After living from hand to mouth
as a student, it sure seemed like a lot of money at the time. Since then,
she and her co-workers have received raises, but these raises were given as
a percentage of salary. Consequently, Lenore keeps falling further behind
every time the company gives raises. Other than the pay, she loves her job
and has a great relationship with her boss, Susan.
Although she would prefer to stay, the pay discrepancy was gnawing at her to
the point that she was seriously considering quitting to go elsewhere.
Instead, here's how I advised
Lenore. As I recommend to everyone, Lenore had been keeping a good job
journal, describing the times she had made a significant difference for the
company, the department, or in handling a client account. She documented how
her actions had made or saved money, improved service, gotten big
compliments from customers, and how she had smoothed the ruffled feathers of
other customers. She prepared a memo for Susan, beginning with a statement
of the truth about how she enjoyed the job. She didn't threaten to go
elsewhere, but stated that she would like Susan's help in eliminating the
pay discrepancy that was the one real unpleasant part of her job.
She summarized the best material
from her job journal, and requested a meeting to discuss the memo. In the
meeting, Lenore reiterated how much she liked the job, and pointed out that
if the company were to hire today, that they would have to offer her
significantly more than she was currently earning. In effect, she pointed
out, she was being punished for her loyalty to the company and her years of
service. Lenore asked Susan to be a partner in resolving this salary issue.
Susan was very receptive, and went to bat for her with the company
president. Soon, Lenore had the pay raise along with a bonus to show their
appreciation and compensate her (a little) for the money she'd lost over the
years. Obviously, things don't always work out this well, but using this
strategy is far more effective than calling the boss cheap and threatening
to quit. You don't want to force the boss into calling your bluff.