A Promotion in Name Only
My company watched me restructure my team and successfully manage it through an acquisition. Recently, I was promoted to a senior director position. I was formerly managing relative newcomers in my field. Now, I am managing senior managers. As the weeks passed, I never received an official offer letter or had a discussion about a raise. I did, however, have conversations about transferring my responsibilities and taking over my new ones immediately.
Nearly two months later, I received my official offer, with no increase in salary, bonus or deferred structure. I have voiced my displeasure with my direct supervisor and with human resources and was told that no salary increases will be discussed until next year. I asked my supervisor to go back to the C.E.O. and C.F.O. with this. I still haven’t signed the offer letter. I am paid a decent salary with decent benefits, but well under my market value. I am in the process of buying a house as well. Do I keep pressing, do I continue not to sign, do I go full scorched earth, do I rage-apply like there is no tomorrow?
— Anonymous, New York
In an ideal world, all promotions would come with raises, but we do not live in an ideal world. You are entitled to your displeasure because this is a displeasing situation. With increased responsibilities and a new title, there should be increased compensation, but there is little you can do to compel your employers if they are unwilling.
You must decide how to proceed. If they have made clear no salary increases are on the table right now, I’m not sure how productive pressing the issue will be. You can build a strong case by articulating how you restructured your team and managed the acquisition, but they probably are aware.
Persistence is a virtue until it isn’t. Are you willing to wait until next year for a potential raise? Do you like your job enough to sign the offer letter and see what happens? Are you angry enough to find a new job? If you cannot live with this, yes, rage apply for positions that will offer you the compensation and professional consideration you deserve. I wish you the best of luck.
Resentment Does Not a Meal Make
I have 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 pandemic, the entire company went remote. Recently, there was a push to lower the workweek hours for morale and work-life balance. All full-time employees are now paid full-time but are only expected to work around 30 hours, and projects are assigned to match this new philosophy.
I was not given a raise and my hours remain the same. I love what I do, and I love my co-workers, but I can’t stomach the pay discrepancy. For example, junior colleagues are making about $20,000 a year more than I am for what is now the same amount of work. We don’t have a human resources department, so I brought up the imbalance to my supervisor. She agreed it was not right. She said the company could not afford to fix it at this time but would look into fixing it next year. This was a massive oversight with very real consequences. I am newly pregnant, and money is obviously more important to me now. Is this ethical? Is this legal? How can I eat my resentment in order to stay?
Ethics come up a lot in the questions I receive for this column. People in exploitative work situations want validation that something terrible and unethical is happening. Let me assure you that this is not ethical; it is also not at all fair. Your supervisor has acknowledged how unfair this imbalance is, which is symbolic, but doesn’t resolve the significant pay disparity.
If your employer can afford to pay everyone else in your organization a full-time salary for working 30 hours a week, they can afford to pay you a full-time salary for working 30 hours a week. Why does everyone else’s morale matter and yours doesn’t? There is no excuse for this, and you should not eat your resentment so they can continue to do something so egregious. Consult an employment lawyer with expertise in disability law, because I suspect that on grounds of disability alone, you have legal recourse. I hope your employer rights this wrong, and soon.