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How to move beyond earning minimum wage

Q: I work at a company for $8 an hour. I'm in my mid-twenties and I have a family to take care of but this is not enough to pay for everything so it's impossible.

I told my boss my situation and they must certainly know that $8 an hour is too low.

Is it worth working at a small company to invest for your future at this rate? I need to earn enough to take care of my family, but I don't want to quit a good opportunity! I'm so angry and confused at my situation. I like the job but not the pay!

A: Your situation sounds stressful. Minimum wage is hard to live on in the Boston area. I have a few thoughts to share with you:
- Think about your current work situation in a different way. Yes, I agree, $8 per hour is low. But it may be reasonable for the role you are performing at your company. However, think about what you can do to raise your value to your company. Can you take on additional responsibilities? Can you find ways of saving them money? Can you help them in other areas or departments? Can you take on higher level work that would justify the company paying you a higher hourly rate?
- Are there ways to move into a higher level role at the company? Are there promotional opportunities within your company?
- Can you work some overtime hours which may increase your paycheck?
- Can you improve your skills and/or knowledge to enter a more lucrative field? Can you research educational opportunities in fields that may be well-paying and high growth fields?

We all think we should make more money, whether we make $8 per hour or $80 per hour. However, there are ways to increase your value. Think about the options I have offered above.

Finally, there have been recent discussions about raising the minimum wage in Massachusetts. Read Megan Woolhouse’s recent article by clicking here http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/06/13/easy-answers-increasing-minimum-wage/77l6iV0IWkhLzu6f3hZY7O/story.html.

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