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All People At The Same Level Make About The Same Amount - Not

Dec 17, 2007
Almost no position or level of job reflects an income that is pre-determined. A salary range usually exists, and the difference between the high and low end of that range may be very significant. Don't assume that the person with the most "seniority" earns the most at any given level. It is not uncommon to hire someone new at a higher income than someone who has been there a long time. This is because the new person negotiated for more and presented him/herself as more valuable.

Too many women cling to the notion that the workplace should be "fair," whether it appears that way or not. To hear that workers at the same level receive inequitable incomes, goes against that fantasy, which we refuse to discard. We continue to hope that things will be done correctly someday. I suggest we accept the situation as it is, and make it work to our advantage. Negotiate for raises and bonuses. If you have had a significant accomplishment, trade in those bargaining chips for more responsibility and more pay. Take a look around you, and go for a higher-paying job.

One of the great distinctions between jobs in business is that of line and staff positions. Two vice presidents, one in charge of development and one in charge of administration, will almost always earn significantly different incomes. Usually, every person working under the line VP earns more than every person under the staff VP. Too many of us are unaware that this distinction exists and the huge gap in pay between them. Become aware of this distinction between line and staff, and go for a position on the line, at your current company or another one.

Line positions are those jobs seen as making a direct contribution to the company's profits. Jobs directly involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of your product or service are line positions. Briefly put, production and sales are line positions.

Staff positions are those that support the line. Human resources, billing, and public relations are examples of staff positions.

Line people are seen as contributing to the profit of the organization, while staff people are viewed as expenses. Line people, by the nature of their jobs, almost always have more power than staff people. Almost without exception, line people are paid more. Over the course of a lifetime, the difference in pay is staggering.

One of the most blatant differences between the careers of women and men is that women typically spend their lives working in staff positions, while men move between line and staff. Most line positions are held by men. This is partly due to the fact that women do not recognize the difference and gravitate toward staff positions, erroneously believing them to be safer. Far too many of us choose staff positions to avoid the risk or visibility of a line position, doubting that we are capable of succeeding at a line job. The price we pay in lack of recognition, job security, advancement, and compensation does not warrant this choice.

Women have many more choices than we used to. As we make choices concerning careers, we should know and understand the difference between line and staff. We need to land a position on the line. You are much more prepared for this than you realize.
About the Author
Patricia Smith is a businesswoman, speaker, and the Author of Each of Us: How Every Woman Can Earn More Money in Corporate America. http://www.eachofus.com
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