Photo: Andres Rodriguez/Dreamstime Images
Here are three things I’ve learned about getting paid that can apply to anyone, whether you have a big bossy boss or you’re technically your own boss.
1) Check your cheque. People make mistakes, and no one is infallible. It’s actually your responsibility to make sure you are paid the right amount for the work you do, not your employer’s. If you spot an error (even if it’s in your favour), you should immediately and politely bring it to someone’s attention. Preferably, someone who can fix it. Don’t be nervous. You’re simply asking for what belongs to you.
In short: make sure your cheque is correct or you have no one to blame but yourself when you’re short-changed.
2) Don’t work for free. Ever. OK, not ever. There is a very short period of time at the very start of your career when you can work for free. It’s called an internship. It should be no more than three months (although if it’s that long, you should be offered a stipend). After that, you should never EVER work for free again. First of all, you devalue your own work. When you will give it away for free, you are telling people that you believe your work is worthless. Secondly, working for free also devalues other people’s work. When you work for free, you tell people that your skills and your industry are worthless. Additionally, you are poaching a paying job from someone else when you work for free. Well now, there’s a great way to make connections in your industry…by taking work away from other professionals and then deeming it worthless by not receiving compensation for it. Wow! You really know how to win friends and influence people! Good show, chap!
In short: don’t ever work for free. EVER. Anyone who wants you to work for free has a crummy business model, and you don’t want to work for them anyway.
3) No one, and I mean no one, gives a shit about your money but you. It’s true. No one. Not even your mom cares about your money as much as you do. And if that’s not true, it should be. You may have a great employer who chucks a bonus your way at every turn. Or you may work for an awesome client who pays her/his invoices about five seconds after you submit them (this happened to me recently and I just about cried). But I can guarantee you that no one really, truly gives a shit about your money but you. So you have the right to ask why a payment is late, or when it will arrive. No one else has to pay your bills. No one else has to stock your fridge and buy shoes for your kids. Don’t expect people to care about whether you were paid or not. That’s your job, not theirs. Ask, and (hopefully) you shall receive.
In short: no one gives a shit about your money but you. Not even me.