NOT a Family
Please beware any company telling you that they are glad to have you as a part of their "family." Lately I've heard from several clients and friends whose jobs are sliding into a codependent role as their main financial provider and emotional "supporter".
Look. I'm glad your job pays you. They do need you. They may even be doing some helpful things for you in your life (paying your medical insurance, giving you a car to use etc.). But push comes to shove, if they find someone else who can do the job better… they're going to drop you like a hot potato. These are not bad companies, they're just COMPANIES. The primary goal of a company is to make money. Whether or not you are making (or saving) them money determines how you will be treated in that equation.
Some of you are very loving people. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. You're loyal. You might even like your boss. But please, do not for even one second assume that your boss is a part of your family and is paying you as a favor. Business is business. Family is family. In business you are worth what you produce/provide… and that's it. She's paying you because she has to in order to keep you. If she's not paying you appropriately, it's either because she can't afford to, or because she doesn't think she has to. Unfortunately it's hard to tell the difference unless you're willing to test the system. But you better believe it's not because she likes you.
While it might be scary to realize you are replaceable, there's freedom and strength in knowing you have options as well. You are allowed to make your decisions about engaging with this company based solely on the benefit it is providing you. Of course you may want to throw in other factors, like how much you enjoy your job and whether or not you enjoy working with the people you work with, but when it comes down to the wire, keep business business and family family. That way when one ships sinks, you'll have a lifeboat with the other.
Unsplash: Viktor Jakovlev