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Salary Reviews

What are your best rebuttals to the:
"We acknowledge your accomplishments beckon a merit raise but based upon industry averages and others in the company ... we cannot pay you more."

Basically, that means:
"You DO deserve more, but we can't pay it to you because my HR report from salary.com says I shouldn't and it would put you above your own manager (or other managers in the company)."

What's your response? You have pages of accomplishments affecting 80% of the products ... you really are good at what you do (and you love it; which means, you're rare). Outside of packing up (which is definitely an option); what can one do?

My thoughts:
- Invent a position to promote me into (that'll getcha more money; use salary.com as your guide; hehe, go ahead and make me a "senior deenior super uber business analsyst systems architect").
- Firebomb the place?

Anon
Thursday, July 29, 2004

You can do one of two things; Grab your coat or your ankles....

Funny guy
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Funny guy,
Agreed . . . anything else?

Anon
Thursday, July 29, 2004

well, first off: nobody gets paid what they 'deserve'.  you get paid depending on your leverage.

so, the question you gotta ask yourself is: do i have the leverage to demand a higher salary?  if the answer is no, then continue to increase your importance to the company.  if yes, you can always *politely* suggest to them that if they think they can get someone of your abilities for the same price, then perhaps that's what they should do because its obvious that the company can't afford you.

Kenny
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Well, if this is a bigger company and your manager really is hog-tied by HR drones then the promotion thing might work.  Where I work that takes time though so you would be looking at the same salary for at least a year. 

So you are down to two choices as I said before...  Prove them wrong (the market is better than they think and you can get something better elsewhere but you have to be committed to leaving) or stay there and take it and prove them right.  It really isn't an argument that you can win.

Funny guy
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Remember, if you threaten to leave if you don't give you more money, they will give you more money until they replace you with someone else (which will be sooner rather than later).  You will end up "training" your replacement.

saberworks
Thursday, July 29, 2004

See if there's something they can give you instead of salary.

The idea would be to ask for something that comes out of their monthly expense pile of money, and not the salary pile of money (you've got to play the budget game).  Some possibilities are:

- Health club membership.
- Parking costs.
- Vouchers for $50 of dry-cleaning each month.
- Cool LCD monitor.
- $500 in computer books

example
Thursday, July 29, 2004

I think you are definitely on the right track with the idea of inventing a new position. A new not-easily-categorizable position.

Rob VH
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Saber, exactly why I said that you have to be committed to leaving.  If you go "See, I can get this much somewhere else so you were wrong please pay me this much." then you can pretty much start the counter on how many days you have left  at the company.

Funny guy
Thursday, July 29, 2004

In the civil service world promotions for market salaries is called "Grade Creep".

A department starts out with everyone a "Clerk/Typist 1". Ten years later everyone is a "Clerical Support Specialist 4" because Clerk/Typist 1 pays less than Burger King.

dot for this
Thursday, July 29, 2004

You asked for rebuttals. I have been in this situation a few times. the main thing I can say is that they are asses and when you push back on this issue, you can expect they will start working to dismiss you because you are a lose cannon, being aware of your worth. You might start influencing other employees as well. That could affect the executive bonuses if they have to give anybody raises. Because of this the FIRST thing you have to do RIGHT NOW, is get ready with another job for when they dismiss you. Or just leave to that job. Preparing for this, make a deal with your boss that since you won't get a raise but he loves your work, you want a really glowing written review. You wanth that so you can show it to your next employer and make it impossible for them to badmounth you or fire you with cause.

Now, how do you respond to them once you have all this ready to go.

Get your facts straight - you need to know the actual average salaries in your area. Probably the numbers they have are wrong, or were collected several years ago, or apply to someone with obviously different skills from you. You have to call them on this and get from htem in writing the salary survey they are using. Pay attention to the date it was taken! Lo,ok at every detail that is different from you. You be sure to point all that out in a written letter. Your approach here is that you are kindly and pleasantly correcting the outdated data they mistakenly applied to you and now that it is corrected your new salary is forthcoming.

