident and have faith in yourself.

Back to School

“Hi Dad,” I hollered into my Blackberry. “I’m at 12th Street BART. Can you pick me up?”

So started my adventure after leaving work in the Financial District to return to my hometown for an alumni event at my high school. I could have easily taken the 51 bus straight to school, as two passed by in the 10 minutes I was waiting, but it’s always good to see the folks. My dad did a drive-by to pick me up on Broadway before we picked my mom up from work at the Kaiser office building on Harrison.

My parents dropping me off at my high school campus was strange in and of itself. But walking toward the newly-renovated gymnasium, I felt like a teenager again. Same height, same weight, no gray hair. Strangely, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve returned to looking like my teenage self. There was my obese stage in college; I snapped back. Then there was that fat stage in grad school which hung around like a bad conscience, tormenting me.

The alumni event catered to graduates from the 90s with a wine and cheese reception prior to a Varsity basketball game. Before signing in, I became elated at seeing my former Algebra and Geometry teachers. “Former” teachers had also been invited. Former is in quotes because they seem to all return to the school to sub. I swear the school is like a magnet. Teachers can’t stay away. Alumni send their own kids to the school. I was most surprised at how easily I was able to recall names on the spot as I made my way around the room–names of alums who weren’t even in my class and were several years ahead of or below me. Why is that the case when I am the worst when it comes to remembering names of people I’m introduced to. In one ear and out the other.

After the reception, four of us from the Class of ’93, snaked our way into a section of the packed bleachers to watch our St. Joseph Notre Dame Pilots play the St. Patrick Bruins. It was a thrilling game not only enhanced by the school band and cheer squad, but also by a vocal crowd of older men screaming.

“Cmon ref are you blind? Our kids are practically bleeding!”

I turned around. White men cheering for our predominantly black team. Obviously can’t be parents. I looked again. These guys were old alumni, former teachers, and parents of kids I went to school with. They get so involved that the support never dies, even after they stop paying tuition. They go to every home game. There’s a whole cadre of them.

Luckily we won the game. The basketball team is the reigning state champion, so fans expect dominance. That wasn’t always the case. However, during my time there, we had our Hoosiers moment and have sought to reclaim that glory year after year. Basketball–always will be my favorite team sport to watch.

I called my parents to let them know not to bother picking me up. It was going to be a long night.

Random Musings from the Interweb

Alumni musings: Picture here is the winner of the UC Berkeley 2011 graduation photo contest. Golda Hernandez ’10 (Photo credit Randy Olaes)

Food musings: After I wrote that post about YFC, looks like Ad Hoc will be serving fried chicken daily through their takeout lunch program called Addendum. Damn those fuckers.

Job musings: I don’t even know this girl, but someone has got to hire her. If I could, I would. I wouldn’t be surprised if this new college grad has already been scooped up. Christine Hall.

Literary musings: Norman Mailer proving to the world what a total asshole he was.

Comedy musings: Damn my mom is on Facebook. Best of SNL.