Are you ready to deliver $1.4 Million dollars in value to your company?

Beyond being ready … are you able to deliver $1.4 Million?

If you expect to be making $100,000+ dollars a year you should expect your prospective employer to assign some sort of multiple to your salary. A Return on Salary (ROS) if you will. Where an ROS is a factor that is multiplied by your salary as a rough guide for what you should be providing back to the firm.

If you use the 10x Rule of Thumb you will need to be both ready and able to deliver $1.4M in return for your $100k salary. (see table below)

Is this realistic? That’s hard to say, but when I was in school this is a Rule of Thumb they inculcated into our heads. I was trained as an engineer and this is what the professors told us (over and over) was a reasonable guideline for an engineer as a Return on Salary.

Full Disclosure: As I started writing this post and got to thinking about it I realized this might come off as a rant or as dismissive of people just entering the workforce. That is not the intent of this post. If anything I’m just suggesting that people consider their Return on Salary and factor it into their salary negotiations.

What Can You Do With This?

If you are looking for your first job or looking for your next job you can use this 10x Rule of Thumb as a guideline for a conversation with a prospective employer.

By thinking about your Return on Salary you can make assertions about what you can bring to the company. You can use the ROS to develop plans that can be measurable and actionable.

You might want to use a smaller or larger factor … depending upon your skills and other factors your bring to the equation.

Of course, some of these “other” factors include intangible factors that can be worked in to the equation to determine your overall ROS. For example, your rolodex (i.e. industry connections), your social media connections, publications or other expertise (patents, industry specific skills, etc.).

Don’t sell yourself short when asking for a salary. At the same time don’t oversell what you can realistically bring to the company. Factor in a realistic Return on Salary. Communicate this as a commitment to a prospective employer. Then develop a plan that can meet or exceed your ROS with metrics and time-based deliverables. If you do this … you will never need to seek another job again … they’ll come looking for you.

A few points to consider:

  • Your Rolodex might be very useful and is a powerful tool, but your rolodex is a result of something else … Your Reputation.
  • Companies hire people because they have an expectation for the value they will bring. For the Solutions they will bring.

Below is a table with several salary levels and the associated dollar amount for Pulling Your Weight (or defining an ROS) — using the 10x Rule of Thumb

The calculations are simple. Start with a Base Salary. Multiple this by 40% (which is a typical figure for SG&A costs) to come up with your Fully Loaded Cost. Then multiple the FLC by 10 to come up with Your Weight (to be pulled).

Formula: Fully Loaded Cost = SG&A (40%) x Base Salary
Base Salary x 1.4 = Fully Loaded Cost
Fully Loaded Cost x 10 = Your Weight (your ROS)

Base Salary Fully Loaded Cost
(SGA of 40%)
Your Weight / ROS
(FLC x 10)
$40,000 $56,000 $560,000
$60,000 $84,000 $840,000
$80,000 $112,000 $1,120,000
$100,000 $140,000 $1,400,000
$120,000 $168,000 $1,680,000
$150,000 $210,000 $2,100,000
$200,000 $280,000 $2,800,000

So, the question is…Are You Pulling Your Weight?

If the answer is yes … you should feel confident that you are imminently employable. Even if times get tough and something happens with your role you will always be able to rely upon your ability to Pull Your Weight … and you’ll be able to prove it too!

If the answer is no … you might need to think more about what you can do to bolster your Return on Salary. This might include additional training or it might just require you do double-down and focus on the factors that drive for a better Return on Salary.


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.