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Old 12-05-2015, 06:29 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,262 times
Reputation: 443

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I live in a major city in urban Japan, and have a great job. Fantastic hours; nice quiet environment; only three co-workers in the office with me and we all get along great.

This is because it's the graveyard shift: 9 PM to 4 AM. Nobody wants to work these hours, but for those of us who do, we get a great working environment, a bonus of 5000 yen (just over $40) per night, and every fourth week off as compensation. This works out to only about 1500 working hours per year; unheard of in this country, where the typical "salaryman" works twice that much.

I had been doing that for just over 10 years.

Unfortunately, with new ownership, this has all changed. No more extra time off, and everybody has to rotate through all three shifts (morning, afternoon, night).

Now I never complained about my salary in the years before about 2012. The yen was very high, and my total compensation of about 5.5 million yen was well over $65,000. For only 1500 very quiet hours of labor!

I never worried about what I would be paid if I went back to the US. No American company would balk at a salary request of $65k from someone in my position.

Fast forward to 2015, when (after massive devaluation by the government, who wants to encourage exports at the expense of the people) 5.5 million yen is only $45,000, and with fewer night shifts, I'm making closer to $40,000.

I'm not exactly complaining; these days there are millions of talented unemployed people who would be ecstatic to be doing this well. But if I were to move on, I obviously want to present my "worth" as being what it was when I had a week off every month, and ideally use the pre-collapse exchange rate where I made over $60k. $65k for 1500 hours versus today's $40k for 2200 hours. That's a big difference!

If I quit today, I could probably bring out last year's tax return and say that that was what I had earned. Once I file for 2015, that door will close.

What have all you City-Dataers done in this kind of situation? I would really hate to be back to entry-level pay just because the government of my adopted country crashed the currency and then my boss needed me to do some different work. What would happen if I quoted a four-year-old salary when asked about my pay rate?
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
12,675 posts, read 14,018,962 times
Reputation: 13500
Central banksters have been doing this all around the world. Capitalism, like communism, is a rigged game. I said NO to lower wages, pursuing higher education for a bit, and trying out a new career. I didn't like it. I ended up going back to my old line of work, and demanding better compensation. Companies were more willing to negotiate after a few years of racing to the bottom, because all the good quality candidates left for better jobs.

Don't assume talented people are working for peanuts just because it's what everyone says. The masses are dumbed down by a poor educational system and TV. People who are worth a damn, know what they are worth. And companies cannot get by without people worth a damn.

I cannot advise you personally on what to do though. I do not know your expenses, saving, ability to find new work, etc. I am young and I do not have a family to feed. I can take bigger risks than most.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:12 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,262 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire View Post
People who are worth a damn, know what they are worth.
This is what I was afraid someone would say. I have no idea at all what I'm "worth", because I've only ever had one job, I have no title that I could compare with others, and my employer uses fixed salary grades. If you're a Grade 3-A, your monthly base is $3200, that kind of thing.

Given this framework, I carved out plenty of benefits by getting great shifts, a stress-free environment, etc., in lieu of more money.

Now the perks have gone away. I either want them back, or want more money, if I switch jobs.

Quote:
I cannot advise you personally on what to do though. I do not know your expenses, saving, ability to find new work, etc. I am young and I do not have a family to feed. I can take bigger risks than most.
I'm pretty risk averse, but I'm not embarrassed to claim that I'm worth my "old" pay rate if I were asked about my desired salary by a potential future employer. The problem is when they ask for proof and I try to foist a 2012 document on them.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:03 PM
 
76 posts, read 77,499 times
Reputation: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schermerhorn View Post

If I quit today, I could probably bring out last year's tax return and say that that was what I had earned. Once I file for 2015, that door will close.

What would happen if I quoted a four-year-old salary when asked about my pay rate?
At least in the US, no professional job will ask for your tax return or last paycheck to verify salary.

Either say "I was making 65k at my last job, so I'm looking for something comparable." Or do research on whatever job you end up applying for and say "based on my research and my experience, I believe x is a fair salary."
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:56 PM
 
878 posts, read 860,833 times
Reputation: 1129
Your former salary won't be verified and is, while not entirely irrelevant, won't necessarily dictate your next salary-- which will be determined by what your next employer believes that you're worth (and also impacted by the location, your skill set, how in demand your skills are, as well as your ability to negotiate).

As a recruiter (headhunter), I advise candidates to NOT discuss money (at all) on interviews, only to indicate that they're interested and willing to entertain the company's best offer and to instead spend the time on how they can benefit the company, etc-- rather than negotiating with their potential, future boss like they're a used car.

There's a good bit of research on negotiation that shows that you're better off having them make you an offer (that goes for buying cars or shopping at flea markets/garage sales, too), it will-- more often than not-- be higher (salary) than what you would have asked for and lower in price (when it comes to cars/flea markets/garage sales). And, if not, or even if it is, you can usually (but not always) negotiate.

I do have a few clients that I work with that verify former salaries, but that's the exception, not the norm.
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:53 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,262 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by HereIsMyUserName View Post
At least in the US, no professional job will ask for your tax return or last paycheck to verify salary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellysbelly View Post
Your former salary won't be verified and is, while not entirely irrelevant, won't necessarily dictate your next salary-- which will be determined by what your next employer believes that you're worth (and also impacted by the location, your skill set, how in demand your skills are, as well as your ability to negotiate).
Isn't "what are you being paid now?" the very first question a potential employer asks, so that they know if you fit the budget they've set for your position? (And to give themselves a chance to get you at a great bargain price, in case your salary plus 10% or so is still under their budget?)

I'm only talking about bringing in a tax return because I won't have a W-2; I'll have the foreign equivalent, in a foreign currency and foreign language. A highly international company with lots of multilingual staff might accept that, but I could just as easily see them tossing it aside.

When I had some preliminary talks with my old US bank about getting pre-approved for a mortgage if I were to move back, they would not even look at non-English, non-US-dollar documents, but were happy with a Form 1040 even though all my income was from abroad. Given the consequences for "fudging" one, a tax return is guaranteed not to have been falsified and is something I can show as proof of income without much fear.

But as you two say, the ideal would be for me not to have to even discuss my current income, and for the future employer to have a pay scale for the position that I can be slotted into regardless of my history. I like the fixed salary grade system but AFAIK it isn't so popular in the private sector in the US nowadays. Is it?
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