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Old 06-14-2012, 08:47 AM   #1
Ronald
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Default Asking For the Raise I Expected

Back in September, the owner told me in the interview for my current graphic artist job that within the first three months I would get a dollar raise each month ($3, making it a rate of $15/hr) if I did well and that if I didn't get the raises, I could speak with him and explain why I deserve them. Three months in I finally got a $1 raise and was told I'd get a $4,000 bonus, probably later in the year. My supervisor who's been here ten years, privately told me that she doesn't even make $15 and that the owner probably just had higher expectations for the company to afford raises eventually.

He's taking me to lunch today and I wonder if the raise issue would be worth bringing up. Obviously I can't talk about what my supervisor said, but the issue does frustrate me. I've done an exceptional job and I feel misled.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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I would be the wrong person to advise you as I've never been able to ask for a raise, even one I might have been promised. But I hope you did bring it up because it sounds to me as though you are more than entitled to it.

   
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Like Franca, I've never directly asked for a raise. But in certain situations, when I was confident I was worth one, I would pull certain tricks, such as asking the owner if he might be willing to give me a reference "should a better job come about". Then if you are good, he realizes that he has to pay more to keep you, and will. I got my salary raised about 25% over two years in this way back around the year 2000.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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Well, Ronald, business isn't business at all. It is subjugation, politicsm phsychology (more properly PsyOps, Pyschological Operations) and a pinch of nepotism as well. That's just how it is. If you chose to engage in the game, it helps to know the rules, Railing about them will not help, protesting their unfiarness will not help.

Business is also generally what is called a "zero sum game" that is, there's one pool of money, and if one party is going to get more of it, everyone else is going to get less of it.

So I would suggest that anyone engaging in business read "What Color is Your Parachute?" an ancient and venerable job-hunting book that has many insights on businesses, and then move on to a sometimes horriby boring diet of business books that your local reference librarian can help refer you to.

In specifics, what has happened in your employment?
Well, one possibility is that you were lied to. By your boss or her boss, it doesn't matter, they're on the same team and must be assumed to be playing together.
Yes, it is also possible that they cut back because times are bad. In which case, they could have had the honesty to approach you. Good managment WILL gather the troops and tell everyone "look, w'ere in a bit of a spot but we'll make it up to you" in order to keep up the moral. You managmentdidn't do that, and they didn't forecast their finances properly, so what does this tell you?
You're working for duffers, for the second string, and they'll never be a first-place winner. Either way it is time to do what some employees do EVERY week: Check out the classifieds. Discreetly but regularly, and if it takes a year, you still keep looking as a hobby and when you see something better--think about jumping ship.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Ronald, we see you've been at your past employer for only six months, why so littletime?" "Well Sir, they had a number of setbacks and I'd like to hitch my ride to a rising star."

Whether business is good or bad, whether they can afford more or not, that's all in the art of negotiation and that's a business skill your librarian can again help you with. It is BIG BUSINESS teaching people how to negotiate employment matters.

So accept what they tell you. Look around for confirmation of it (is the boss driving a new BMW?). Accept that business like is just like espoinage: Nothing is necessarily true. And no matter how happy you are, remember that someone has not delivered on what they promised you, which gives you perfectly good reason to cast your eyes about for something better.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groucho View Post
So accept what they tell you. Look around for confirmation of it (is the boss driving a new BMW?). Accept that business like is just like espoinage: Nothing is necessarily true. And no matter how happy you are, remember that someone has not delivered on what they promised you, which gives you perfectly good reason to cast your eyes about for something better.
Thank you, Groucho. And sorry I took so long to respond.

Well, with recently revelations and talks with my co-worker and close friend, the situation seems even more complex than I previously thought. I'm beginning to realize that my supervisor is even more paranoid and anxiety-ridden than I'd earlier perceived. She's in her 30s and doesn't even know how to drive a car because of her anxiety and has to be driven everywhere by her husband, my co-worker. She speaks very suspiciously of our co-workers--all of whom are nice level-headed people--talks bad about them, and has talked bad about me. So this place is basically her life and I wouldn't put it past her if she lied to me about her low wages and the encouragement to hold out on asking for a raise. She definitely wouldn't want me to excel past her husband, even though I'm far more talented and ambitious and am given more difficult assignments by her.

