there are significant problems with my current employment: the project and myself have been moved to a new organization, there is no clear project ownership, governance and funding are also under a "question mark". To address these problems is way above my paygrade. Now, the obvious solution would be to start applying for other jobs. However, in my case this means relocation to a metro area like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal (this is where all R&D jobs are). The biggest question for me is the cost of living (crisis): my only income is my salary, I have neither relatives, nor friends here in Canada. To have a comparable standard of living, I would need to make low 6-figures, based on rent, transportation etc. I am not greedy, but I don't want to live in a basement anymore!!!
My current pay is not great (in 5 fig), but it is a small Canadian city, so I have managed to stay above water (at least, so far). I know people here, I like environment, I can get around the place etc. Last but not least, I do have a sense of loyalty to the PI and the project! Because of this, I am very reluctant to look for a new job and I absolutely do not want to disclose that I might be looking for jobs.
Please note, that I am not in "tech" and I am not even sure whether my skills can command 6-fig salary! I try to be very realistic about myself.
Some job openings clearly state the salary range, so I immediately know they are below my target. Other jobs do not have the range. Suppose, I applied for a job, was called to the first round interview, then the company asked for my references and, after checking with references, they issued an offer with a salary, which I cannot accept.
Obviously, during the first interview there is a very limited time for questions and asking about compensation/benefits doesn't give the right impression either. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation when a potential employer asks you for references? How to word it correctly / explain that I am looking at certain numbers because of cost of living crisis?