Equal Pay Day: How NOT to get a raise

NCPElogo.jpgEqual Pay Day: How NOT to Get a Raise

Today is Equal Pay Day. Woo-hoo. On average, women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn working full-time. Not much to celebrate.

I received a note from my BFF Melita a while ago, in response to my blogpost on “The Top 10 Unwritten Rules That Could Sabotage Your Career.” I have been saving it for this occasion, because it’s an instructive and cautionary tale for all of us:

The ‘Rules‘ essay reminds me that I waited for a raise and a promotion, anticipating that hard work would produce them. Competition for available money within a department is always an issue, but when another woman who wasn’t nearly as good as I am received a raise and a promotion, I was shocked. Well, I shot off an email to my boss and her boss saying:


“I am very frustrated and discouraged by the announcement of the latest promotions. Now that I will be with this group five years in April, what more do I have to do to get promoted to Principal Labeling Coordinator? I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my options.”

It worked — I got my raise and a promotion. But it lacked the elation that I got less than three years later when I got another raise and a promotion without asking for it. In my case, I see your rules 5, 7, and 8 in play here!! Very interesting.

But there’s MORE! I heard from BFF Melita again within a matter of days of that first email:

Now here’s the topper! Just yesterday I was called into the office and told that our company is doing a salary evaluation versus the industry standards for all positions in the company and making appropriate adjustments. Well, I got another raise. Within two months I got a total of a 13% salary increase. While I really appreciate the raises and know these are difficult financial times, I also must come to grips with having been underpaid for years. Many of my colleagues also got this “adjustment.” I’m sure that they, like I, feel that this is a good company, we like our jobs, and we’ve all worked really well together for years.

So, it comes down to priorities and knowing when to speak up or look outward. Bottom line, I learned not to wait five years to promote myself in a firm manner. But I do indeed work with good people who are now getting duly compensated by a good company. I’ll stick around, continue to work hard, enjoy the paychecks, and keep my own eye on the industry standards!

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