Hitting the Salary Ceiling 1 year in....

  1. Hello everyone, I am writing for some advice. I have been a RN for one year now and have already basically hit the salary ceiling for an RN(without retirement and healthcoverage) With the exception of flight nursing or becoming a CRNA. I am thinking about changing jobs but the pay cut will be drastic. I know that this is very uncommon considering my experience, and is almost unheard of. But either way, it is what it is...what im having a hard time with is, I do not feel like I can advance (salary wise)..i know i still have tons to learn nursing wise and am excited to, but i dont know how to advance from here. I am beyond greatful, and feel very blessed but also feel like theres not much to look forward to. What nursing can I go into from here? This standstill happened way too soon...Please note I am not bragging and I am sorry if I came off as if I am. I know nursing is not all about money but it is a part of why we work...Part of me is willing to take the cut to advance as a nurse but I also feel like the money has me trapped here...Any advise from any nurses who are in the same situation or something similar? I know most people that get to this point are looking forward to retirement, but that's sooo far away for me....
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   llg
    As you said yourself, if you want more money, you are going to have to switch jobs to something that pays more.
    If you are not willing/able to switch jobs to a more lucrative type of work ... then you will have to find other goals to fulfill if you want to maintain that feeling of "making progress." ... doing some research, speaking a conference, publishing an article, helping your employer fulfill a lofty objective, etc. What (other than money) is important to you? You can't possibly have done everything in nursing that can be in just a year.
  4. by   Leno182
    Thanks for the comment! No there is still lots to do and I still want to experience allot of it. My goals of what i want to do in nursing have not changed, I am just having a hard time with the realization that 30 years from now im not really going to be making as much as i do now unless i become a crna or flight nurse. Even with certifications my current job will not increase my wages and even with those certifications all the other job changes are a down move when it comes to pay. The money is not everything and I learned that very quickly. I still do not fill fulfilled in the type of nursing I am currently doing. It is just scary to leave financial security to persue my professional goals. Being a better nurse and getting payed more have always been a part of the goal but now it's not. I live in a rural community and the opportunitys are limited, I will have to travel much further, work harder and learn more to make close to half what I do now. Understand my dilemma?
  5. by   llg
    Everyone has that dilemma. It's just the details that differ from person to person. At some point, we all realize the limits of our chosen career/life paths and have to decide whether it is worth it to us to make some sacrifices to try something new and pay a price (go back to school, move to another town, borrow from the kids' college fund, etc.) ... or whether we should just focus on being happy with what we already have and seek fulfillment elsewhere.

    Once when I was much younger, I was complaining to my boss (the CNO) about something. I don't even remember what it was. But she said essentially, "llg, the problem is that your career is your life. You get all your satisfaction from your job -- too much. So that when something isn't right, you get all upset about it. You need to put your job in its proper place. It's just a job. You have a good job that pays well. Be happy. Find other things in life to also contribute to your enjoyment and fulfillment. Don't expect to get all of that from your job."

    At the time, I thought she was wrong. But as I have gotten older, I have recognized her wisdom. In my current job, I have been unable to fulfill all of my career goals -- but I have a great schedule,have been paid well, and work with nice people. Those things mean enough to me that I have been willing to sacrifice a few of my career fantasies. I could have gone elsewhere many times -- and maybe fulfilled a few more professional goals -- and been personally miserable in the process. I made my choice and I live with it -- while trying to fulfill a few goals when I can along the way.

    Either the money is important to you (nothing wrong with that) -- important enough to stay in your current job and seek fulfillment through other channels. Or the money is less important than professional fulfillment and you will be willing to sacrifice some of that money for a different career path. It's up to you.
    Last edit by llg on Oct 9
  6. by   KelRN215
    Where are you working that you've hit the "salary ceiling" within a year?
  7. by   Leno182
    Thank you llg your comment makes allot of sense. And you are right. I spend allot of my time working. I should really take more time off. Maybe it's time to enjoy the money I make a little and actually spend more family time. Which is way more important to me then my job or the money. Awesome advise!
  8. by   Green Tea, RN
    I enjoy reading your post, llg. It reminds me something important. Thank you.
    I had a nurse friend kept going and on with complain about her work. She complained about almost every aspect of work, her patient's behavior, scheduling, coworker, assignment, facility building, equipment..... On the other hand, she posted her selfie in scrubs online and described how cool her job was.
    Posting her whatever she would like online was okay to me, but overall her behavior looked a little bit odd to me and it made me wonder why. Gradually I started wondering that she was complaining because she had to see the real world at work. It was like she was not happy because the work didn't let her perfect world continue.
    One day, I was tired of listening to her complain and told her "I face challenges and frustrations at work daily too. But I go to work to give service, not to get service. Work is not a therapy. I try not to complain just because the work does meet my needs." Then she put her an unpleasant face and didn't say anything. I didn't know what was on her mind exactly. She might not understand what I said. She might get shocked because I disagreed and it didn't let her continue her ideal world.
    Salary is sometimes described as compensation. It does not mean no less than that, but no more than that. People (including me) tend to forget that our work is compensated (by money.) They tend to expect to gain far more than the compensation they actually have signed up for, like filling their needs or getting satisfaction.

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