PAY YOUR COACH
When I first started in the Indianapolis broadcast market, I started off at minimum wage as a rewrite man and board operator. In those days, I remember that minimum wage was around $3.25 or so…but, we got full-ride benefits from the employer, including major medical. In broadcasting, you can be shown the door for just about any reason. I took my experience down the street to another station–and doubled my pay. No more minimum wage. Several years later, I was recruited by the number one station in the market, and doubled my salary AGAIN because of my experience, work ethic and body of work.
Now, because of what I bring to the table, I can command top dollar when the need arises. It’s a simple matter of economics. You pay your coach not only what they are worth; but by what they bring to the table. What they have invested of themselves in their field of expertise to become good, upright, reliable and wise coaches.
A good coach can NOT be found for minimum wage, no matter how much of a ‘living’ minimum wage it may be. While it may be true that some coaches starting out have to work more than one job to make ends meet, learn their craft, and feed their family, there comes a time when a coach has made it past that ‘pork and beans’ pay and get to the ‘steak pay’ line.
Take the average consultant in any profession. A consultant is a coach, of sorts. Many have started out with ‘pork and beans’ pay, as they entered their chosen field. They have mastered the basics of their field, are widely read and are highly regarded. They may not be the ‘front page’ people in the bright lights of their craft, but they have enough weight and respect that all they have to do is pick up the phone, make a call, and things happen. The REAL mark of a great coach is their humility–especially if they are surrounded by fellow coaches of their profession.
Then, there are coaches in the field of education called tutors. A tutor is a coach one uses in order to obtain knowledge and wisdom in an academic subject(s) in which one is having difficulty mastering. They don’t work for a living wage. They are paid top scale, are highly sought after, and–the good ones–have a deep waiting list. The harder the subject, the more that a good tutor is going to be paid. Market demand sets what they can earn, which is the way a free market economy works.
No one takes ‘a vow of poverty’ when they enter the workforce. No one enters a profession to put a lid on their earnings. To paraphrase what the title character in “Rocky Balboa” told his son in that great street scene in front of the family restaurant: “If you don’t like what you earn, then go out and GET what you are WORTH!” Furthermore, once you have accumulated the experience, wisdom and skills to make it past the ‘pork and beans’ rate of pay, it makes little sense to return to being underpaid.
If you want to write an article, or a column, or a book, you have to deal with a coach called an editor. Good editors who have been in the writing profession for a while are worth their weight in diamonds. These are the people who can just look at a written work, spot the errors and help to make the work better. I don’t know of a single editor, publicist, or writing coach that is considered tops in their job description, working at a minimum wage level. Even the people who handle my column are (hopefully) getting top pay! If they are not, let me be among the first to suggest to management that they get a raise–NOW!
Why am I mentioning pay? For several reasons. One of which is that there are young people who are ‘on their way up’ in their careers, and who may get the desire to become coaches (or mentors) to someone down the road. Some of them are regular readers of my column and are wondering what pay mark to set for themselves when they get to the level of experience that it takes for them to hang out their ‘coaching’ shingle and go into business for themselves. That’s the REAL American dream; to be an entrepreneur. To work for yourself, set your own pay scale, and put your talents, skills, and abilities out there with the dream of being able to become big enough to hire people for your OWN company, or, be in such demand that you don’t have to ‘bust your fingers’ at a ‘9 to 5’ outfit.
Another reason? It’s the political season. I’ve heard the term ‘living wage’ thrown around like the proverbial football by folks who are making a good living off of YOUR tax money trying to keep some from being financially successful and upwardly mobile. A good coach not only reads current readings, he also has a regard for history. That’s why I have Booker T. Washington, Dr. George Washington Carver, and Tony Brown–among others–in my book reading file. They deal with self-reliance and economics. The two go hand in glove for any coach, in any vocation.
Bottom line? I’ve run into a lot of us who are doing the homework, heart work, head work and legwork while on the job to make that transition from player to coach. My advice to these ‘up and coming’ coaches? Once you pay your dues, make sure that you don’t ‘settle’. Make sure, for your efforts and talents, someone pays YOU! For no one works for free…or under-free! At least, NOT for very long.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Book Reviewer, P-School Ranger, Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Feel free to reach him with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2019 Barnstorm Communications.