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May 23, 2011 4:04 PM   Subscribe

My boss wants to fly me from Sydney to Perth to assist in training new employees. Should I ask "What's in it for me?"

He told me they'd pay for flights, accomodation and expenses. I tentatively agreed. My wife thinks that they are milking me, and that I should ask for either a pay rise or some sort of bonus incentive to perform the task.

Question part 1) Is it unreasonable for me to ask for some sort of bonus to do this work?

Question part 2) My wife thinks that this is all stems from my issues of self-worth. I am far too eager to please people, and I don't often think for myself in these situations. While not such a terrible character trait to possess on paper, in actuality it often ends up with me agreeing to perform favours for friends or colleagues without thinking about how it is putting me out. Bottom line is that I end up feeling manipulted and exploited and don't often realise until long after the fact. But the thing is that I like helping people. I was raised that way. What can I do to improve my sense of self, my self esteem, confidence etc?
posted by robotot to Work & Money (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are they paying you a salary or hourly wage? Will you be traveling during the hours you would normally be working for them? And they are paying for the flights, accommodation, and expenses?

Then no, don't ask for a salary bump. You're not actually doing them a favor. You are doing work for your employer that you are getting paid to do, and they are covering all your expenses.

If the training is a little more protracted or difficult than you've mentioned - two week stints in the desert around Alice Springs and you only get to fly back to see your wife every two weeks, then yes, something more is called for. But otherwise no.
posted by arnicae at 4:08 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, is this your job? Do other people doing similar work at this company do things like this?

Very often, being trusted to travel for work is a good sign.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:09 PM on May 23, 2011


It sounds to me like your employer is making a totally reasonable and standard request of you. Asking for something in return sounds really petty to me, to be honest. If travel starts adding up down the road, then perhaps you can renegotiate your position and compensation.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:10 PM on May 23, 2011


agreed with arnicae—if they are paying for all of your travel expenses and you will be traveling for a reasonable amount of time, then what is in it for you is that you have a job and get to keep it. the fact that they would put this amount of expense into you is also a sign of confidence—and a good negotiating point down the line if you are given more work above and beyond your position.
posted by violetk at 4:13 PM on May 23, 2011


The demonstrated confidence in your ability that they are showing is what you're getting out of it, in addition to a trip to another place and the chance to directly network with people in the other location.

It would be absurd to demand more money or benefits on top of that. Most people regard those types of training trips as a neat little perk, not a detriment.
posted by winna at 4:19 PM on May 23, 2011


It is unreasonable to ask for a bonus. They trust you. They want to have you do this job. Take it gladly.

Self esteem building is another issue that I can't address properly.
posted by JayRwv at 4:19 PM on May 23, 2011


You can ask for a nice hotel, and you should find out what the payment arrangements are, so that you don't end up paying for it with your credit card and waiting 3 months to get reimbursed. Ask what the meal limits are, if any; you don't want to be stuck eating at Burger King because they only give 17.50 / day. Will you need a rental car? If you fly, you usually get to keep any frequent flier miles.

I think the question should be not so much "What's in it for me?" because it's your job, but "Is there a hidden drawback?" I don't see any, really.
posted by theora55 at 4:20 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was about to bring up frequent flyer miles. They almost always accrue to the employee, not the company. So depending on how often you make these trips, you may end up with some free airline tickets that you can use for a personal trip down the line.
posted by kimdog at 4:22 PM on May 23, 2011


It actually sounds to me as though your employer is offering you the chance to show that you're ready for more and better responsibilities. I would absolutely do this happily and without making any requests beyond the very reasonable expense reimbursement they've already offered. Then, at my next annual review or the next time a position comes open, I'd ask for a promotion, citing the great job I did on the training gig. This is your chance to prove that you are ready for bigger and better things.
posted by decathecting at 4:22 PM on May 23, 2011


If this is a one time task, or a quarterly task, or something like that, yeah, it's usually considered a perk to get away from the office and see a new place, all expenses paid. I would definitely not ask for a raise. Do make sure you understand the reimbursement procedure, what you can have on your receipts, if you even have to save receipts, etc.

If you will now be traveling, say, every other week, and you really hate traveling, you might mention a slight raise at your yearly review, citing the excellent work you've been doing with the training and the added demands on your time that the traveling has taken.
posted by wending my way at 4:25 PM on May 23, 2011


But the thing is that I like helping people. I was raised that way. What can I do to improve my sense of self, my self esteem, confidence etc?

One thing I have been trying to do is say "let me think about it" or "that sounds like a good idea I'll let you know if I can help out" instead of saying yes to requests. That stops my first "yes of course!" instinct until I can think about what I really want to do.