Your other point is that that data is for AVERAGE employees. That is for AVERAGE employees whe write THIRTEEN lines of code a day!!!  How many do you write? Are you TEN TIMES more productive? I bet you are. Point out that if they want to get average results, they can pay average salaries. Superior results like you provide require superior salaries like the 75th or 90th percentile salaries that you have documented in salary surveys YOU found which you can prove are more credible. But you aren't going to provide superior results for an average salary. that wouldn't be fair. Hovewer, you are willing to compromise and provide average services if that is all they want. You'll be in for 8 hrs a day and you'll take a 2 hr lunch. During the day, you'll do your web shopping and newsgroups and then just before you leave you will write your 13 lines of code AND NO MORE. Since you are underpaid, you will be taking on a second job working at WarMart or at their competitors or at a cool startup founded by a friend because you need the money and it is not your fault that they are choosing to severely underpay their employees so you gotta do what you gotta do.

Now, go do it and come back and tell us how it went!

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Oh and I agree with the stuff about looking for a better title that would justify a higher salary class, and also looking for perks valued at the $20,0000 or whatever it is you are underpaid. If you get this that is cool but it is unlikely I think. Hovever, don't let them jerk yor around. A decision on a new title or on perks can be done in 1 day. If it takes longer than that, give them a 24 hr deadline to respond. If they say no, then go forward with what I said. I they say maybe we are looking in to it, that's BS runaround, just get your resume out and get out of there.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, July 29, 2004


Easy, you say:

"Yes, that would be the salary of hiring someone new off the street, but what would be the price of bringing up their training and company-specific experience to *MY* level?"



Actually, my company just negotiated a nice little benefit...

If you are a Verizon customer (I am already), then you can get an 8% discount on monthly plans and a 12% discount on hardware.

It's not bad... $1 off for every 12 spent on a plan and $1 for every 8 spent on hardware.  It's not huge, but it's something.

KC
Thursday, July 29, 2004

"It's not bad... $1 off for every 12 spent on a plan and $1 for every 8 spent on hardware.  It's not huge, but it's something. "

But you have to _spend_ money to realize the "benefit".  This reminds me of, "The more you spend, the more you save."

bpd
Thursday, July 29, 2004

>It's not bad... $1 off for every 12 spent on a plan and $1 for every 8 spent on hardware.  It's not huge, but it's something.

Really? I mean let us say you have a $48 plan and you save $4 on it...does that really float your boat? 

What next..that it is not bad you can take those cheesy office ballpens home? That they supplu free toilet paper in the restrooms?

I would rather take a nice email or better still a certificate of appreciation than such "perks"....atleast I can use that as additional leverage during my next salay review request or failing that for my next job.

Code Monkey
Thursday, July 29, 2004

If the job market was better my response would be to walk. I mean, if they're not willing to compensate you appropriately for the skills and productivity you offer then they're bunch of tight-ars*d weasels.

(On such a note, I wish there was an easy way to tell if a company behaved like this every time pay reviews were being performed. I'm sure if would affect a persons decision to join such a company...)

TheGeezer
Thursday, July 29, 2004

At one place where I used to work, a manager tried to promote people so they'd get raises for good performance, but someone higher up kept holding them up.  So finally the manager started adding overtime hours to their timesheets to bring them up to what they ought to be making.

So you could try that.

Just don't mention that the manager, his manager, and her manager all got fired.

(On the other hand, most people's reaction was "You got fired for _that_!?")

Kyralessa
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Tell your boss you want more money. Tell him how much more in rough terms. Don't threaten. Don't say what you'll do if they don't do it. If they think you're valuable, they'll at least make an attepmpt to pay you. If they don't get you 80% what you ask for within six months, quietly start looking for a job. When you find one that is better take it. Don't take counter offers.

Good luck.

MilesArcher
Thursday, July 29, 2004

People get paid at their discounted marginal product, if they look around. Your discounted marginal product is the present value of what you can product for the company in the future. So, basically, the better you are, the more you get paid. If your getting paid below your discounted marginal product, then other companies can look and see that they could hire you at a larger salary, while still making a profit. This happens until your salary is bidded up to your discounted marginal product (DMP), if you put yourself on the open job market.

