Skimpy Raises

From Slashdot – Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal?

Re:Welcome to reality…. (Score:5, Insightful)
by stinerman (812158) on Tuesday October 25, @10:58AM (#13868207)
( | Last Journal: Thursday August 18, @03:53AM)

One thing I always notice is that conservatives tend to have been born into middle and upper-middle class families and have had ample opportunity to make something of themselves, while those who are more liberal (read: socialist if in Europe) have not had such opportunities. I think this has something to do with the trend you describe. Conservatives miss the point that not every has had the same opportunities, while liberals don’t quite get that sometimes it is the fault of the poor man that he is poor.

The causality of the situation will be debated until the end of time. Are people unsuccessful because they are lazy, or are people lazy because they are unsuccessful? I’ll decline to share my view for fear of starting an offtopic flamewar. All the same, it is an interesting question.

Re:Hard Times (Score:5, Interesting)
by Audacious (611811) on Tuesday October 25, @10:31AM (#13868043)

I’ve gone both ways in pay scale. When I worked for a university once there was a stretch of three years when we never got a pay raise. Usually we only got a 1% or less pay raise. When I became an assistant manager I found out what was going on – the higher-ups were taking all of the money even when the state congress expressly stated that no managerial personnel was supposed to take a pay raise for that year. Pay raises of 3-5% were the norm.

On another front, a friend of mine was also working at the university. After three or four years of never getting a pay raise he decided to find out what was going on. In his case, he wanted to look at the accounting books. It turned out that the accounting books were on the top floor of the library accesible only by stairs and no photography equipment was allowed on the top floor. Also, no pens, no paper, no pencils, nothing – except yourself. (Althought you could ask for a pencil and paper as you will see here in a sec.) It took several hours (and several days) of making requests for various accounting books, being told they were not available, being denied access to records, and the like to finally get hold of the books he wanted to look at. Turns out they were all done in pencil and several of them had areas that had been erased. Lucky for him, the sections he was looking for were still in good condition. After looking at the pages he asked for some paper and a pencil. The person would only give him one sheet of paper, one pencil, and stood over him while he copied the information from the book to ensure he didn’t modify the books. Only one sheet of paper was allowed per person per visit. So it took him a while to get all of the facts. It turned out one person who had hired on with the department had funneled almost all of the funds to themselves. Something like a 30% pay increase each year for the past few years thereby doubling their salary in a very short amount of time. Since the “librarian” had stood over him and watched him copy everything he had the foresight to get the person’s name as a witness to what he’d done so there could be no mistake about what he’d found out. He threatened to expose the whole affair if the offending person wasn’t fired. They were and the money got distributed like it was supposed to be distributed to everyone. No charges were ever filed against the other person.

This is why I hate the “let’s hide what everyone makes” mentality of most companies. As the saying goes “Evil can not stand the light of day but loves the darkness of the night.” Which is to say that you can not do covert things unless you hide, misdirect, or mislead others in what you are doing. So remember that the next time raises are (or are not) handed out. Those people above you didn’t take a “0%” pay raise. They took their cut out first and then went “Oops! There’s nothing left for the rank and file. Oh well! Maybe next year!”

One last thing: Any time your boss gives you little or nothing as a raise; just remember this one thing – Every company has to file their income tax returns and those returns are open to public scrutiny. But more importantly, there is a company that already does this for you. They are Standards and Poor. Any major library in any major city will have the S&P books on hand for each year. All you have to do is to go to the library and look up the year you are told you are not going to get a raise (or even if they cut your pay). You can look up your company’s information, see what the head of your company had to say about that year’s profit and loss, see what dividends were paid to the stockholders, and even see how much money the company’s owner made for that year (and you can compare it to the year before’s amount to see what kind of a raise they got). Go and look at it. See how much of a pay decrease they took. I think you will be very surprised to find that even in the worse years they didn’t take a pay cut or no raise at all but instead usually take about a 7-10% increase every year. Not to mention bonuses they may have taken on top of their pay increases.

Something to think about.

Go for higher pay when you first negotiate (Score:4, Interesting)
by Canberra Bob (763479) on Tuesday October 25, @09:50AM (#13867745)
(Last Journal: Tuesday May 11, @04:35PM)

Thats why I always aim for a decent base package before I sign up. I take the approach that I will only work for an amount I am happy with for that position, any raises, bonuses etc are then just icing on the cake as I dont really need them and dont really care. Also stops me from overworking and chasing the pay rise / promotion that never comes (hint: if you want career progression and better pay you have a far greater chance getting it faster by changing jobs than just sitting back and waiting your turn)

Be prepared to quit (Score:5, Insightful)
by ucblockhead (63650) on Tuesday October 25, @11:16AM (#13868312)
( | Last Journal: Friday November 15, @06:24AM)

Many places flat out lie. Be prepared to quit. It’s often the only way to get a real raise. There was one place that, after I had worked there nearly a year, gave me a 2.25% raise, claiming that it was “all they could do”. So I went and got another job. When I have notice, they offered me an immediate 10% raise if I’d stay. I laughed at them, and suggested that if they would give decent raises, they wouldn’t have such a problem keeping good people.

Unfortunately, there’s too many saps out there who complain about shit raises, but won’t go out and do something about it. Don’t like your raise? Get a new job, and then when you leave, tell them exactly why. If more people did that, raises would be higher for everyone.