I don't think I can trust her, and as I said, I'm absolutely confident that she gives me the more difficult tasks (piecing together different graphics in the absence of a photo reference, revising old graphics, working from low-resolution references, and drawing very explicit or graphic images like genital diseases and wounds) and only gives her lazy husband the very basic, easy assignments where he essentially traces hi-res stock photos.

I'm going to have my second job performance evaluation in January which will be one year since being told I'd get a $4,000 bonus, which I never got. I want to show my boss (the owner) some difficult graphics I've created and explain in various other ways how I've innovated and raised the bar of our graphics library, which is all true. I'm going to mention both the lack of a $3 raise and bonus I was promised too. I want to frame it in a way that shows that I'm basically the top, most-relied upon illustrator without directly mentioning my co-worker by name.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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There are any people and places that con people in, exploit them, and then replace them when there's nothing left to suck dry. Assuming you "boss" is someone above your "supervisor" I'm sure he knows the whole story and is a part of it.

So you do the best you can, build your porfolio, and then leave for someplace better. Asking for that bonus? I wouldn't mention that before the evaluation, and no matter how glowing the evaluation is, I wouldn't count on getting it. It is always worth asking, but from what you say, unlikely to do anything except get you tagged as an uppity malcontent.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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There are any people and places that con people in, exploit them, and then replace them when there's nothing left to suck dry. Assuming you "boss" is someone above your "supervisor" I'm sure he knows the whole story and is a part of it.
You mean he knows that she acts so paranoid with me, like it's a conspiracy between the two? I don't think that's the case. He is a bit strange, I admit. He's an immigrant (if that makes any difference) and is sometimes strange to talk with. He speaks quickly and is hard to keep up with at times and makes very odd decisions. She acts suspicious of him probably partly because of this and because of her genuinely strong anxiety, but also to scare me I assume. Since this place is basically her life, and she's been here a decade, she seems to want to manipulate my perception of others as being untrustworthy to keep me from living up to my potential in the company hierarchy. My friend agreed with this. My supervisor is even close friends with a co-worker of ours and talks badly of him too. So I can't ignore how truly bizarre she is and just assume she's conspiring everything with our boss. She and her husband avoid nearly all employee-wide parties and lunches because of her shut-in personality.

Quote:
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Asking for that bonus? I wouldn't mention that before the evaluation, and no matter how glowing the evaluation is, I wouldn't count on getting it. It is always worth asking, but from what you say, unlikely to do anything except get you tagged as an uppity malcontent.
My supervisor evaluates, and then I will talk to the owner about my raise/bonus. I agree; I won't say a word to her about it before talking with the boss. But it is bullcrap to be told to your face that you'll get a $4,000 bonus with no delivery. He needs to explain himself.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Conspiracy? No, that would require actively conspiring and plotting. all that your shop requires, is one owner who likes doing business this way.

He needs to explain himself? Haven't you ever heard of the Golden Rule? He that has the gold, makes the rules? He doesn't need to explain himself to you. You don't like the terms, you're presumably in a "work at will" situation with no contract or other obligations to keep you from walking out. You're not entitled to an explanation from him. Or many other things.

That's the way it goes, everywhere. When you can afford to be more selective, you look for a better place to work.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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Conspiracy? No, that would require actively conspiring and plotting. all that your shop requires, is one owner who likes doing business this way.
My shop? Maybe there's a bit of confusion. I'm referring to my full-time office job, not the seasonal screen print jobs where I deal with a shady owner that wants to replace his longtime artist with me. Maybe your words still hold the same meaning either way, but I just thought I'd clarify. It sounds like you've dealt with some bad bosses.

Speaking of contracts, I did find it odd that, as far as I remember, I never signed anything regarding my employment there other than for insurance paperwork that came along months later. When I started there, I'm pretty sure I just came in the first day and started working.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ronald View Post

I want to show my boss (the owner) some difficult graphics I've created and explain in various other ways how I've innovated and raised the bar of our graphics library, which is all true. I'm going to mention both the lack of a $3 raise and bonus I was promised too. I want to frame it in a way that shows that I'm basically the top, most-relied upon illustrator without directly mentioning my co-worker by name.
There is no need to bring him into the picture. Just show him what you have done, and tell him about the things you can't show. If necessary point out that you are the only one who thought of x or is being asked to do y. Then ask about the bonus and raise. Keep it about you, and the value YOU bring to the business.

And, yes, you should definitely start looking around. Your manager sounds like an interesting character, to say the least, and not someone you can really trust. It could make your life quite difficult.
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