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The Sports Salary

By Steve Jones,

Most of us work at jobs for someone else, with a fairly set salary that may raise slightly year to year, but doesn't necessarily change a lot unless we change jobs or positions. And in doing so, most of us expect to make a similar salary, although we hope it's always going up.

How many of you know what your colleagues make? How many of you are upset with what your colleagues earn? Or how many of you suspect that someone you know is overpaid? I think many people have these types of feelings at different points in their careers.

But would you want it any different? For this Friday's poll, I wanted to ask this question:

Would you want a salary more like an athlete?

Would you like to sign a "contract",  and have the value based on the performance of your previous "contract." You could get a raise if you were perceived as bringing value, performing better, and worth more. Or you might get a smaller contract if you hadn't done well. But your salary, the terms, the length and rate, would be public, or at least available for others to use in negotiating their own salaries. Look what it's done for professional athletes; perhaps it would raise IT salaries.

I started wondering about this after I read Joel Spolsky's column in INC magazine about pay and negotiation for raises. Fog Creek software has a very interesting system that's open, seems fair, and should prevent too many mismatches where someone is paid much more than their value. I urge you to read about it and decide for yourself if this is a good system.

Personally I like the idea of having a less subjective system in place, especially at larger companies. I've seen a number of situations where managers subjectively award bonuses and raises (or withhold them) based on their personal relationships, and not someone's performance. The Fog Creek system seems like it might eliminate some of that.

Let us know what you think this Friday. Would you like a less subjective, and more open salary system? Perhaps like today's professional athletes or even like Fog Creek.

Steve Jones


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