As sure as the sun rises and sets each day, it’s inevitable that I will get a daily email from an executive/personal assistant somewhere in the world wanting to know if they should quit their job because they “aren’t getting paid enough”.
I can say with confidence that nearly everyone on Earth feels like they’re not getting paid enough, regardless of their position. I know assistants that are making $200,000, and they’re utterly convinced that they are underpaid.
What does your contract say?
Don’t get emotional and just quit your job in protest. Look at your contract. What does it say? If you’re supposed to work 40 hours a week but you’re working double that, then you do have a legitimate gripe. But most executive personal assistant positions to celebrities, high net worth families and billionaires are going to be salary positions, and you’re going to have to work overtime without getting extra. That’s life. Your contract must specify when you’re supposed to get extra money (like for leaving town or working extended hours, for example).
What’s the market rate for your position?
Some personal assistants just randomly pull a six-figure number out of their hat without any consideration of what the market rate is for their position. In order to command a fantastic (above-average) salary, then you need to be able to back up your claim. Executive assistants in the $150,000 range, for example, will usually have at least 10 years of experience to high-profile individuals, have a relevant BA or MA (related to their employer’s field), and possess specialized skills that are hard to find (phenomenal dictation ability or special certification like six sigma).
Prove your worth and ask for a raise
Your boss isn’t going to let you hold them hostage. Just because you threaten to quit (politely or not) doesn’t mean they’re going to bow down to your command and give in. You need to weigh all the facts, and take into consideration that we are in the down-market because employers get a lot more bang-for-their-buck these days. The market is over-saturated with quality candidates, so this is the “new normal”. If you can prove your worth to your employer and present a case that you should be getting more, then you have a much better chance of getting a pay raise. And, finally, NEVER quit your current job unless you have a solid job offer (in writing) on the table from another company.