Thus, if your sure that you're discounted marginal product is more than what you're getting paid (given you current level of productivity, would anyone pay you more than you get now?), then you are in a position to use that to get a higher salary. I have some notes from a lecture at the Mises Institute that touch on this: http://www.livejournal.com/users/dh003i/17997.html#cutid1

David Heinrich
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Find a new job; any new job. Hand your notice in. Observe how the purse strings suddenly open in their desire to keep you.

Mr Jack
Friday, July 30, 2004


I'm already a Verizon customer, so getting the plan discounts don't cost me anything additional.  And I never said that it was great.

Though, our MIS chief went back and pointed out how much business we'll bring them if just our corporate staff switches over and his goal is to negotiate 2 free plan upgrades for employees.

Ie.  If you're on the 39.99 plan, you get the conditions of the 59.99 plan (2 bumps up) for the same price.  They already do free in-network calling.

KC
Friday, July 30, 2004

"Preparing for this, make a deal with your boss that since you won't get a raise but he loves your work, you want a really glowing written review"

--- This is a good idea.  Make it seem to the boss that you are creating leverage for a promotion.  Two glowing "greatly exceeds expectations" reviews in a row typically implies promotion material to HR.

So the boss can give you a glowing review this year, and he doesn't have to do anything.  It's an implied promise.  He can "forget", or just give you a "exceeds expectations" next year, or a half dozen other things.  So it's not risky to just give you the glowing annual review.  If he's a good guy but really is being flamboozled by HR, he should be happy to do this.

This is one thing to put in your arsenal other ideas:

1) Look for another job - but this is a last resort.  There is an old expression "If you work here for 10 years, someone probably owes you an apology for five of them."  If you bolt and run and the first wierdness, you may never get very far at any company.  That said ...

2) I second the "ask for perks" idea.  How about every friday afternoon off to work on your writing, or an extra week's vacation a year, a promise to send you to a week's training this year?  Get creative with the boss - some of these things can be done with no direct expense.  If he isn't willing to even have the conversation, that tells you something about your percieved value.

3) You can contract at night, or, better yet, get other people to contract at night for you until you have enough repeat business to go independent.  Good article on Angry Coder on this:

http://www.angrycoder.com/article.aspx?cid=6&y=2004&m=7&d=26

4) Ask to go hourly.  If you work overtime, that will either end you you'll get $$$.  Another option is to cut back the # of hours you work to 35 or 30 - try to keep the full-time benefits, and go do contract work for somone else at a high hourly rate.  Just the perception that you have other options might scare the boss or HR into reality.

5) Go independent contractor.  Once you have some work lined up, you could say something like "It's been great working here, but I think I'm going to try my hand as an entreprenuer.  I would love to keep in touch, and even to have (this_company) as a client ..."  If you can pull this off, you'll work less hours for more pay.

6) I second the take a hard look at what value you provide idea.  Find ways to tie your work to revenue, so you can say "yes, a programmer/analyst typically makes blah, but in my consulting role, I'm really more of a PRINCIPAL programmer/analyst ..." Move from code monkey to consultant  = more $$$, even an internal consultant.

7) Live below your means.  Save up $$.  The less you feel like a wage slave, bound to your job with no options, the more leverage people will have to hold you down.

8) Write, teach, speak, consult. 

Good luck,

www.xndev.com (Matt H.)
Friday, July 30, 2004

I gotta start checking spelling and wording on my posts ...

"The less you feel like a wage slave, bound to your job with no options, the more leverage people will have to hold you down."

Should be the less you feel, the LESS leverage people will have to hold you down ...

www.xndev.com (Matt H.)
Friday, July 30, 2004

Just find a better job and leave. No point in worrying about "proving" things to them. If for some reason you can't find a better job, accept the current pay until you can find a better job.

bashful
Friday, July 30, 2004

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