Salary Negotiations: Speak Up to Get Paid What You’re Worth

Salary Negotiation

I recently had my annual salary review with a wonderful new boss, who manages our team from afar. He’s 4,000 miles away, so the meeting had to be done remotely through Skype.

Just some background, the company that I worked for was bought by a much bigger company that’s headquartered in Europe a year ago. Since then, my role was reduced from a Tech Lead with big project responsibilities to a regular software developer working on a small piece of the pie. I’m relatively a new employee as far as his division is concerned.

To facilitate the meet, a small iPad had been set up in the middle of the big conference room with my boss’ lively face occupying the entire screen, which made the encounter very awkward and convenient at the same time— the iPad can be thrown into a nearby trash can if I didn’t get any raise, lmao!

Kidding aside, the meeting started with some small talk with my boss who also complimented me for my valuable contributions to the project.

Everything was cool until he uttered the following statement…

“Unfortunately, the company is currently undergoing some restructuring. Salary raises across the board is minimal this year.”

He then broke the not so good news, “Your current base pay is 120K. That will increase to 121K effective April… But we do have a bonus this year.”

It doesn’t take a genius to know that a sub 1% pay increase won’t even keep up with inflation, which averages at 3%. But being the polite person that I am, I thanked him for the raise.

Sensing that I’m not really happy, he added, “You started at the top of the pay grade.”

“Ummm… I’m actually on top of the pay grade for a reason,” I replied.

“Modesty aside, I was the one who led the design and implementation of the highly sought order management system. I also architected the underlying web security infrastructure. It was one of the reasons my old company was acquired last year,” I proudly added.

He then put me on hold for a minute which felt like an eternity.

Moments later, he responded, “I’ll definitely take note of that. We’ll see what the budget next fall looks like.”

Of course, I didn’t expect to get my desired raise on the spot. But I’m confident I will next time. I’m glad that I spoke up.

The thing is, you’re not paid by what you’re worth— only you know that. You’re paid what your company thinks you are worth. So one should clearly communicate one’s value to the company.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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