I either need to get a raise or a new job. Help me think of strategies.
August 27, 2009 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I have a job. That job isn't what I stayed in town for and doesn't exactly pay the bills either. I'm looking for tips in finding a new one and maybe keeping it a secret from the current employer for as long as possible.

I've set this up as anonymous just in case anyone at the current job sees it. I'll be watching the thread and will send replies as needed, but hopefully I won't need to do that. But in advance, I'm sorry for some of the vagueness that's about to ensue (the current job knows that I've done some of this in the past) and what might amount to unneeded information.

I was promised a job in the private sector (with Alpha) for around $25,000 a year and was very happy to get that due to my lack of formal experience in the area. When I got back from a trip I didn't hear anything from the employer for a while (which in hindsight I should have seen as a big red flag). Right before the job was set to start I was told that the best they could do for me was an hourly thing that nets about $150 a week before taxes (assuming I'm there for the entire time) and is in the mid afternoon running into the early evening (which knocks out a fair amount of other jobs I could have at the same time). I signed the contract knowing that, assuming my wife would be able to find something. She hasn't yet, is waiting less than a week for some expected industry openings, and if nothing comes from that has said she's willing to get anything that pays and is legal.

The boss at my current job mentioned a few ideas for getting me more hours (coming in earlier to help with other things, coming in a lot earlier to help then leave and come back, and running some personal errands that have nothing to do with the job itself). It looks like none of these is going to happen. Which especially sucks for the personal errands because the way it was mentioned really made it seem like it was something that was going to happen (and would have amounted essentially to another hour per day as far as pay goes). The boss has also said that I have the first opportunity at any jobs that arise due to a growth in clientèle, but at this point I'm worried that either that won't happen or the boss won't follow through.

So onto the question. Do you have any tips for trying to find a job while keeping the current one as long as possible and not letting the boss know I'm looking for something else?

I have a meeting with someone in an organization (Beta) I've done and am currently doing creative work on a freelance basis where I plan on trying to make that a more permanent position. I've also been asked to do some of that same creative work for a group (Gamma) that used to be able to pay me but is not able to anymore (due to the rules they have set up about who can get paid, not due to their lack of money) and we have agreed to look into the possibility of either finding a way around those rules or to get me hired by an organization (Delta) that they work closely with. It is technically possible for me to regain the proper status to be officially paid by Gamma, but the actual chance of that happening is about as close to zero as statistics let you get.

I'm also looking into the idea of asking a group (Epsilon) who is part funder and helps run Alpha if they can find any work for me in their organization. However, I wonder about this since there's a strong possibility that they'll ask the boss at Alpha why I'm having to go to them in order to find enough money to live. Would that be a bad move?

Some things I'm planning on doing are:

- Not saying a thing to Alpha until I have something else lined up.

- Meeting with Gamma on Sunday, which should have minimal interference with Alpha anyway

- Possibly mentioning to Alpha that I can't stay on in my current situation and I am thinking about trying to find something else. As far as I can tell they love having me there and losing me wouldn't be a good thing at all. Plus it's the kind of job they have to have someone in, even if it's just a fill in until they find a more permanent replacement.

- If nothing good comes out of all of these meetings with people, I'm not going to turn down a job that pays. These are just my first choice.

So in short, what tips do you have in convincing the current boss to get me more money and what tips do you have for keeping my job search a relative secret from the current boss (if things need to go that far)?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Well, if my current unemployment status has given my any insight this is it.

Do as much as possible to prepare for your job hunt while still employed. Contact recruiters in your field, find the relevant job boards, apply for the ones you really want.

Should you get an interview, tell your boss you need to do chores ( DMV, Dentist, Vet, Child Care if pressed, have cute picture ready). Here, to lie is the best course of action.

Your job is getting a steal. Your life, 40 hours of it, for a pittance of the money you make them. The only reason people stay in jobs is for financial security (and to fill their time). This financial security is based on ONE BIG LIE, namely that we can't feed / clothe / shelter ourselves without a job. Hard not to believe isn't it. But I think the big lie justifies the little fib above.

If you want a raise, all the conversations leading to raises I've ever gotten started with the phrase "Would this be a good time to discuss my compensation?". Just leave out the " and the lack thereof. " part... :)

Oh, don't use your current employer as a reference. That's just common sense.
posted by emptyinside at 7:19 PM on August 27, 2009

You don't need to tell your current employer anything. If you can't work certain days, come up with some personal errands or medical appointments. It's best *not* to tell your current employer you are looking for work elsewhere.

It's also totally reasonable to look for another job in this situation. I'd be surprised if your boss is surprised you want more hours.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:20 AM on August 28, 2009

Meet with Gamma, don't mention anything to Alpha and do not meet with Epsilon.
If you really are interested in Epsilon, is it possible to ask you boss if Epsilon could use you on occasion?

Honestly, there's no reason to mention your job hunt to your current company. I know it can feel a bit like cheating, but they may see it as you not interested in your job, which could lead to you leaving Alpha before you're ready (or willing).
posted by caveat at 6:59 AM on August 28, 2009

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