Total Compensation


I find it amusing when talking to colleagues in my industry (medical sales) that scoff at what some companies are offering as a base salary these days for management level jobs. I just kinda stare & smile as they go on about what they use to make in base, and what position they used to have, and how they won’t accept anything less. Sometimes I might ask how long have they been laid off on the market or (if feeling bold) how many weeks/months of severance they got. Sometimes. Usually those who throw their nose in the air at the District Manager job with the base that is at least 40% lower than their previous base haven’t been optimized long or still have their severance kicking in & medical subsidized.


They haven’t been out there long ON THEIR OWN DIME. It hasn’t hit them yet that they now have to pay for their own internet service, cell phone, car (note, insurance, maintenance & GAS). They haven’t received that notice that they are now on COBRA to the tune of $1800/month for a family of 4 and/or haven’t had to try to get their own private medical insurance (try paying those premiums your damn self- GRUESOME). Their severance hasn’t ran out yet and they haven’t had to apply for unemployment benefits – YET. They probably also don’t have a spouse that is building a company (self-employed) and thus can’t just shift over to their medical/dental coverage.




I am of the firm belief that some people just don’t do the math. They have never had to. It’s just easy to NOT think about the TOTAL COMPENSATION package that you had/have until you actually ARE that package & have to come out of pocket. It hurts. There is suffering & noshing of teeth. Sacrifice. When it hits you square up in the face with bills that don’t go on an expense report (phone, internet service, MFn GAS), with having to get a car since you have always had a “fleet vehicle or car allowance”, with paying COBRA or your own premiums, THEN you will actually find value and calculate TOTAL COMPENSATION when you are given an offer.


Been there. Doing that. Starting your own company & building it successfully is awesome, rewarding AND expensive. I decided to go back to work for an employer recently to take some of the pressure off of the coffers (I’m tired of cat food; gives you hella bad breath – Just Kidding) as we build the Empire. No biggie. I have always played my position on the team.


I just accepted an offer from a company and I tell you, I had a moment of PURE GLEE when I got an email about making arrangements to have my “fleet car” delivered.




Outside of my base salary & bonus/commission, the FM and I sat down and calculated the “value” of the rest of my offer (car, gas, cell phone, medical/dental/vision, internet, PTO)  to make sure that it was worth accepting. We calculated together the value…and it came to over $25K. FIX YO FACE. Yep.




Take your cell phone bill, internet service, car note, insurance, average gas spend/month, medical premiums (guess or pull it off your paycheck since you don’t pay it yourself), multiply it by 12 and see what you come up with. (Now, if you are in a different industry you will have to use other things that you get COMPENSATED for at your company that you take for granted cause it doesn’t really come out your pocket – THINK)


So, here’s the deal. Before you just up and jump ship to go to another gig, before you refuse an offer cause the “base” salary seems a tad low or not what your accustomed to – calculate your TOTAL COMPENSATION PACKAGE. You might also want to put a number on the cost of your 401K, Life Insurance and other bennies that your company gives you to that over & above base calculation. Once you have the total VALUE of your compensation – you can then make a informed (and financially savvy) decision about what to do or not do.


I’m just sayin