It seems like there is stigma in the software development world around looking at money as a central motivator for one’s career choices. You should instead be passionate about a company’s mission, or motivated intrinsically by a drive toward craftsmanship, or yearn for the chance to use cool technologies.
But there’s a common expression in the outside world:
Money talks, bullshit walks.
It turns out that money is a convenient shortcut to determining how much an organization values one’s contributions. And a close correlate to value is respect.
Even for someone who is not generally motivated by money in life, I believe can still find better jobs by focusing on how much a company is willing to pay.
I imagine many people have had jobs where they felt talked down to or generally made to believe they were unimportant. And along with that attitude comes other negative aspects to a job, like a crappy work environment, outdated equipment, lack of concern for one’s career goals, etc. None of us want a job like that.
If you’ve ever had a job like that, let me ask a rhetorical question: were you well-paid at that job? How was your salary or hourly wage?
Some companies try to get away with lower salaries by offering cheap perks like free sodas and snacks. Similar to car dealerships hoping people will buy a luxury car from them because they offer free car washes.
The thing about perks like that is they assume a certain naivete on the part of employees. “This company is a great place to work, because they have a free pizza lunch once a week…something that costs them a small fraction of my hourly wage.”
Perks are great, but when I find that a company is attempting to sell me on a job by heavily touting these kinds of perks—things that I could buy for myself quite cheaply—I ask myself one question:
“If they really appreciated me and the work I do, why wouldn’t they just pay me more?”
I’d argue that consciously seeking out companies that offer higher salaries and compensation is a great way to find many of the other things that make a job great, like talented co-workers, respect within the organization, and latitude in the way that one works.
When evaluating career opportunities, money is not the only voice, but it sure speaks volumes.