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Salary/Bonus Increase Lesson

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  • Dec 15th, 2017 6:41 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 11, 2017
36 posts
9 upvotes

Salary/Bonus Increase Lesson

With the end of the year approaching, I thought I'd share a little story of my experience with an xmas bonus/salary increase situation a few years ago...

Two years ago I led a multi million dollar 12 month project as an FTE for an organization. There was a lot of pressure on me as a similar project was launched a few months earlier and was a disaster. All eyes in the company and customer base were on this project. After completing the project, everyone in senior management was ecstatic with the results and happy with my performance. When bonus time came around I received a 6% bonus with an extra $1000 for a 'thank you'. (Based on the complexity of my work and scope/magnitude of the project) I was quite upset...but I said nothing. A month later my annual performance review was held and the VP I reported to said my performance was satisfactory and gave me a 1.1% salary increase for the new year. (That's below inflation and very insulting) Again, I said nothing. Inside I was fuming, but I've learned arguing would get me nowhere. It was quite clear I wasn't being appreciated and I was dealing with people who just didn't get it. A few months later I resigned to start my own practice. It was the best decision I made and I couldn't be happier but the sweetest moment for me was 12 months after I left, the company I had quit from reached out to me indirectly to 'see how I was doing'.

What I learned from this experience is, just as in life, everything requires balance. And when someone, or a job, does not treat you how you feel you deserve to be treated, don't settle. Don't limit your beliefs to accept the ordinary and let people tell you 'this is how much you are worth and you should be grateful'. No, I'm grateful to this lesson and indirectly thankful to my old boss; who's 1.1% salary increase made me realize it was time for a change.

I hope this little experience resonates with some of you who are feeling held back in your career.
Last edited by FedExpress on Dec 7th, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
9 replies
Newbie
Jan 3, 2017
35 posts
6 upvotes
Assuming your base salary at $200K @ 6% bonus + $1K = $13,000 bonus. That is insulting performance compensation considering the performance and results that was derived from your work. End of the day, your upper management were greedy and only cared about their own pockets. There is the saying, build your own dreams or build someone else's, pick your poison.
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2132 posts
357 upvotes
Toronto
Euro7r wrote:
Dec 7th, 2017 2:43 pm
Assuming your base salary at $200K @ 6% bonus + $1K = $13,000 bonus. That is insulting performance compensation considering the performance and results that was derived from your work. End of the day, your upper management were greedy and only cared about their own pockets. There is the saying, build your own dreams or build someone else's, pick your poison.
+1.

If you stick along with it, you'll pretty much be doing yourself a disservice. If you won't even treat yourself right, why should your boss treat you any different.
Jr. Member
Jul 1, 2017
103 posts
48 upvotes
I had a very similar situation.

I was grossly underpaid in my previous role, but my boss kept assuring me correction would occur. I had stellar performance; flown all over the country for work, and when it came time to discuss advancement - I was told to relocate into the Bush for an 80% increase or stop asking. 80% was definitely not insulting - but the role and location for what I brought to the table seemed completely insane.

I put my resume out there in anger and landed an upper management role with a 30-40% increase. Couldn't have been happier; as spite, I gave a good month notice and left with about $15k in wages/overtime/vacation. You could say, I got the best of both worlds.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2008
759 posts
134 upvotes
Markham
FedExpress wrote:
Dec 7th, 2017 1:57 pm
With the end of the year approaching, I thought I'd share a little story of my experience with an xmas bonus/salary increase situation a few years ago...

Two years ago I led a multi million dollar 12 month project as an FTE for an organization. There was a lot of pressure on me as a similar project was launched a few months earlier and was a disaster. All eyes in the company and customer base were on this project. After completing the project, everyone in senior management was ecstatic with the results and happy with my performance. When bonus time came around I received a 6% bonus with an extra $1000 for a 'thank you'. (Based on the complexity of my work and scope/magnitude of the project) I was quite upset...but I said nothing. A month later my annual performance review was held and the VP I reported to said I my performance was satisfactory and gave me a 1.1% salary increase for the new year. (That's below inflation and very insulting) Again, I said nothing. Inside I was fuming, but I've learned arguing would get me nowhere. It was quite clear I wasn't being appreciated and I was dealing with people who just didn't get it. A few months later I resigned to start my own practice. It was the best decision I made and I couldn't be happier but the sweetest moment for me was 12 months after I left, the company I had quit from reached out to me indirectly to 'see how I was doing'.

