Work reviews are a part of work life. Reviews are a great opportunity to highlight your wins and listen to constructive feedback so you can ultimately do better and earn more money. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t like what we hear. Despite working so hard on a particular project, your boss might not even care. Despite highlighting a strength of yours, your boss highlights an even bigger strength of his to belittle you.
Not getting paid or promoted is a very discouraging fact of work life. Not all of us can be special. Not all of us can keep climbing the mountain of glory. It’s disappointing to be average, as I strongly believe most of us have an inherent desire to be the best at what we do. A normal bell curve will say that 60-70% of us are in the middle of the pack. Therefore, most of us are probably average, or will encounter mediocrity at some point in our work careers.
The following article looks at the brightside of being average and how to carry on.
THE UPSIDE OF BEING AVERAGE
* There’s less pressure to perform. If you are deemed average by your manager, then you no longer have the stress to always be in the top percentile of performers. The 80/20 rule states that 20% of anything pays for 80% of everything. To achieve 100% perfection would require much more intense effort for less return. As a result, people get frustrated and burn out. As an average employee, you no longer have to be the best, and are therefore maximizing your work efficiency and minimizing the level of stress.
* You have the ability to surprise on the upside. As an average employee, nobody really expects you to make waves and come up with great ideas and profitable solutions. Therefore, if you just occasionally step up and offer something great, everybody will take notice. In fact, whatever great thing you do present, it will seem even more spectular from you, then from a consistently high performer. From the body that no longer reacts to the same exercise routine, to the wife who no longer finds her husband attractive, we get used to things very quickly and need to mix things up.
* Your relationship with your family and friends improve. Since you are average, you can be like everybody else and leave at 5pm, or whenever everybody else leaves. You don’t have to bust your butt working 12 hours a day until 8pm to try and please anybody. The term, “going the extra mile” becomes foreign to you. You get to go home to your wife and have dinner with her at a reasonable time. You get to go home and play with your kids before they go to bed. Your friends start seeing you again.
* You no longer get upset when others get paid and promoted before you. Because you’ve taken down your performance a notch and are now less stressed and happier, you no longer have as many setups for disappointment. When you compete against high-performers, not all high performers will be rewarded which creates a tremendous amount of distaste if you are one of the failures. As an average performer, you no longer expect to get paid or promoted anymore, therefore expectations are aligned and you don’t really care.
* You are able to focus on what you really like to do. You can’t love your job all the time. With added time, you’re able to focus on your hobbies that truly make you happy. Some people love playing sports. Others may love to read and write. Meanwhile, many more enjoy traveling. Without the constant stress to perform, you suddenly feel free. Just focusing on getting paid is very soul-sucking. By getting underpaid, you no longer have to take your work seriously, and start appreciating everything else that’s good.
* You no longer feel guilty working 40 hours a week. Given you are paid just like everyone else, you no longer feel guilty not working as hard as you can. You stop feeling guilty about taking all your vacation days either. One hour lunches are the norm, and if you have to schedule your doctor or dental appointments during the day, so be it. Even sick days on a Friday or Monday become legitimate so you can take a nice long weekend.
* Nobody will gun for you. As an average performer, you will never be the target of hostility, hatred, or jealousy. You don’t have to fear anybody stealing your thunder and taking your ideas because nobody cares. You’ll hardly ever be under a magnifying glass.
* You no longer get upset at big government taxing you to death! This could be one of the best benefits of being average. You don’t make a lot of money, therefore the government can’t get their inefficient, grubby paws on your soft-earned money. You no longer will be frustrated with the government’s desire to redistribute wealth to half the population who pays no income taxes. You might start becoming a beneficiary of big brother instead! Yeah, baby!
A KEY THING TO REMEMBER
Don’t take being average too far. Make sure that you truly are average, so you aren’t laid off if you don’t want to be laid off. Companies RIF their bottom 10% performers frequently, but not their middle 50% performers. So long as you take being average seriously, you’ll be fine. It’s all about aligning your expectations with your work habits with your pay. Once you have everything aligned, you’ll be as happy as Captain Meatball looking for a donut!
I hope you’re reading this post at work and leaving early today! Happy Friday!
RESOURCES FOR A BETTER LIFE
Negotiate A Severance Package: Never quit your job, get laid off instead if you want to move on. Negotiating a severance package provided me with six years worth of living expenses to help me focus on my online media business. Check out my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Good-bye. The book provides solid strategies for how you too, can escape a job you hate with money in your pocket.
Start your own business: If you feel you’re not getting paid what you’re worth, start your own business online on the side! It used to cost a fortune and a lot of employees to start your business. Now you can start it for next to nothing with a hosting company like Bluehost for under $4/month and they’ll give you a free domain for a year to boot.
Brand yourself online, connect with like-minded people, find new consulting gigs, and potentially make a good amount of income online one day by selling your product or recommending other great products. Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009.
Updated for 2017 and beyond.