Wednesday, October 25, 2006


So I got my first pay raise yesterday. You would think I would be more excited. Well, it's amazing the difference in mood 0.3% can make. See, I had heard that the standard pay raise was 3.5% a year. This really isn't a raise anyway, it's a cost of living increase, but at least it's something. And considering that I got above average on my annual review a couple months ago, I fully expected to get my 3.5% - given all the bull about this being a "performance increase", hadn't I performed?

Evidently not. I got my letter yesterday and it says that I am getting 3.2%, raising me less than $1000 a year. I realize that the difference between 3.2% and 3.5% is maybe a hundred dollars per year, but it really is a big deal considering that I've done better than could be expected, and the entire medical center itself is turning a profit.

I just feel very devalued. It's pretty obvious from the way that my coworkers and I are treated that we are just peons compared to the surgeons, but now I pretty much have no morale. To top it off, the letter was sent by a department head that I've never heard of, not my own HR person, and is dated October 11th.

The last paragraph: A key priority for the University and Medical Center is attracting and retaining a talented work force. To become a high performance organization and workplace of choice, we must continue to focus on achiving the compensation goals outlined in the University's Academic Plan.

I was talking with a coworker about this the other day - that while our division seems to want to get the best people, they want to still be able to treat them like they have nowhere else to go and should be glad for their job. In my job there is really no advancement, no way to take on more responsibility or heaven forbid get your name on anything, and certainly they are not going to raise your pay.

Sorry for not writing something happier. I pretty much just want to go home and sleep and wake up having a new job.


Trent said...

It seems to me that you need to work hard to make a name for yourself outside of your current job. A good way to do this is to get involved in local politics or join a civic organization. If you try this in earnest, you'll be shocked at how many connections you can quickly make - and a great opportunity might just jump right out in front of you.

Any time that you're unhappy with your current job, it's time to start looking for another one. If employers show little loyalty to you, why should you show loyalty to them?

mapgirl said...

Hi Kira,
I feel your pain. I used to work at UC Berkeley and at Wharton. I never stuck around for the measly pay raises. The private sector is better, but not by much. The only way to get what you are worth is to periodically switch employers. Sticking around and being a company man doesn't get you much in the long run. But I can't speak for the healthcare field in which you work. Seems like that operates differently. From what I've read about your job, it sounds like it's partly a labor of love.

Good luck!

More Bread said...

Work is unfortunately a part of life. The most we can hope for is a job that engages, fulfills, energizes, inspires and impassions us. No job can be these things all the time (mine rarely is) but it's that one time when it is something special that we justify putting up with the low pay, bad bosses, and other crap. Hopefully, for you, your job is these things. If all you cared about was money, then you'd immediately quit and get a new one.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

There's a huge difference between a cost-of-living adjustment and a merit increase and companies don't seem to understand that blending the two concepts to = your pay raise simply hurts morale.

If they work the way my previous employer did, they'd choose the people they HAVE to retain and give them the full raise but try to give everyone else partial raises so that they all feel like they got something. In the end, pretty much no one is happy.

Job hunting again, anyone?

HC said...

I'm sorry; that really is bad for morale.

I think mapgirl may be right about having to switch employers to really see a pay increase (or, in your case, more responsibility).

Maybe it might be worth sitting down with your own HR person and raising your concerns in a "I want to do the best that I can for the company; what could I improve for next year?" kind of way.

Either way, I hope tomorrow is better.

Lazy Man and Money said...

I feel your pain. I took a 25% pay cut to work at a start-up comany - with the agreement that it was on a trial basis. When the time came for the trial to be over, I got superlatives in every area, new responsibilies (head of a small department) and an 8% raise. I plugged everything into and with the raise, I was able to be in the bottom five percent (I had to continue their curve) in my profession in my area.

I'm with a new job now, and I'm closer to 30-40% (I think, I need to look it up). I feel a lot better now, but I think I will look to do better before too long. I'm just not sure how long is an appropriate time to start to look.

prlinkbiz said...

Girl, as long as you have a job you will not be in control of how much you make. Time to ramp up your side businesses until you can leave your job and not look back! Or become more aggressive in your investing. What's the freedom of choice worth to you?

Ken said...

Even people who get healthy raises are stuck in the same cycle. When you think about it, does a 8% raise once a year really change your lifestyle? Will it make that big difference? There's always wait until next year... but next year comes and you get another $3k or $5k, but you're still living the same life.

Penny Nickel said...

I'm sorry-- that sounds frustrating. Have you and your coworkers thought about forming a union? Lack of respect for you guys, no clear path for advancement, unpredictable raises, and getting stingy raises when your employer is making a profit... just shouts out "we need a union!" to me. (Although I may be biased; I love my union.)

Especially if you have other job possibilities, just leaving may be easier. But unions are a great way to "mend rather than end" a bad job, and a lot of people don't think about it.

Good luck either way!

mOOm said...

My last raise was 1.5% after getting a strong/outstanding report. This was pretty demoralizing. I also work for a university. The only way to get a decent pay raise is to get an offer of another job. Then if they want to keep you they will make a higher offer. It's silly one has to play those games, but that's the way they work.

Adventures In Money Making said...

you need to start looking for a new job pronto.