where did that number come from?
March 12, 2015 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Is $33,000 - $36,000 too low a salary for what I am doing?

Speed read: Legal alien, taken on for full time admin job where I was subsequently named bid manager. Earning $33,000 for the unrelated original admin job with a raise agreed in writing to $36,000 in six months time reflects the original job only. Only things for certain: HR decides salaries, not managers. I need: a real case for a raise in earnings based on the work I do now and the time it requires. HOWEVER: earnings scale (based on ads) for a bid manager with three years' experience is between $49,000 and $65,000.

tl:dr: I am a legal alien and despite having a fairly/very thick accent have managed to remain always employed as a telemarketer or field salesperson. I am used to not earning a lot of money but at least being able to name my own low salary in the last few jobs I have had. Last September (2014) I was attracted to a job close to my family's home where I am making telephone calls doing appointment scheduling for my manager who did not like doing his own phone calling because rejection. The job is supposed to be progressing to appointment scheduling for all of the people in the sales office, and then to perhaps a sales job.
I am successful enough early on that I am quickly given responsibility for appointment scheduling for the whole office. Then, two shifts take place:
1. my boss is asked to write a technical note for a potential client but he has no idea how to do it. I sit down and look at the questions and finish the entire document in a few hours. He sends it and then finds out a few days later he's won about $1 million in work from a very high quality customer. it is enough for a higher-up to say "telemarketer needs to be managing this .... oh and HR decides the salaries..." I remember that part.
2. my boss is asked to write a marketing note for our company's annual report and so I have to interview him and the person from the client company (another company). I write the article and everyone in the office says it's best thing they've read and "telemarketer should be doing this ... oh, just remember HR decides the salaries...." my boss says he doesn't want to discuss added pay for added responsibility because he says it is distasteful to discuss such things.
So... I am given the responsibility of managing the technical document production for the sales office and it is very much a full time job on top of the task of telephone appointment-setting; and they want me to do marketing on top of all this in six months' time.

I look back and know that I have been doing technical documentation writing for four years for a lot of different companies and am largely self-taught but I have quickly come to fruition and doing nine to 11 technical response per month, the short side taking an hour and the long ones taking up to a week or more and I am unable to work any overtime. It is time-intensive and relies on a lot of people responding to requests for information. I am essentially a project manager for this very important part of the sales process.

It's clear my boss and his boss don't have any idea / interest what to pay a person to do this job. I need to be able to show an accurate salary for the role. I have approximately three years experience of bidding. All I see is similar roles for between $49,000 and $65,000. Is $36,000 (the value of the raise I am expecting) worth it? What range is realistic to ask for?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total)
You will not double your salary at your job ($33K to $65K). That just doesn't happen. Salaries can vary all over the board, but they don't vary 100%. If your company has such a low view of your value as to pay you 50% of what a competitor would pay, then your company is not the sort of company that simply changes its view overnight just because you ask nicely just because you ask nicely.

From an employer's perspective, the ideal salary for an employee is the lower of these two numbers:
  1. The cost necessary to retain the employee.
  2. The cost to hire an equivalent employee, including all transition costs associated with switching to that equivalent employee.
Interestingly, you'll note that the value you bring to the company is not directly a factor in this equation. Even if you bring in millions of dollars of business regularly, if there's someone else on the market that will bring in those same millions of dollars of business for $33K/year, there's no reason for your employer to ever pay you more than $33K/year.

You need to find a new job. Your employer is clueless. If you go to your employer and request a 100% raise without another job offer in hand, they will laugh at you. I would laugh at you.

If you go to your employer with a job offer in hand and they do give you a 100% raise, would you still want to work for them anyway?
posted by saeculorum at 11:39 AM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

I doubled my salary at my first job. It happens. It won't happen here unless you make a case to someone who can override HR (or an make a case to someone who can do so). It also won't happen without a job offer from another firm in hand.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:04 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

No opinion on whether you'll get it or not, but the 'HR decides the salaries' part is... true but not true. HR does not know you personally, and HR does not pay you out of their own pocket. HR does what the Director of HR wants them to do. The Director of HR works for the CEO.

If management told HR to figure out what has to happen to get you more money, you would get it. It's just a matter of getting the right horsepower behind the idea.
posted by ctmf at 2:01 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had my salary doubled at my first job. So it's not impossible, just very unlikely.
posted by zug at 2:01 PM on March 12, 2015

If you accepted the salary and other ppl vying for your job were expecting higher, then it's likely they went with you because you were willing to settle for less. It just depends on you not negotiating higher before aCcepting the job.
posted by discopolo at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I suspect that getting your company to double your salary is not realistic, unless you can directly point to huge amounts of revenue for which you are directly responsible and which will go away if you leave. If you have a client portfolio that will walk away with you, then you are in a position to make huge salary demands; if not, then you probably aren't.

The fact that they are giving you a job title which normally commands a much higher salary, even without the salary, could be good for you in the long run though.

If you think you can jump ship now and get a better / more enjoyable job and more money, by all means do so. But if you aren't sure, it might be worth waiting around and getting some time with the new "Bid Manager" job title, just for resume building purposes. Then go out and interview for positions with that job title, and try to get the salary you think is more commensurate with the title. The company you interview at, six months or a year or more down the road, won't know how much you're (not) making now.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:06 PM on March 12, 2015

Your boss is bullshitting you. Your boss negotiates with HR and management to decide salaries. HR does not dictate salary. If this role goes for that in market, then you should get somewhere in the neighborhood.
I agree with the advice to get the title and jump ship as soon as you can if they don't give you the salary.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:37 PM on March 12, 2015

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
I did negotiate for my starting salary and it was the highest request they got. I know that others who interviewed with me at the same time asked for $21,000 per year based on it being a telemarketing job. Based on the process my boss claims is 'the pathway' to field sales, I quickly realized I could not afford the conditions for that particular pathway on my current salary and told so. That lead to the 'talking about salary is distasteful' conversation but also to my request to move offices being confirmed, so I know that they realize they will need to work to keep me. I am certain they understand their quality of response would go down were I not there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2015

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