Friday, January 14, 2005

There's a lot of work stuff going on right now; a new venture is starting up, as an off-shoot of the current office, and a lot of people are interviewing for the new positions. At the same time, most of us will be moving into a new building downtown at some unspecified near-future date (and at an unofficial, still unannounced location, though everyone knows where it is). I've been discussing all of this stuff with a friend in the office who is also interviewing for the new venture, and we were talking about how, due to the pay structure or whatever the hell, we can only get a certain percentage raise per year regardless of whether or not we're promoted. Which means that you can get up fairly high on the totem pole but be very underpaid compared to other people in the same exact position who happened to be hired from outside. Which means it pays to hopscotch from place to place, and doesn't pay to be a loyal employee. (This is an industry-wide phenomenon, not just at this particular company.) It's pretty fucked.

So, we were talking about all of this, and after I asked my coworker if it was okay, I broke the cardinal rule of office life and told her how much money I make. I feel like I just did something really naughty and sneaky. What is the deal with that, anyway? I am certain that the person I work with who has the same title as I do makes more money, since she has a few more years' experience, and was hired from outside, and I really don't care. Much.

Anyway, I told her what I make, and I think she is shocked or at least disappointed because she hasn't yet replied to my message. She had asked, "Have you broken the $XX,000 mark?" and my response was "HA! No, I'm making $XX,000" so the attitude may have had something to do with it...

p.s. Note my careful anonymity so I do not get dooced. Be kind.


Anonymous said...

Don't believe the B.S. about raises they are feeding you. Request a meeting, ask for a raise you feel you deserve. Tell them why you deserve it, and though it may not be kosher to say, "I know so and so makes more than me," you can certainly say, "I know I am underpaid considering my abilities, my position, and my time at the company." Even with this so-called policy (sounds like scare tactics to me), don't let them deny you a meeting where you get to pitch your strengths like this.
If they say No, you can really re-evaluate whether you want to stay the next time you ask for a raise from somewhere it won't be as scary. :)

Anonymous said...

At least she didn't ask if you've broken the $XXX,000 mark. Then you'd be really pissed.

The only entity that benefits from keeping salaries secret is the corporation. If everyone knew each other's salaries... well, actually, it would probably make everyone really bitter. (Like, "god, my boss doesn't do $95,000 worth of work!"). Anyway, maybe your co-worker is wondering if you're mad (or are going to get her in trouble? is that possible?) now that she's hinted you make less than her.


debl said...

Just to be clear, the person asking me what I made is in a position one step lower than mine. She did get back to me, and is making a few thousand less a year than I am, so that's all normal. We are both being underpaid, though. I know mediabistro's salary ranges are a little on the high side, but it would be NICE to be within a stone's throw of the lower part of the salary range for our respective positions, you know? I mean, we work for a huge and profitable public company. Fuckin' capitalism.

The raise gambit won't work. The people in my building, their hands are tied. This policy goes all the way to the top, man. Revolution is the only way!

Anonymous said...

Then you need to request a meeting with people in whatever building has the right kind of string pulling.
Do a conference call. Whatever. You really owe it to yourself to try. And as Yoda says, "There is no Try, only DO."
or something like that.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly that you need to ask for a raise. I did this three times (successfully) at my old job, and ended up making $8,000 more than when I started. It's worth it.

av said...

Yup, I agree. Even if they say no the first time, it gets it in their little heads that they should have said yes. Ask a lot. break them down. make them feel guilty. I just sent you some salary negotiation tips from a classmate.