Annual raises were handed out recently. Mine was a lackluster 2.7% even though my review ratings are always superior. The conversation with my boss as she told me was interesting and disconcerting.
She said the company wasn’t doing as well as expected. I knew that. The pandemic has caught up with our sale pipeline, but this is a short term issue. The company is very stable and looking at acquiring others, so that doesn’t fly.
I mentioned in passing about simply wanting to keep up with inflation and that kind of set her off. Interesting. I think that is how they calculated my raise – simply a cost of living raise, but she didn’t want to admit it and probably felt like I called her out on it.
She began comparing me to the other woman in my department and how she has people who report to her and I don’t. She pointed out that the other woman was very busy. My boss has noticed that I have spare time. I mildly said that my colleague’s role was very different than mine. I went on to say that I was hired to be a subject matter expert and I had a vastly different skill set from my colleague.
My boss twice told me in this conversation that my colleague made $15k a year less than me. She repeatedly said that my colleague was vastly underpaid. Not my problem. She claims the CEO blocks her from bringing my colleague to a market salary. Once again, not my problem and why the hell is she telling me this? Both times I mildly pointed out that my position requires a specific expertise that my colleague doesn’t have. She said the CEO didn’t want to pay xx which is $15k more than I earn. That he could simply hire someone for less. I refused to engage on that.
She also mentioned that another person who reports to her also got a paltry raise. I am not surprised. He is a subject matter expert also. Neither one of us have any upward mobility in our careers at this company.
Fascinating. She was defensive the entire conversation, even when I told her that I was thankful for the raise. I didn’t gush, but I was sincerely appreciative (perhaps a bit underwhelmed) for the extra $100 a paycheck (before taxes). She mentioned that it would increase their 401k contribution ($70 annually as I later calculated). She also mentioned that senior leadership has not had a pay increase in two years due to the pandemic. That is the price you pay when you have stock in the company and run with the big dogs. I have zero empathy for them.
The whole conversation left a bad, disgruntled taste in my mouth. My boss does not handle these conversations well. She was defensive although I wasn’t even upset. I simply maintained my position that my role is truly unique and cannot be compared to anyone else.
My boss has the bad habit of pigeonholing people and stifles any opportunity for them to grow. She doesn’t like any competition. She refuses to let me have any one-on-one interactions with the CEO. I prep her for all of her meetings concerning my subject matter including preparation of the actual presentation. I don’t mind – I have just made it part of my job.
For the past two years, the company was paying for my membership to a professional organization for me. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but I went with it so I could have it on my resume. However, this year during my review, she said if I wanted to attend any meetings during business hours, I would have to use my time off. What the fuck is the point of that? I haven’t bothered renewing it. It is not the organization I want AND I can’t go to meetings? Forget it.
The impulsive side of me says go look for a new job. The cautious side says, just ride the ride and collect the paycheck. I know that at age 57, it will be very hard for me to find a new job. I pulled out my copy of “55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal” by Elizabeth White. I need to re-read it and remember that I am fortunate to have a good job, albeit with a crazy boss.
I looked at my retirement account today. If I can simply stay the course until 67, I will have an ample retirement. A decade of this bullshit. Maybe less, but probably at least four more years. I am beginning my third year here. I am not sure I can do it. I like all the other people in the company and oftentimes I like her, but she is crazy and I really don’t want toxic people in my life.
I need to think about this some more. The longer I stay, the more my expertise will be dismissed and negated by my boss. Plus the longer I stay the harder it will be to find another job. However, I don’t think my timeline at this company is a decade. As I have mentioned before, I think the company will sell before then. At that time, my job will probably be eliminated. Is it worth waiting? I need to think about that also.
This is a conundrum that I cannot discuss with anyone except here. I don’t trust anyone at work enough to unpack this. My bestie works in HR, so I don’t want to put her in an awkward position. The other subject matter expert is a weasel. I don’t like or trust him at all. My colleague is out of the question.
Pardon me, I will be doing some deep thinking over the coming days….