Too many people here associate their value as human beings with their jobs. How much one makes is thought to be reflective of how good they are at their jobs. They think that people who don't make much must not be worth much, as people.
I didn't think that way when I was negotiating for compensation. I focused on what was important to me: defined benefit pension plan, health insurance I could carry over into retirement with no premium increase, flexible working hours and ample paid time off to enjoy my life with my family. In return I gave up a high salary.
I knew what my peers were making. Some would brag about it. All a big salary meant to me was big income and payroll taxes and no life outside the office because all their time was spent in the office.
The way I approached it worked out fine for me and mine.