My underpaid self has been thinking about his own life and actions. It turns out I am doing the wrong thing by sitting in the same place.
I have spoken to a friend about my salary and what I do at work, and she scolded me for helping undercut other people's well deserved salaries. She is quite right. She told me of how she and her group had lost a web and graphic design project to some company who promised to do the same for much less. They obviously ended up doing a terrible job, and screwed up someone else's opportunity in the process.
My current employer does do the same thing, but this post is not about companies undercutting each other. It is about workers undercutting other workers in the same sector. By allowing myself to be underpaid for my work, I am not just being a fool. I am undercutting other IT professionals who live around my area and have skill sets similar to mine.
When I started working at my current job, I was told that my pay would increase as soon as I had proven myself a valuable addition to my company.
I should have known it wasn't true as soon as I had learned that a colleague and old friend, who is a skilled programmer and most defenitely a valuable addition to the company, has worked for nearly three years in the company and earns little more (less than 1%) than I. It should have been blatantly obvious when I knew that another colleague, an IT tech and nerdy nice guy on whose shoulders the company runs a lot of its profit and stability (he runs the actual maintenance operations for the company's maintenance clients), is in a worse situation, since he actually deserves more than both of us, but earns the same amount we do.
And as time passed and I created websites, applications and whatnot, it was obvious that that "valuable addition to the company" line was just crap.
I feel like a sucker. Now my country is in a crisis. Prices going up, a higher tax on my salary. My boss is saying that if we ever get a raise we will only waste the extra money in luxuries. I guess that's how he sleeps at night. This shit revolts me deeply.
But I never stopped to think that I was actually harming someone else.
Sometimes people are not too picky about their jobs. People at the start of their carreer or people who have just lost a job are often happy to take whatever they get. Some companies (like my own) are opportunists and will use this instead of hiring qualified personel for a proper value. Some companies use excuses like "gathering experience", "prove oneself as valuable to the company", or "finantial issues" to postpone expectations of better pay for another day. Empty promises that I am sure have made many boost their dedication and productivity for nothing. Actually they ended up undercutting a lot of people and yet deserved better pay themselves. It happened to me. I have seen it happen to a dear colleague who was hired after me.
This snowball of bullshit has to stop, and not just for me and my company. If you are in a similar situation, you should at least consider trying to end it if you can afford losing your job for a few months. If everyone accepts crappy jobs and bullshit, someday we all will only have crappy jobs and bullshit, and nobody will be able to do anything about it.