I once honestly said "for some reason that date sticks out but I can't remember why, I'll have to look at the calendar" and the person said "that's ok, otherdude can do it." So now I say that even if I know there's nothing on the calendar. I've learned that people aren't asking me because they need me, they're asking me because I say yes. So I don't have to say yes.

It's actually a weird low-self-esteem/arrogance combo thing going on -- you have LSE so you think you have to do things for people for them to like you, but you also think that if you don't do these things, nobody else will and they won't get done. So you feel necessary because you're "helping" other people, but they don't really need your help, they just want something done and it doesn't matter who does it.

As for the work, I wouldn't expect extra pay but I'd certainly want to discuss the success of the training at my next performance review.
posted by headnsouth at 4:26 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you salaried or hourly wage? If hourly are you getting paid for all of your hours you are away? Have you traveled for this job previously? If not, did they mention that they may need you to travel some time in the future?
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:29 PM on May 23, 2011


By itself, an assignment that involves travel isn't something that justifies a bonus, unless there is something really onerous about the task that you haven't mentioned. But, if you feel that you're underpaid generally, and this assignment is important, then maybe it could be an opportunity to discuss your compensation, using this assignment as a example of the value you're bringing to the organization.
posted by blue mustard at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2011


Is this a favor, or is it your job? What's in it for you is doing your job, thereby keeping your employer happy and keeping your job.

I would want to find out details about your reimbursement policy for sure. But if this isn't "go live in Antarctica for three years," and it's just a brief travel trip to do some training for your employer, I don't see what makes it such a big deal - and I think you need it to be something more before you're justified in asking for a bonus or raise based on it.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:42 PM on May 23, 2011


I love getting asked to do stuff like this - look at it as a break from the day to day, something different to look forward to. I think most people would see this as a perk of sorts and as others have mentioned, a sign of their faith/trust in you as an employee.
posted by cecic at 4:46 PM on May 23, 2011


"Something extra" because you took a trip to do some training is a little over the line for me. Granted, I'm an American, so I have no idea how far it is from Sydney to Perth ;-) but unless you're going to be gone for a month, this sounds more like an opportunity for future benefit - more responsibility, a promotion, etc.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 4:46 PM on May 23, 2011


I travel frequently for work, and get an extra 'hardship allowance' because they recognise that I'm away from home a lot of the time (which is fine by me, because I'm young and single and yay travel!). How often are they expecting you to do this? If it's a sporadic thing, then I think it's part of your job and it sounds like they're taking care of you. If you're to be spending so much time there that it detracts from your life in Sydney (regularly missing personal events, being away from your wife, etc) then I think it's not unreasonable to ask that your salary reflect the added time away.
posted by twirlypen at 4:56 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am honestly baffled as to how, under the circumstances you describe, you think that agreeing to do this is somehow indicative of your poor self-esteem or an unfortunate need to please people. And the statement "My wife thinks that they are milking me, and that I should ask for either a pay rise or some sort of bonus incentive to perform the task" seems genuinely bizarre to me.

Is there something significant you are leaving out of the story here -- e.g., is this an extremely difficult, time-consuming, and/or unpleasant task? Do you already work unpaid overtime, or have you been passed over for a promotion? Are they asking you to do it once, or will this be a repeat assignment that will regularly take away personal time?
posted by scody at 5:15 PM on May 23, 2011


Here's a few more factors that may help clarify my position:

1 - I am on salary. I have been with the company for almost 7 years, so have a thorough understanding of how it all works etc.

2 - I have recently finished my Dip Ed - and am now a qualified secondary school English teacher. My boss has been very good in giving me time off to complete my studies over the last few years. I have not found a job in this field yet. I have told my boss that I am lookng for work, and he is trying to keep me around fo as long as possible, hinted at possible promotions etc.

3 - Flying to Perth to train new employees is part of a new position/promotion he has in mind for me. I've asked him if it comes with a pay rise, but he was a bity vague as to how much and when it would come into effect.
posted by robotot at 5:49 PM on May 23, 2011


robotot: "3 - Flying to Perth to train new employees is part of a new position/promotion he has in mind for me. I've asked him if it comes with a pay rise, but he was a bity vague as to how much and when it would come into effect."

Your boss sounds like he's on your side and looking out for your interests in the company personally. I'd happily perform as asked and thank him for the opportunity. It's expected he'd be cagey about compensation for a position that hasn't been fully worked out/cleared by HR, so don't read too much into that unless he's been manipulative with vague rewards in the past.
posted by gilrain at 6:35 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


2 - I have recently finished my Dip Ed - and am now a qualified secondary school English teacher. My boss has been very good in giving me time off to complete my studies over the last few years. I have not found a job in this field yet. I have told my boss that I am lookng for work, and he is trying to keep me around fo as long as possible, hinted at possible promotions etc.

