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It's Not All About the Benjamins

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

We go to work to get paid, but money is not the only form of compensation.

Monetary compensation can come in the form of:

- Salary

- Bonuses

- Equity Awards

- Profit Sharing

- Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)

- Health Care and Disability Services

- Retirement Contributions

Companies will even provide an end of year compensation snapshot in a not-so-subtle way of reminding you of all the monetary benefits you are receiving.

However, there are other forms of compensation as well:

- Vacation days

- Education and training stipends

- Flexible work location – consider the tax environment in certain states

- Flexible work hours

- Time off to volunteer

- Access to senior leaders and mentoring programs

Compensation is tied to industry and the role you perform.

- Technology firms may offer a lower cash compensation while offering more equity that could be worth millions and other forms of non-monetary compensation to drive innovation and incentivize employees in pursuit of an IPO or acquisition.

- Financial and professional services firms tend to provide a higher cash compensation, and then tie bonuses to firm and deal-related performance.

- Most other industries will pay in the form of salary and bonus, and potentially profit sharing or an equity award.

- Senior leaders will receive less cash salary but will get more money if the company performs well in terms of case or equity.

The main point is to think about how you would like to be compensated and ask yourself:

  • Is money the only thing that matters to you when you think about total compensation?

  • What monetary value do you assign to the other benefits the company is offering?

  • Does the company’s growth potential mean taking equity instead of cash could be worth millions of dollars in the future? See How this graffiti artist made $200 million overnight

  • Do you prefer time off to spend with your family over more money every month?

  • Can taking less money today mean you have access to senior leaders and mentoring programs that will accelerate you career in the long run?

  • Are you willing to take less money to live and work remotely a beautiful tropical location?

Answering these questions is deeply personal and not always easy. Understand the trade-offs you are willing to make as you begin to think about the type of role you want, and the negotiations that will ensue when you are nearing offer stage.

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