Change in office environment

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kd2008
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Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:29 am

I work in midwest in a small satellite office of 6 employees of a company HQed in northeast. Recently my boss decided to leave the company. My boss's boss (who works from the HQ) has now decided to run this satellite office as a bossless environment with a few people (including me) getting to do a part of my boss's job in addition my regular job. No change in title or increase compensation has been awarded.

Has anyone been through this kind of transition? If so, what are the key things to watch out for?

The biggest challenge for me is the new business prospecting. I service repeat business clients on my own and I am familiar with the financial & accounting practices of the company. New business prospecting that my boss did was challenging, time consuming and needed enormous knowledge & networking in the industry and was underappreciated in the company. I just have 4.5 yrs experience post grad school. So my network is not at all anything to write about.

When will it be appropriate to being up compensation? My next annual review is in Dec 2013. So I can't wait that long.

Another thing I am majorly concerned about is time management. The new duties will include visiting clients onsite and this will reduce the time I have to complete my projects. What would be the best way to cope with this?

carolinaman
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by carolinaman » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:21 am

I believe you need to have a conversation (ideally in person) with your new boss to discuss these matters. Most importantly, you need to have an understanding of his expectations for you in your expanded role. For example, will you have a target of revenue from new clients, revenue from existing clients, etc. Also, he needs to understand your concerns about the impact your new duties will have on your existing work. I would suggest presenting this in a positive way, emphasizing the opportunity to grow your skills and value to the company (assuming you feel that way) but also recognizing it dilutes your time for other work. New business development is often challenging and time consuming, and could be especially hard without some transitional guidance which sounds like there will be none.

Senior bosses are notorius for doing this sort of thing, often lacking appreciation and understanding of what middle managers do, and usually learn the hard way that middle managers really do provide value to the company. BTW, do you know why your boss left? Best wishes

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:52 am

My boss left to work in a larger company with a smaller breadth of projects but more depth.

stan1
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by stan1 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:57 am

You'll be in a much better position to negotiate salary if you see this as an opportunity and are able to go out and close a few new deals before December 2013. Look back over everything your previous boss did and try to emulate the things that he was successful at. Consider calling him and asking if you can take him to lunch to pick his brain on contacts and strategies. I think you can do this!

That will give you specific accomplishments above and beyond your responsibilities in 2012. Asking for a pay raise because you've taken on 1/6th of your prior bosses duties is a tough proposition to make.

leonard
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by leonard » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:10 pm

kd2008 wrote:I work in midwest in a small satellite office of 6 employees of a company HQed in northeast. Recently my boss decided to leave the company. My boss's boss (who works from the HQ) has now decided to run this satellite office as a bossless environment with a few people (including me) getting to do a part of my boss's job in addition my regular job. No change in title or increase compensation has been awarded.

Has anyone been through this kind of transition? If so, what are the key things to watch out for?

The biggest challenge for me is the new business prospecting. I service repeat business clients on my own and I am familiar with the financial & accounting practices of the company. New business prospecting that my boss did was challenging, time consuming and needed enormous knowledge & networking in the industry and was underappreciated in the company. I just have 4.5 yrs experience post grad school. So my network is not at all anything to write about.

When will it be appropriate to being up compensation? My next annual review is in Dec 2013. So I can't wait that long.

Another thing I am majorly concerned about is time management. The new duties will include visiting clients onsite and this will reduce the time I have to complete my projects. What would be the best way to cope with this?
How well did you get along with your prior boss? If well, then perhaps you could ask a favor for the boss to do some introductions - at least to key contacts and players the most directly impact your business development opportunities to bring in new clients.

Things sound tenuous at your branch. I think you should prove yourself first by bringing in new business or solving a major problem in the branch. At the same time - start networking at corporate with the person or people that make decisions about your branch, your responsibilities and your compensation. Keep those people apprised of your results - new sales, new clients, processes improved, etc. Then, in a few months after you have proven results that the people have seen you execute on, go back for the compensation discussion.
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by Fallible » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:40 pm

kd2008 wrote:I work in midwest in a small satellite office of 6 employees of a company HQed in northeast. Recently my boss decided to leave the company. My boss's boss (who works from the HQ) has now decided to run this satellite office as a bossless environment with a few people (including me) getting to do a part of my boss's job in addition my regular job. No change in title or increase compensation has been awarded.

