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I am aware that this is not a career advice board, but I am applying for other jobs currently, primarily because the salary is well-below the market rate and it is making me a bit disgruntled. I am based in London, and given my current salary which is just over 20k per annum, I am concerned that I am going to struggle get onto the property ladder. I am in my early 30s.

I am however a bit conflicted about this decision, for the past couple of years I have been a product manager working in a tech start up, in that time I have from ground up strategically delivered a newer more powerful version of the product which was used by small brands, but is now starting to be used by well known corporate brands or is attracting the attention from them. To give an example, we have attracted interest from Nike. The product has also been industry award nominated since joining.

Outside of pay, despite my annoyances at times with the people within the company, I really do like my team, and my boss. My boss can be stubborn at times, but generally open to new ideas and encourages ownership of project management related tasks. He took a risk on hiring me (no prior PM experience), listening to my ideas and it seems to have paid off for him. In that sense I do feel as though I am a valued member of the team.

What I am concerned about from moving:

  • Moving for more pay, but being another number in a faceless organisation and less valued from losing seniority. Right now I am effectively second in command.

Then on the flip side my concern is:

  • Staying here, not getting a pay rise quick enough which I suspect will be the case since the money will first be invested in expanding the team before pay rises are given.

  • Unforeseen circumstances meaning that the product flops. I am thinking that now is the best time to move from my market value being high from demonstrating that it is successful right now.

I guess the ultimate question here, does loyalty pay?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Chris E, Philipp, Michael Grubey, Draken Jun 19 '17 at 7:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – gnat, Chris E, Philipp, Michael Grubey, Draken
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    Companies will have zero hesitation to fire you if you are too expensive for them and money is tight. – Juha Untinen Jun 17 '17 at 9:19
  • You are making 20k in London per year? – FooTheBar Jun 17 '17 at 9:30
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    Just over £20K in London in your early 30s? Two choices: "Boss, we need to have a serious talk about my salary". Or "Goodbye, boss". – gnasher729 Jun 17 '17 at 10:33
  • As I said @JoeStrazzere "Outside of pay, despite my annoyances at times with the people within the company, I really do like my team, and my boss. " If anything goes to show how stressful the job is. – bobo2000 Jun 17 '17 at 11:02
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    No, loyalty doesn't pay. Look up 'sunk cost fallacy'. A number in a faceless organization? Just don't go through a third party contracting agency and you'll be fine. Large organizations are just wrappers for smaller organizations anyway. Don't let that deter you. And there is no reason you still can't work for another startup, as long as you get paid much better. Watch this video: Why you should define your fears instead of your goals ted.com/talks/… – Stephan Branczyk Jun 17 '17 at 12:43
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You have seniority, you have job satisfaction, you have intimate knowledge of the product.

You don't have a decent pay though.

You have a couple of options which only you would know your boss well enough to decide which. Discuss this problem with your boss and be prepared to leave or go on a job hunt quietly.

The first is dangerous because your boss may start looking for your replacement. The second is problematic in that you will end up with a new job if successful and lose the seniority and responsibility you have now.

Startups are a big gamble, if you have faith in the boss and the product you can ride the gravy train until retirement. But most startups fail, and involvement with failure is not the best look for a CV.

So think carefully, most people take the avenue of lesser risk and more money whenever possible, because at the end of the day it's your life and your career. But with ventures like this it really only takes on big contract to get over a hump and they can take off. Even then though it's the boss who benefits the most.

My advice would be to job hunt quietly and test your actual marketability and what people might be prepared to pay you. If/when you get a job offer, then have the discussion with your boss while you actually have some leverage. Anything to do with money is a negotiation, you need some leverage to get ahead.

  • You have summed up my predicament perfectly, for those wondering why have I not asked for a pay rise - that's why. I am waiting for him to approach me, apart from making remarks such as you deserve to be paid what you are worth... he hasn't in 2 years hmmm – bobo2000 Jun 17 '17 at 13:13
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    I will continue to apply, funny you mention the leverage argument, I was thinking the same thing. Looks like I am doing the right thing. – bobo2000 Jun 17 '17 at 13:15
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    @bobo2000 Waiting quietly for a boss to approach you about giving you more money seems not like a good strategy. Why should he do that if you appear to be satisfied with your current payment? You need to communicate more clearly that you think you deserve/need a serious pay raise. – Roland Jun 17 '17 at 13:42
  • The problem is Roland if I did that he will start to think that I will leave if I don't get the pay rise. A fellow colleague did this, and pushed my boss hard for a pay rise, my boss did it in the end but would replace him in a heartbeat. – bobo2000 Jun 17 '17 at 22:12
  • yes, it always becomes a factor in the business equation, and once it's become a factor in the bosses mind, it's an ongoing danger. – Kilisi Jun 17 '17 at 22:34
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my current salary which is just over 20k per annum

  • 20k/year in London - it's less than average wage in UK. It way too low, especially when it's tech start-up, not internship or unqualified job.
  • Startup don't earn enough money to pay salaries? - Promising companies are properly funded.

Staying here, not getting a pay rise quick enough which I suspect will be the case since the money will first be invested in expanding the team before pay rises are given.

I guess the ultimate question here, does loyalty pay?

Do you have stock options? Do you think that your salary will go up if company will grow? Or will your boss replace you with cheaper or more experienced option? - It depends on company politics. Be professional, do your job well, improve your skills but don't overly rely on loyalty or good will. It's business.

Moving for more pay, but being another number in a faceless organisation and less valued from losing seniority. Right now I am effectively second in command.

You should check: How to Pay Programmers Less. It's sarcasm but in some companies it is for real.

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    There has been talk about stock options, but nothing has materialised. There has also been talk about pay increases but it is dependent on how much money the company is generating. The company is being bootstrapped by another company which is why it is not well funded. I agree 20k is nothing here, I live at home , so getting away with it, but if I had to move out it will be peanuts. – bobo2000 Jun 17 '17 at 22:10

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