I took a $114,000 pay cut to go do my dream job.

When I started at American Airlines, I was on a salary of $18.50/hour.

And because I worked 80 hours per week, I was making only $9/hour, which is far less than the $150,000 I would have made going to Goldman Sachs– not including the bonus.

But I did it for the opportunities that my mentor gave me.

Money was not my primary consideration, but I did have bills to pay and I could have argued my worth.

A lot of people starting in our company want to argue they should start at $100,000 a year or whatever they made before.

And while we don’t want anyone to have to take a pay cut for many reasons– to cause them to suffer in a few ways– we must also consider the value they deliver and to be fair to everyone else.

Many people, especially here in the United States, are grossly overpaid for their actual contribution and also grossly overestimate their skill level.

If they get paid less than they believe they are worth– even if they are loyal and honest– this creates problems we don’t want, which cascade.

That’s why we explain how they should be able to quickly level up IN JUST A FEW WEEKS if they do possess the proven skills at the level they claim.

Then pay is about provable, measurable performance– not what you were paid in your previous job or how adeptly you “negotiate”.

In our system, people who would get stepped on for being too quiet are constantly promoted for the good work they’re doing.

Ironically, those who demand to be paid the highest are usually the ones that cause the most problems and struggle with performance.

I’ve seen this over the last 20+ years– where people focus on either perceived value versus actual value– where it’s about them or the team.

And when you see team players– people who maximize the value of others– such people produce the most value overall and also get paid the most.

Thus, in a system of clear accountability, the people who focus on their own pay make the least, while the servant leaders make the most.

How’s that for a catch-22?

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