Has anyone been through this kind of transition? If so, what are the key things to watch out for?...
IMO, the key thing to watch for is already staring you in the face: extra work for no extra pay. I would nicely discuss this with your boss to clarify new duties and the extra time required for them. Depending on how things go, you could bring up the "little" matter of extra pay. (Maybe all of you who face additional workloads could meet together with him.) Then, assuming no extra pay, if you like this company and think the new duties could provide opportunities for promotion or a better job elsewhere, let him/her know you will do your best to make it work. The company's move may reflect financial problems or just the home office's questionable judgment. Whatever, good luck.
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kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:01 pm

Thank you all for the advice. Already I am feeling a bit better as repeat customers are trickling in. It is a start. I am going to wait out the transition period of couple of months to see how successful I am at picking up new things and then evaluate if asking for a raise is warranted. The company as a whole is doing well with good cash flow. It has managed double digit growth all the way through the recession.

Pinotage
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by Pinotage » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:52 pm

Good luck.

There is a thin, blurry line between "right sizing" and overburdening the remaining employees. What happens if one of your coworkers leaves? Will they be replaced or will you absorb those responsibilities as well?

I work in an environment where the leadership group (of which i am a part) has been reduced from 3.0 to 1.2 FTE. No change in title or compensation, but a very significant change in hours, stress and work life balance. At one point I viewed the leadership restructuring as an opportunity, I now feel differently.

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:30 pm

OK. Here is the update after 3 months.

Good news: My group has met its revenue target in March and in April. We are already on track to meet our May target. We are being encouraged to hire one more person.
Meh news: I was not made the director. The colleague that I get along with the most was made the director based on her seniority - she is the most senior in the group.
Bad news: Two of the least productive people are those who were hired in senior position and therefore they make much better pay than me. This really [stinks --admin LadyGeek]. One of them makes at least $23K more and the other makes at least $3K more.

The senior management has balked at pay raise for the extra work in the past months. One of my colleagues got turned down. In general the raises are really poor - only one person gets a $4K or more raise per year. I have already gotten this in past 2 of the 4 years.

This has presented me with limited options. I could ask for a raise and mostly likely will get turned down. The pay unfairness makes it difficult to play nice. How may I approach this situation and make it work for me? I still do enjoy the work and challenges.

Thanks!

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zebrafish
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by zebrafish » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:11 pm

kd2008 wrote:OK. Here is the update after 3 months.

Good news: My group has met its revenue target in March and in April. We are already on track to meet our May target. We are being encouraged to hire one more person.
Meh news: I was not made the director. The colleague that I get along with the most was made the director based on her seniority - she is the most senior in the group.
Bad news: Two of the least productive people are those who were hired in senior position and therefore they make much better pay than me. This really sucks. One of them makes at least $23K more and the other makes at least $3K more.

The senior management has balked at pay raise for the extra work in the past months. One of my colleagues got turned down. In general the raises are really poor - only one person gets a $4K or more raise per year. I have already gotten this in past 2 of the 4 years.

This has presented me with limited options. I could ask for a raise and mostly likely will get turned down. The pay unfairness makes it difficult to play nice. How may I approach this situation and make it work for me? I still do enjoy the work and challenges.

Thanks!
Well, if the person you like the best was made the local director, then you have a friend in your corner presumably when it comes to making decisions about advancement/promotion/raises.

Obviously, pay is important. However, you will always find people who work less, are less talented, etc. who make more than you do. This bothered me for awhile during my career, and I found it made me a less happy person and probably a less productive worker. There is a certain amount of this one just needs to tolerate. If you are seen as a malcontent or a non-team player who gripes, this will not help you attain your overall goal to advance in position and salary. People who control the purse-strings will give salary increases for outstanding performance, not complaining. If the local environment doesn't reward for performance, then it is time to look elsewhere for employment.

stlutz
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by stlutz » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:21 pm

A few things I've learned from working at my megacorp for almost 20 years now:

--Salary inequities are the norm.
--Reorganization is the norm.
--Changes in one's salary tend to be uneven.
--Everybody, no matter how much they make or how much the work, feels overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.

With that out of the way, waiting until your next annual review to pursue the salary issue is completely reasonable. Don't forget that many people who work for small companies never have the opportunity for an annual review. Between now and then, make notes of your accomplishments and what you are delivering for the company. Make sure those are brought up in your review.