What I learned from this experience is, just as in life, everything requires balance. And when someone, or a job, does not treat you how you feel you deserve to be treated, don't settle. Don't limit your beliefs to accept the ordinary and let people tell you 'this is how much you are worth and you should be grateful'. No, I'm grateful to this lesson and indirectly thankful to my old boss; who's 1.1% salary increase made me realize it was time for a change.

I hope this little experience resonates with some of you who are feeling held back in your career.
I have the opposite problem of being promoted and given a salary increase I don't think I deserve, but the problem remains - lack of respect - for you it was a lack of respect to the work quality you provided for your employer, for me its my employer constantly throwing garbage at me and thinking money will solve all their issues.

Some employers simply don't get it, employment is a two-way street, especially if your employees have options outside the company. They either don't listen or their heads are stuck up their asses, I totally get you, trying to reason with them is futile, simply move on and forward.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13221 posts
682 upvotes
Don't know how many of you have worked on salary and bonus allocation. For many of us, it is not an easy task.

Is the bonus structure clearly defined with SMART goals--either personal, corporate or both? If not, that is on the employee as much as it is with the employer.

The actual calculation can be a challenge as well. As a Canadian organization, we are allocated X dollars from the international HQ for bonuses. Once the metrics are calculated, once performance reviews are done, a "recommended" value is determined...we can increase or decrease; however, when it is rolled up we may be forced as a country, as a business unit, as a department, as a manager be asked to make changes up or down. Essentially the pot is only X...we cannot change that.

Same is true for annual increases. Anyway, a Satisfactory is just that satisfactory. For us, last year, that mean Inflation (1.4) plus or minus .4% depending on a number of factors.
Deal Addict
Sep 23, 2007
4222 posts
715 upvotes
I like what the OP wrote. His writing shows a high degree of self-responsibility. Far too many people don't get what they want and blame other people. The OP has recognized the limitations of relying on others and took action to advance himself. Bravo. It's the company's loss that they couldn't keep you. You owe it to yourself to do your best. The fact that you can start a consulting firm means you truly have the ability. Lots of people merely "perceive" themselves to be capable and externalize blame.

Absolutely upper management will always have an incentive to pocket more for themselves and pat themselves on the back. They want to give just enough to the lower level to keep them satisfied. Chances are good if you are in their position, you would do the same. If you are afraid of doing more and not get rewarded for it, then either don't do it or negotiate the bonus with specifics. If they don't want to negotiate, then either do it and get a good reference, or just don't bother.

Now, a lot of companies have "defined" compensation plans with limited room to negotiate. That's just the nature of working for someone else instead of being your own boss.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 11, 2017
36 posts
9 upvotes
I'm happy to see that my experience resonated with some of you.

We live in a free society where organizations compete against each other for perceived value of 'in demand' skills/knowledge/talent. When I was provided the results of my bonus/increase I remember thinking my former employer could be employing game theory on me and forcing me into a perceived negative situation should I object to their offering. Then I quickly realized I was giving my former boss way to much intellectual credit. It's possible; they may have believed I wouldn't leave; or that I enjoyed the job so much that I would accept this type of behavior from them. In the end I stuck to my principals & values, and everyday I look in the mirror I can say I didn't compromise myself or my values to work for an organization/leadership team that was not treating me the way I felt I was deserved.

From this experience I learned it is very rare to find individuals in your career that will really look out for your interests genuinely. You must look out for yourself. Don't depend on your employer/manager to try and progress your career for you, or provide you training that will make you more skilled or help you advance your career 5 years from now. Make no mistake about it - If you want to truly advance yourself you must realize the laws of Darwinism are prevalent in the corporate world.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 9, 2003
23410 posts
1107 upvotes
Markham, ON
I think regardless of the bonus or wage increase, you would have likely started your own business. Anyone that is serious about starting a business will start one regardless of whether there is a trigger.
Member
Oct 14, 2015
219 posts
73 upvotes
Markham, ON
I'm surprised you were treated so poorly OP... from the scope of your project, it would likely I assume be a big national or multinational and from my experience working for them in past and friends, they maybe stingy but nothing as insulting as a 1% bonus. Anything less than double digits when the results were met with appreciation is quite frankly sign to leave

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