Can't afford to give raises? Try giving compliments!

When I look back on the jobs that I've had, I'm struck by the things that made me stay or leave. For example, as a teacher, I accepted a low salary, odd hours, and the fact that my work life and my home life were never totally separate. In fact, I didn't just accept this job; I loved it. Ironically, part of the reason was the low pay. Basically, I felt like my job was a vocation, almost a religious calling. Like a Jedi master, I was passing my superior knowledge on to the next generation. I wasn't doing this for material gain or prestige, but rather for the warm, fuzzy feeling that I got at night. I felt like Obi-Wan.

To be honest, though, another part of my job appreciation came from the fact that my students and employers were very complimentary about my work performance. My students "rewarded" me with high evaluations and effusive compliments on the student-run teacher review site, while my employers rewarded me with the occasional award. In years when my employers failed to acknowledge my good work, my job satisfaction dropped and I began to ask if I was making enough money to justify my dedication.