Also, you need to make a determination of why are working where you do. If the only thing you are really getting out of the job is the paycheck (perfectly acceptable), then pursue other opportunities if you feel like you aren't getting paid enough. Four years of experience at your company shows enough stability that other companies would have an interest in you.

If you really do like the work, the people you work with etc. then consider that as part of your compensation. Most people who really like their jobs are not the highest paid in their organizations. That is simply because those people are less willing to make the jump to another company when a better paying opportunity arises.

I could probably be making more than I make now had I done just that. And the organizational BS at my company (and at all companies) is frustrating. However, I've made a decision to worry less about those types of justice issues and just worry about myself. I like the work I do, the people I work with have become close friends, and I'm satisfied with my compensation. So I stay put. Things could change in the future which might lead to a different decision.

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Nuvoletta
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by Nuvoletta » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:15 pm

Thank you to the OP who took the time to provide an update. I recall this posting when first made and I appreciate reading it.

I especially appreciate it because two recent replies to the update--zebrafish and stlutz--I found to be pertinent thoughts for my own situation. And, it prompted me to finally post my first question after a whole year of browsing!!!! :) Hope I get some of Boglehead wisdom, too.

Thanks again to OP and best of luck with your situation. Though I have no advice to offer, it is helpful also to realize that a lot of people work in challenging situations.

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:25 am

Nuvoletta, thank you for your kind words.

Another update: Few days ago I wrote an email detailing my accomplishments in the past 3 months and how that might help my boss in HQ evaluate an increase in my compensation or consider me for a more advanced position in the future. I will follow up with a call next week.

There were many reasons for doing this:
1) If I waited till my annual review, it would be too late to negotiate anything. By the time the reviews actually take place, raises are already decided. Unfailingly, all I might get is we will consider it next year.
2) If my company wants to hire more people, then obviously, we have done something right and hence, it would be appropriate time to ask for a raise.
3) The official directorship has not been announced, implying i's and t's have not been dotted. Most likely, compensation has not been finalized. So this was a small window of opportunity for me to put forth my case. I fear, once directorship is announced nothing will be entertained as all issues pertaining to the office would be deemed resolved by the upper management and all matters would have to be dealt with the new director.
4) Even though I am on good terms with the new soon-to-be-director, I did not want bother her with a raise, first thing into the job.
5) I finally figured out all the ball park compensation numbers for all other employees, giving that one last tool to negotiate. It took a while - like 3 months - but I was able to piece it together. Most of them were hired after me, I interviewed them, discussed their suitability with my former boss before they were hired - that helped.

livesoft
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:45 pm

Typically a very good way to get better compensation is to go work someplace else. If you aren't looking elsewhere, you are not doing everything possible to get paid better.
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protagonist
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by protagonist » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:59 pm

livesoft wrote:Typically a very good way to get better compensation is to go work someplace else. If you aren't looking elsewhere, you are not doing everything possible to get paid better.
Livesoft hit the nail on the head. If you are dissatisfied with your job at present, this is the time to put in the leg work (while at least you have a job) and look diligently for something better. If you find it, either leave, or offer your current employer an ultimatum, since you will then have an idea of how much more you would demand in order to get you to stay. You might find that, in this poor economic environment, you cannot do better than what you have, But you will have a much better idea of what you are worth, before you stick your neck out and make demands.

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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kitteh » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:08 pm

Who sets the pay for your position? The person you like in your group, or the distant upper manager, or both?

I don't see anything wrong in briefly mentioning to the local person that your salary is out of whack and when her time permits, you'd like to discuss that, before the distant performance reviews have it locked in place. Being quiet about this was a mistake I made when I was first working. The polite squeaky wheel gets the pay raises.

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Re: Change in office environment

Post by stoptothink » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:21 pm

I am in upper management as the health director for an organization with ~250 employees. In December one of my fellow directors (there are 6 total) left and it was decided not to replace her. The entirety of her responsibilities were split between I and another director. My work week has gone from ~50hrs to 65+ and I am now managing a component of the organization which I had no previous experience with. We were both verbally promised compensation for the increased responsibility when the announcement was made, at the next board meeting, and in private by our executive direction, but 5 months later and I haven't seen a penny. I have to agree with some of the other posters who stated that the best way to get a raise is to find other employment. In my case, although it was promised and I am well aware I am very underpaid for my position and production, I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to create some unnecessary tension in what is otherwise a great work environment. I enjoy my job and have no reason to leave other than I am very confident I could find better compensation elsewhere. I have been on both ends of this several times, as the one asking for and the one being asked for an increase; if you intend to ask for an increase you better have options.

