If you feel underpaid at work, the reason is simple – you’re replaceable. You’re dispensable. There are some types of jobs where you know if you left today, there would be a replacement for you ready and waiting and happy to pick up the slack that you’ve left.
You feel like you’re wasting your time – getting paid too little for a job that you know that most relatively able people can do, or at least get taught to do without too much time and effort.
So what can you do about it? One option is to try and find a more specialized job that involves skills that are more valuable and less common. But what if you have no unique or valuable skills? Then it’s time to start learning, either in your own time or by securing a new job with pure enthusiasm, humility and a hunger to learn.
The other option is to stay in your industry, but to find ways of adding value to your company that you know no-one else can do. This can be by building relationships with people outside your organization, so that you become the channel through which correspondence is made. This can be through learning the ins and outs of the industry, and keeping up with current trends where other members of your company may have dropped the ball. You could offer to take responsibility of big projects, so much so that if you left, the project would be almost impossible to see through. Find specific skills within the scope of your role that you can do better than not only everybody else in the company, but everybody else you know.
Either way, the key to job security and getting paid well is not only your value to the company but your indispensability. Become indispensable to the point where you know it would take weeks or months of headhunting to be able to find someone that could even come close to replacing what you were able to do for your organization’s success.