Promotion in Name Only
My company watched me restructure my team and successfully manage it through acquisition. Recently, I was promoted to a senior director position. I used to manage relative newcomers in my field. Now I manage senior managers. As the weeks went by, I never received an official offer letter or had a raise discussion. However, I had conversations about handing over my responsibilities and immediately taking over my new ones.
Almost two months later, I received my official offer, with no increase in salary, bonus or deferred structure. I expressed my dissatisfaction with my direct supervisor and with human resources 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 haven’t signed the offer letter yet. I am paid 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 pushing, do I keep not signing, do I walk a scorched earth, do I angrily apply like there is no tomorrow?
— Anonymous, New York
In an ideal world, all promotions would come with a raise, but we don’t live in an ideal world. You are entitled to your dissatisfaction, as this is an unpleasant situation. With increased responsibilities and a new title, there should be increased compensation, but there is little you can do to force your employers if they don’t want to.
You must decide how to proceed. If they’ve made it clear that no pay increases are on the table now, I’m not sure how much productive pressure the issue will be. You can build a strong case by saying how you restructured your team and managed the acquisition, but they’re probably aware.
Persistence is a virtue until it isn’t. Are you willing to wait until next year for a possible 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 can’t live with this, yes, feel free to apply for positions that will offer you the compensation and professional consideration you deserve. I wish you the best of luck.
Resentment Doesn’t Make a Meal
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 disability. I was also given special permission to work remotely. After the pandemic, the entire company moved away. Recently, there has been 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 about 30 hours, and projects are assigned to fit this new philosophy.
I have not received a salary and my hours remain the same. I love what I do and I love my co-workers, but I can’t stand the pay gap. For example, young colleagues earn about $20,000 a year more than me for what is now the same amount of work. We don’t have a human resources department, so I brought the imbalance up to my supervisor. She agreed that it was not right. She said the company can’t afford to fix it at this time, but will consider fixing it next year. This was a massive oversight with very real consequences. I’m newly pregnant, and money is obviously more important to me now. Is this ethical? Is this legal? How can I eat my resentment to stay?
Ethics comes up a lot in the questions I get for this column. People in exploitative work situations want validation that something horrible and unethical is going on. I assure you that this is not ethical; it’s also not fair at all. Your supervisor has acknowledged how unfair this imbalance is, which is symbolic, but does not address the significant pay gap.
If your employer can pay everyone else in your organization a full-time wage to work 30 hours a week, they can pay you a full-time wage to work 30 hours a week. Why does everyone else’s morality matter and yours doesn’t? There is no excuse for this, and you should not feed your resentment so they can continue to do something so nasty. Consult an employment attorney with expertise in disability law, as I suspect that just because of a disability, you have legal recourse. I hope your employer gets that wrong, and soon.