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Re: Change in office environment

Post by linguini » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:02 pm

stoptothink wrote:I am in upper management as the health director for an organization with ~250 employees. In December one of my fellow directors (there are 6 total) left and it was decided not to replace her. The entirety of her responsibilities were split between I and another director. My work week has gone from ~50hrs to 65+ and I am now managing a component of the organization which I had no previous experience with. We were both verbally promised compensation for the increased responsibility when the announcement was made, at the next board meeting, and in private by our executive direction, but 5 months later and I haven't seen a penny. I have to agree with some of the other posters who stated that the best way to get a raise is to find other employment. In my case, although it was promised and I am well aware I am very underpaid for my position and production, I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to create some unnecessary tension in what is otherwise a great work environment. I enjoy my job and have no reason to leave other than I am very confident I could find better compensation elsewhere. I have been on both ends of this several times, as the one asking for and the one being asked for an increase; if you intend to ask for an increase you better have options.
If they are deliberately going back on a promised compensation increase, this is a pretty serious violation of your employer-employee trust. This is very different from expecting a raise and not getting one. You were verbally promised a raise, and they didn't follow through. I don't know about how your workplace environment is, but if this happened at my office I would follow up with the executive who made the promise and at least ask about why the promised increase in compensation isn't being awarded.

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Re: Change in office environment

Post by leonard » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:22 pm

stoptothink wrote:I am in upper management as the health director for an organization with ~250 employees. In December one of my fellow directors (there are 6 total) left and it was decided not to replace her. The entirety of her responsibilities were split between I and another director. My work week has gone from ~50hrs to 65+ and I am now managing a component of the organization which I had no previous experience with. We were both verbally promised compensation for the increased responsibility when the announcement was made, at the next board meeting, and in private by our executive direction, but 5 months later and I haven't seen a penny. I have to agree with some of the other posters who stated that the best way to get a raise is to find other employment. In my case, although it was promised and I am well aware I am very underpaid for my position and production, I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to create some unnecessary tension in what is otherwise a great work environment. I enjoy my job and have no reason to leave other than I am very confident I could find better compensation elsewhere. I have been on both ends of this several times, as the one asking for and the one being asked for an increase; if you intend to ask for an increase you better have options.
Many people rely on and take advantage of other people's politeness and their avoidance of conflict. It appears that this is what is happening to you in this situation. Or, it may simply be that with the changes in management, they have simply forgotten the commitment.

However, I don't think it is the best thing to simply let it slide. I would suggest scheduling time with your manager - or take a portion of an existing one on one - and discuss the commitment. It is very easy to frame this in a non-confrontational way that also pushes for a definitive response to the question of (1) confirming what you were promised, and (2) defining a timeframe for when you will see the higher compensation. If you are currently underpaid and you have not been given any follow up on the promise for higher comp - then your managers may be simply taking you for granted and assume they can deploy their budgets (your salary) elsewhere. By showing a willingness to have a tough conversation, you may get your raise and you will definitely show that you do not shy from tough issues and hard conversations. That is of value to you and to them.
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kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:41 pm

My reason for writing an email was starting a dialogue. I hope people am talking to are mature enough to see this. Asking for a raise should not create a conflict. Expecting more work from employees when business is growing like in my case is not a sound strategy.

