promotion in name only
My company has seen me successfully restructure and manage my team through an acquisition. I was recently promoted to Senior Manager. I used to manage relative newcomers in my field. Now, I run senior managers. As the weeks went by, I never received a formal offer letter or had a discussion about a raise. However, I’ve had talks about transferring my responsibilities and taking on my new responsibilities right away.
Almost two months later, I received my official offer, with no salary increase, bonus, or deferred structure. I expressed my displeasure to my direct supervisor and HR and was told that no salary increases would be discussed until next year. I asked my supervisor to get back to the CEO and CFO with this. I still haven’t signed the offer letter. I get a decent salary with decent benefits, but well below my market value. I am also in the process of buying a house. Do I keep pressing, do I continue not to sign, do I go full scorched earth, do I apply in anger like there is no tomorrow?
Anonymous, New York
In a perfect world, all upgrades come with increments, but we don’t live in a perfect world. You are entitled to be dissatisfied as this is an uncomfortable situation. With the increased responsibilities and new job title, there should be increased compensation, but there’s not much you can do to force employers if they don’t want to.
You must decide how to proceed. If they make it clear that there are no salary increases on the table right now, I’m not sure how productive that issue is. You can build a strong case by showing how your team restructures and manages the acquisition process, but they probably know that.
Perseverance is a virtue until it is not. Are you willing to wait until next year for a potential raise? Do you love your job enough to sign the offer letter and see what happens? Are you angry enough to find a new job? If you can’t live with this, yes, furiously apply for jobs that will offer you the compensation and professional attention you deserve. I wish you good luck.
Resentment does not make a meal
I’ve been with my company the longest of any employee. I helped build the organization from scratch. Years ago, I decided to work part-time due to a disability. I also got special permission to work remotely. After the epidemic, the whole company is far away. Recently, there has been pressure to reduce the weekly work hours for the sake of work-life balance. All full-time employees are now paid full time but are only expected to work around 30 hours, and projects are set to match this new philosophy.
I didn’t get a raise and my hours stayed the same. I love what I do, and I love my co-workers, but I can’t stand the pay disparity. For example, junior associates make about $20,000 more a year than I do for the same amount of work now. We don’t have an HR department, so I brought up the imbalance to my supervisors. I agreed it wasn’t true. She said the company could not afford to fix it at the moment but would consider fixing it next year. This was a colossal oversight with very real consequences. I am newly pregnant, and money is clearly more important to me now. Is this ethical? Is this legal? How can I eat my resentment to survive?
Ethics comes up a lot in the questions I get in this column. People in exploitative labor situations want validation that something horrible and immoral is happening. Let me assure you, this is not ethical. It’s also not fair at all. Your supervisor has acknowledged the injustice of this imbalance, which is symbolic, but does not solve the huge pay disparity.
If your employer can pay everyone else in your organization a full-time salary for working 30 hours per week, they can pay you a full-time salary for working 30 hours per week. Why is other people’s morale important and not your own? There is no excuse for this, and you shouldn’t eat your resentment so they can keep doing something terrible. Consult with an employment attorney experienced in disability law, as I doubt that on the basis of disability alone, you have legal recourse. I hope your employer corrects this error, and soon.