Kris Gibson
Kris Gibson

Bigfoot, Raises, Unicorns, and The Loch Ness Monster

Job Search Tips, Insurance

July 16, 2018

You no doubt clicked on this expecting one of two things. With a title like that this has to be a piece about government conspiracy or about compensation myths; right? It is at this point all conspiracy theorists will want to click “back” on their browser because today we’re going to delve into a compensation myth.Unicorn, Bigfoot, Loch Ness

Myth: I can get a huge, up to 50%, raise in making a job change.

Some of you probably just laughed audibly but I promise this is something some people do believe. This belief is exceedingly more prevalent among younger professionals (see what I did there? I said “younger professionals” and not “millennials”) than any other group. Look, I’m not taking to millennial bashing, heck, I am one depending on which definition you subscribe to, but that is simply the demographic where this seems to garner the widest acceptance. 

What happens is someone we know gets a crazy raise and we then assume we can do that too.  People get wild raises……sometimes.  They are wild, memorable, and stand out because they are not common.  If you ask a random sample of 100 people who recently made a job move what raise they got I will guarantee the overwhelming majority got the lesser of 10% or $10,000; some got no raise at all, and a few took a pay cut; yes, that happens more than you might think.

Does this mean your friend Sarah lied to you when she said she went from $55,000 to $85,000? Not necessarily.  It does happen and we all know a lot of people so statistically it is not uncommon to brush against anomalies here and there.  I know people who have gone bow-hunting in Africa for rhinos; does that make it common? Do you know anyone who has met a celebrity in an airport? Does that mean if I fly I should expect to meet one myself? Know anyone who has sky-dived? What percentage of people you know have? Get the point?

The fact is, raises are common in job changes but you know way more people who have gotten a modest increase than you do those who have garnered huge raises. So, which is more likely to happen to you? The notion that you can get a wild jump easily is just fallacy. Could you be the next “one” someone knows who does? Sure. You absolutely could. Would you like to place a wager on it?


Look, I’m not saying to turn down a big raise if it comes. I’m not even saying not to hope or look for one.  What I am saying is that a job search takes time, energy, effort, and an emotional toll on a person.  If you’re in a situation where you’re saying “I’d only leave if I can go from making $60,000 to making $95,000” then I wouldn’t put yourself through the search process given the slim likelihood of accomplishing that objective.   

One of the foundations a good and effective job search is built upon is expectations. If you launch yourself into the endeavor of a search with unrealistic expectations you’re setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment.

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