No is a valid answer. I just need to know why.

stoptothink
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by stoptothink » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:55 pm

leonard wrote:
stoptothink wrote:I am in upper management as the health director for an organization with ~250 employees. In December one of my fellow directors (there are 6 total) left and it was decided not to replace her. The entirety of her responsibilities were split between I and another director. My work week has gone from ~50hrs to 65+ and I am now managing a component of the organization which I had no previous experience with. We were both verbally promised compensation for the increased responsibility when the announcement was made, at the next board meeting, and in private by our executive direction, but 5 months later and I haven't seen a penny. I have to agree with some of the other posters who stated that the best way to get a raise is to find other employment. In my case, although it was promised and I am well aware I am very underpaid for my position and production, I'm not going to bring it up because I don't want to create some unnecessary tension in what is otherwise a great work environment. I enjoy my job and have no reason to leave other than I am very confident I could find better compensation elsewhere. I have been on both ends of this several times, as the one asking for and the one being asked for an increase; if you intend to ask for an increase you better have options.
Many people rely on and take advantage of other people's politeness and their avoidance of conflict. It appears that this is what is happening to you in this situation. Or, it may simply be that with the changes in management, they have simply forgotten the commitment.

However, I don't think it is the best thing to simply let it slide. I would suggest scheduling time with your manager - or take a portion of an existing one on one - and discuss the commitment. It is very easy to frame this in a non-confrontational way that also pushes for a definitive response to the question of (1) confirming what you were promised, and (2) defining a timeframe for when you will see the higher compensation. If you are currently underpaid and you have not been given any follow up on the promise for higher comp - then your managers may be simply taking you for granted and assume they can deploy their budgets (your salary) elsewhere. By showing a willingness to have a tough conversation, you may get your raise and you will definitely show that you do not shy from tough issues and hard conversations. That is of value to you and to them.
If I was that concerned about it, I would seek other offers so I had some ammo. I have no intention of leaving, so it isn't worth the possible negative implications. This is something the OP has to ask himself.

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wilpat
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by wilpat » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:34 pm

I believe that there is something seriously wrong with the way upper management is handling the situation.
It appears to me that you do not know how you stand with management. That would be a major failure of management.

Every employee should always know where they stand at all times. When it comes time for your performance review there should never be any surprises. If you are not performing well you should have been counseled about it well before the review. If you are performing well you should already know that management knows that also. Too many managers simply wait until performance review time to let their employees know how they (the manager) feel about the employees performance. If they had kept you informed, these questions you have would be much simpler to handle.

Having spent more than 40 years in variously levels of management (from 1st level to President) I am very much aware of how important it is for employees to know where they stand.
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kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:28 pm

Wilpat, were your comments directed towards me (OP) or to stoptothink?

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:01 pm

Hi all,

Another update on this front. The big boss from HQ is finally coming to visit my office later this week - to announce the new director I suppose. I requested time for special one on one with the big boss and have been granted my wish. People who have big boss's ear have informed me that he is aware of me doing more than my fair share.

It has been patience of many months. I wish to make the best of this opportunity. I have written down the following - a detailed list of accomplishments, new areas I could grow into, how I could add value to the company, positive feedback from colleagues and clients. I have also a researched a ball park for compensation that I think would reflect my additional work load.

I have prepared myself for the worst that I may be told that nothing can be done till next year. This has given me enough detachment from the issue that it won't wreck me emotionally but also has lit a fire in me that I am up for a challenge.

Any thoughts or tips or advice?

core5
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by core5 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:11 am

I wouldn't try the ultimatum approach. If you have a mind to leave the company, you might as well do it. If you stay for a higher offer, you've red-flagged yourself and someone who isn't content and has questionable loyalty. If there's a round of lay-offs you'll be at the top of the pile.

Of course this won't always be the case, but taking a counter offer from your company (unless you have a REALLY good relationship with your manager) invites too much risk, I think.

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:49 pm

I have another update. So I talked with the boss today. His verdict - yes, you did well, you deserve a raise, give me a month to work it out. Worst case it will be Jan.

I feel like my perseverance paid off. I no longer have to convince him that I deserve one. I still have to follow up to make it happen but it is a much smaller battle I hope.

The email I wrote in April did the trick.

Thank you all for your help and advice.

kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:26 pm

That was quick. Pay bump of 18%. Thank you all for your help. Much appreciated.

Key was building dialogue and documenting effort and results both.

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AustenNut
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by AustenNut » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:30 pm

Congratulations on the raise! I'm glad your perseverence paid off.

livesoft
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by livesoft » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:51 pm

Excellent! So when do you start working on the next pay raise?
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kd2008
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Re: Change in office environment

Post by kd2008 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:17 am

LOL! You are funny livesoft! I like to think that I am playing kids building blocks. So one block at a time. Just starting to build a foundation. I need to learn a few new skills first for the next level. Lets see what happens.

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