In light of this I would thank him for the opportunity to train others, as the experience will surely help you as you transition into your new career as a teacher. Really, he knows you're looking for another job and he's been generous with supporting your education even though it's no benefit to your company or to him. I should think you'd be very grateful indeed.
posted by headnsouth at 6:39 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your wife is being unreasonable. It sounds like your boss trusts you and is looking out for you - I would not ask for a raise or bonus especially since you say your boss views this as a promotion and it may come with a pay raise further down the line (perhaps after you prove yourself to be good at it). And yes, agree with headnsouth that perhaps he is trying to help you by preparing you to be a teacher.
posted by echo0720 at 7:54 PM on May 23, 2011


I think the only symptom of low self-esteem you're showing here is letting your wife's opinion about this get to you. She's wrong, you're right to agree to go on this trip, and it's not indicative of a character flaw on your part.

In general, if you're agreeing to things that you don't want to do, then that's a problem, but don't overcompensate by refusing to do things you're happy to do; your reputation will quickly shift from "pushover" to "asshole," which is a counterproductive move at best in both professional and personal situations. Sounds like you're happy to help, which is good, and it sounds like your boss recognizes it, values you as an employee, and is appropriately trying to reward you, which is better. No problems here.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:15 PM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Should I ask "What's in it for me?"

Now? No. When it comes time to review your performance? Yes, though obviously not using those words.

Try to catch the train to Freo one night and check out Little Creatures.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:17 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think your wife is being unreasonable in expecting you to demand a bonus of some kind for this. I can't see how it could be construed as "milking" you unless they are expecting you to work out of regular hours, or expecting you to carry out work for which you're untrained or unqualified (ie, using you instead of a more expensive employee or external trainer).

I fly interstate for work sometimes myself, as do many colleagues and friends. None of them would think it was reasonable to expect a bonus for it. I do feel for you if you genuinely don't want to do this - I was raised to please others first myself, and understand the feelings associated with that - but it sounds as if you didn't seriously start questioning this trip until your wife suggested you should get something extra out of it.
posted by andraste at 5:51 AM on May 24, 2011


It sounds like your boss is being completely reasonable and is maybe even looking out for your career. Being a somewhat geographically challenged American, I had to google it - Sydney to Perth is roughly equivalent to New York to LA. My husband traveled to Japan (from the Eastern US), which is MUCH bigger in terms of the hassle (jet lag, language barrier, unfamiliar foods, etc.). His company paid expenses, but he did not receive any kind of bonus or raise just for taking a trip. It never would have occurred to either one of us to ask for such a thing - they needed him to travel to Japan for his job, so he went. In fact, it was a very good sign that they trusted him to travel internationally to supervise testing being performed by a vendor. Trusting you to travel across the country to train other employees seems like a similarly good sign.

This is a bit off your question, but when this happens: Bottom line is that I end up feeling manipulted and exploited and don't often realise until long after the fact. Is it your wife that helps you "realise" that you feel that way? I'm just wondering if there is a pattern represented by this interaction. You agree to do something, and your wife interprets it as exploitive, and then you feel bad.
posted by jeoc at 6:30 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm, travelling is not normally something people get a bonus for - check your organisation's travel policy, there may be some kind of allowances but then there may not be.

And most job descriptions contain something along the lines of "any other reasonable requests". So being asked to travel for a couple of weeks is not normally unreasonable, nor is being asked to facilitate training.

And yes, a lot of people like to do that kind of thing because it makes work more interesting - I certainly do. So not sure where your wife is coming from but she sounds pretty unreasonable to me.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:42 AM on May 24, 2011


Thanks everyone.

I'm heading to Perth on Monday.

Wife can be unreasonable at times. Last night she told me that bottom line is she will be lonely, and doesn't like being alone at night - what if burglars, yaddayadda. She has also never worked in a corporate office environemnt, so has no real gauge as to what is a reasonable request and what isn't. Which is why I had to ask the questio here, as personally I find it reasonable for my boss to ask this of me, and when confronted with her objections I found myself questioning the situation, as I value her opinion and guidance.

Thanks to everyone for helping me out on this one. You all get marked as best answer!

Also, FWIW, my work is providing me with an expense account, so I will be quite nicely looked after while I'm over there.
posted by robotot at 5:35 PM on May 25, 2011


Be sure to bring her back some cool stuff from Perth :) And maybe put a nice card in the mail to her just before you leave so she receives it a day or so after you go. And text her pictures of Perth as you go out for lunch or out & about after hours. Little things mean a lot.
posted by headnsouth at 5:46 PM on May 25, 2011


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