For most workers, the word “promotion” immediately generates excitement. Receiving one typically means an employer recognizes your achievements and deems you worthy of a greater role in the company. And, of course, the salary boost and other benefits that often come with a promotion provide further reason to celebrate.
The actual “worth” of a promotion, however, differs for each individual (and we’re not just talking money). To figure out what a promotion means to your career and personal life, consider these factors:
While some promotions only involve a change in title, most also include a pay increase. Any number above what you’re currently making may sound good initially, but you might want to do some research. Career coach Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide, suggests finding out if your salary is equivalent to what your peers at this new level are earning both within the company and outside. “Parity with the market is a great motivator to seek change,” Cohen notes. “Many of my clients who have worked for the same company for big chunks of their careers are often paid below both the market and colleagues who recently joined the company.” Network connections, professional organizations, and websites such as Glassdoor and Salary.com can assist you in learning how your income stacks up.
Perks of a promotion can come in forms other than direct paycheck increases. Perhaps you’ll now be eligible for matching retirement fund contributions, health insurance, stock options, gym membership, or transportation reimbursement—all of which can affect your bottom line. Workers in higher positions may also enjoy greater flexibility. The ability to telecommute more often or adjust hours as needed may not be easy to translate into dollars and cents, but these options can greatly increase job satisfaction and work-life balance.
Promotions generally involve a change in the nature of your job. Reflect on how this influences your day-to-day life. Are you happy about taking on more difficult projects, or does the thought stress you out? Will you enjoy supervising others, or do you prefer sticking to independent work? A promotion that allows you to do more of what you like is of greater value than one that puts you in an uncomfortable position. Likewise, examine the time commitment. With increased responsibility often comes additional work hours. You may find yourself earning more but having far less time to appreciate that boost in income.
Finally, think about how this promotion fits into your overall career objectives. Promotions that move you closer to what you want definitely have more worth than ones that are stagnant or counterproductive. “Does the promotion enhance your attractiveness to other, and even better, opportunities? If you will expand your skillset and pad your resume with new and important expertise, then there is additional incremental value to being promoted,” Cohen says. “But if a promotion is more of the same with no new learning, particularly of desirable skills, then you may actually diminish your value in the market. You become something of a career ‘dinosaur.’”
Remember, what looks good to someone else may not be right for you. Let the fact that you’ve been recognized as someone deserving of a promotion give you confidence to thoughtfully evaluate the advancement and act in your own best interest.
This article by Beth Braccio Hering originally appeared on FlexJobs.