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How much are you really worth? Probably more than you're earning now

October 15, 2015

Ask the Boss for a Million Bucks

When asked what kind of salary you’re looking for, say “a million rand would be nice.” In a University of Idaho study, people who jokingly asked for a whole seven figures ended up with 9% more cash than those who made realistic requests.

Why? The figure you throw out, even if it seems absurd, serves as a psychological starting point for counteroffers, says study author Professor Todd Thorsteinson.

Don’t Accept the First Offer

“You have every right to negotiate the best offer,” says Charisse Drobis, head of Career Management Services at Wits Business School. But you don’t want to come off as greedy, so present your asking salary while affirming interest in the position.

“Keep in mind your qualifications and experience, the scarcity of your skills and Employment Equity.”

Check sites like to find what your experience is worth; it could add a grand or two to your monthly package.

Stop Blowing Off Your Workouts

Think of that gym membership as an investment, not just an expense. People who grind through three or more workouts a week (whether they’re overweight or not) earn 10% more than those who don’t exercise, a Cleveland State University study found.

Of course, those gym sessions could also improve your attitude, energy and even intelligence, the researchers say.

Talk to the Competition

People who jump companies are paid 18 to 20% more than those who climb to similar posts internally, according to a study at the Wharton School of Business in the US.

Not ready to move on? You can try to leverage an outside offer for a pay bump at your current job, says study author Matthew Bidwell. But first do some recon: if the gambit failed for former colleagues, you may risk losing favour and trust.

Be the Glove, Not the Punching Bag

Guys who are too agreeable can get screwed. A study from Cornell University in the US reveals that people who are competitive and even arrogant earn 18% more annually than their nice-guy colleagues.

Don’t be a dick; just know your strengths and stand up for your ideas, says Drobis. “Bullying might work in the short term but long term, it’s ultimately career limiting, especially in organisationsthat need teams to manage multidisciplinary projects.”

Buy a Better Razor – and Use It

A well-groomed face makes you appear more professional, according to University of Miami research – and tidy-looking guys bring home up to 5% more bacon than their unshaven colleagues.

“Stubble is acceptable in corporate environments, but keep it to a few millimetres and make sure there’s no hair on your neck,” says Shahnaz Cola Wrensch, a Cape Town stylist. She recommends the electric Braun 1-150.