This past month marks the third year I will have been working for my company; it also marks the date of my annual salary adjustment. When I opened up my pay stub I was pleased to note that my salary has been increased by 10.5%. I certainly have nothing to complain, as that is well above inflation and is pretty generous considering I got two raises last year.
I now earn 57.5% more than when I first started my job three years ago. While the per-paycheck net take-home pay increase isn’t that significant, if we’re careful the extra cash can certainly go a long way.
With this raise, though, comes a saddening realization: I now make what I consider more than an entry-level salary. Why is this sad? Because for the first time in my life, I feel locked in to this one job in one particular niche field for financial security. In the past few months I was lightly considering a career move into a related field, but in order to do that I would have to start at a near entry-level position, presumably with a salary to match. Before this raise, the financial hit, if any, wouldn’t have been too severe. What this raise has done has, in effect, limited my career options.
Thankfully, I really do enjoy my job and the people who I work with. My job also doesn’t demand too much of me outside of regular work hours. Not to mention the nice perks that we get. My life outside of my job remains fulfilling and joyous.
But now I am beginning to realize the whole depth of the term “financial freedom.” It really all boils down to having choices and options. It may take us a long time to truly achieve that freedom, but in the meantime I hope I can have a fulfilling life so that I can be most happy with the options and choices that I’ll have when I finally get there.