I got 40% raise after just 6 months!! learn how… (Score:4, Interesting)
by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Tuesday October 25, @12:46PM (#13868729)

I came in as a contractor, because I had unique skills very hard to find in the mark place. Having worked for over a 1/2 dozen companies in my past (as an employee), I know very well that if you want to get paid well it’s all about your initial negotiations. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line as an employee, that’s it amigos: game over – You’ve got little else to leverage with after that and you have to be treated like the other employees.

So after 6 months they wanted to keep me as I had done a good job and they valued my work, at which point I bypassed my boss all together and negotiated with the VP of IT for 2 days for a total of 5 hours, explaining why I was worth way more than what he was offering and debunking every reason he had to pay me like the other employees. And yes, I did plan a lot before that meeting – many hours! I did get the spcheal about how the company paid fairly and according to market research I was worth X amount of dollars, but I played it cool, mentioned that I had other prospects on the side (which was true) willing to offer me close to 60% more than what he offered me, I mentioned I had worked internationally and one of the jobs even offered me partial company ownership, but most importantly I said, hey, look I don’t consider myself an average employee, so if you are interested in hiring average employees I understand that but if you read my resume (which I knew he didn’t read it as I had been hired by another manager), you will know very well that I’m hardly an average employee and I take on work that very few people have the skills to take on.

Even though I didn’t get the huge $ I was asking for (which was a 6 figure close to what he was making), I did get the highest tier of pay he was allowed to give me (he even got out all the pay charts and showed me what all the other employees made). 2 years later, I still make about 5% higher than my boss who has been working there for like 7 years!

So, hey… It was mental stress-hell for a week there getting ready to prepare to negotiate and getting through the negotiation itself, but 2 years later I could care less that I haven’t been given even 1% raise as I am very happy with what I am earning and have no intentions of stressing myself over any raises for at least another 2 or 3 years.

Do your research, prepare like hell, know his negotiation abilities, strengthen yours and be VERY creative in your game. During negotiations, as he was saying no to my request, I said stuff like:

well fine then how about you re-hire me as a contractor, or

let me look at your Hierarchy and pay-scale to find me a job description I am capable of doing that meets my salary expectations (which he did show me),

I brought into the negotiations print outs from and other places that showed that people with my job title made way more than what he was offering (what I showed, was of course the extremes),

I suggested that the company was growing in a new direction and fast and that perhaps it was time to create a new job title that did not fit into the existing pay scales & descriptions,

I explained that in my last job I made 50% more than what he was paying me as a contractor, and that I took the job because I liked the company and the technology was very leading edge at the time (VoIP) but that now (2003) my skills are high in demand (and he knew that),

next I said, ok well what about stock options to make up the difference?

Or what about training commitments worth $X per year,

or forget the salary and if you are not convinced, let me work for you for free and you pay me 10% of what I save the company money on (I could have trippled my salary easily if he had said yes).

I threw the question/problem back into his lap saying… Ok so listen, you know that I am not your average employee and am worth more than your regular pay scales, so how do you suggest we make up the pay difference?

He tried to talk to me about salary bonuses based on company performance, and I told him, that those fluctuate a lot and are outside of my control for the great part and that most employees I had worked with were actually not really pleased with their current bonuses compared to last year.

At one point he tried to show me in ‘secret’ HR books how the average salary for my position paid what he was offering and that he was even being generous, and I grabbed the book, scanned through a bunch of other job titles in my area and said… look I am doing the job of about 5 different people, I do this and this and this and this… and obviously I’m not going to ask you for 5 times the salary, but I think you have to admit, I am doing more and worth more than just what this one position is offering.
It went on and on… the guy was a hell of a negotiator, believe me, this was no easy task what so ever.

By the end of it, I got the following:

I got an instant 40% raise, far from my 60%+ that I wanted but not bad

He was only able to justify my raise by talking to HR and saying that a new position had to be created due to company technology needs, so I got a leadership position with a subordinate under me.

He made no training comitment, but 2 years later I just talked my way into $15K worth of training for myself. (I now control 3Million worth of budget per year, so easy to justify $15K of training)

I got him to remove the standard probationary period from 6 months down to zero months, seeing as I had just finished working as a contractor for 6 months – though standard company policy did not allow that, but that’s why you skip the middle men and get right to who has the power to make big decisions and make policy exceptions.

I requested as part of making up the difference and to sweeten the dear, that he re-troactively pay me the company group bonus for the last 6 months since I was definitely a contributer to a small part of the company’s success story. He agreed to that.

At the end it was pretty funny… I said… so what’s my job description going to be? And he said, well write one up and we’ll review it. And I said, what about job title? And he said, oh yes good point, and before he could say another word, I suggested one to him that had the word “Senior” in it, which in my area meant, that I was guaranteed a top technical position going forward with this company (even though I was only working for 6 months).

In a previous job negotiation (back in 1997 at the beginning of the broadband internet era) at an interview I told 2 50+ bosses that hey, look no offence, but the reality of this market is that it’s the younger people that have most of the knowledge you are looking for and so if you are thinking of paying me this (average wage) because of my age, I think you are ignoring a significant part of my worthiness in your company.

2 years later when I left that company they threw me a small party and one of the bosses at my interview said to everyone “I remember when I first hired him, he said (blah blah, it was young people that had the knowledge) and I thought to myself, this guy is such a smart ass, but I hired him anyway and boy, 2 years later (looking around a room full of 20 something year olds) – was he RIGHT!

In other words my friends, BE BOLD, Be ready to move on to something else, but above all be creative or go home. But also be ready to not get what you are looking for. If you play an average (interview) game, expect average results.

Good luck!

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