This is not the normal kind of self-optimizations and self-help guide you are looking for when you are urgently in need of some arguments to convince your boss to pay you a higher salary. I want to look at the topic of pay raise from a yogi’s perspective. Therefore, I took inspiration from the very successful book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. This was supposedly the only book Steve Jobs had on his iphone and read every year again.
There is a lot of information on almost 500 pages. It would be quite interesting to know what Steve Jobs liked so much about it. Some parts seem, when you hear them the first time, quite crazy for our modern times. You might even have some difficulties. This is perhaps because Yogananda’s teachings are very much influenced by Hinduism which is after all a religion. And religious teachings don't quite fit into our analytical business world of today.
But, what kind of argument for a pay raise would now be in line with the spirit of Yogananda? The first thing he would probably recommend is that we must learn to distinguish the dream from reality. In other words, it is important to understand what is really true and what is just one of your imaginations. I guess any manager would definitely still agree here. By the way, we are assuming that you are doing a good job and that you do not hang around lazily in your job.
One or multiple of these requirements need to be fulfilled when a yogi recommends a pay rise:
1. You want to give money for the greater good and to the ones who are in need.
2. You are working in an area where the greater good and purpose are important. You feel that the appreciation of all employees in this area needs to rise in order to initiate change.
3. You are yourself are doing something for the greater good and therefore need the money. When your action starts with the pronoun “my” then I am afraid it is probably not for the greater good (e.g. my car, my house, my kids, my clothes).
You might now say that this sounds nice but a little bit far from life. Something just of significance for the ones who are religious and deeply into good-doing. A little food for thought here: I would argue that this is relevant for everyone after all. Why shouldn’t being good and religious or spiritual be something for everybody? After all, there is scientific proof that kids who are raised with spirituality become happier and healthier people.
When I look at our society, of which I am a part as well, we replaced religious beliefs and behaviors with the “religion of our jobs, our hobbies, our belongings”. Singularly, these new beliefs, influence our behavior. When I now contrast the ethical, moral behavior and millennia of knowledge of religions and spiritual practices with the “me/my/our-centered” little goals, this seems a little bit off. We don't have to pit one against the other, but maybe it doesn't hurt to think about balancing our values every once in a while.
After all good questions can be, why does the world need us and how do we serve the world? I believe that we can gain a sense of purpose and happiness if we care for each other and that everyone benefits from such behavior. I am sorry for the bosses and organizations who have to deal with such “new employees” since it will initially not make their lives easier. It will, however, definitely help companies and the world we all live in, run more sustainably. Since a system, in which we consider the impact of our behavior, is made to last, rather than greedily and unaware betting on short term benefits.
In case you want to follow Steve Job’s example and read Autobiography of a Yogi, I would recommend getting an edition in your mother tongue and maybe also opting for the audio version. Afterward, you can always go back and read paragraphs that attracted you most.
“Because I'm actually quite different, but I so rarely get to do it.”
Ödön von Horváth
- At the end of the day think about what experience moved you and brought you joy. Picture the situation again and maybe write it down.
- Think about the question of why does the world need you and how can you serve the world. The answer might take a while but I am sure you will come to a conclusion.