I got a new job without a raise but I'm happy and don't care, should I?
June 6, 2016 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Last week I got promoted to a new job. . . it was the job I want, and it's much more interesting than my previous job, and honestly I've wanted this job for about a year.

I basically had to start right away, and the first week was so busy that I had no time to meet with HR to discuss. I haven't signed a new contract or anything, and wasn't given the chance to discuss salary or anything. I honestly' don't care that much. . . I am pretty happy with my pay, I got a raise about 2 months ago, and I'm really happy to have this new job. It's much more fulfilling and interesting and much less stressful than my previous job. Plus it's my first job that isn't an administrative assistant, and I'm basically learning everything as I go - It's not like I've done this before. So really, I don't even feel like I need a raise right now. Oh yeah, this is little company that doesn't make much money, I'm honestly surprised that I make as much as I do.

Is this stupid? Can I ask for a raise later? Do I need to sign a new contract? Or can I just go with the flow like I've been doing ?
posted by winterportage to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Is it a promotion or a lateral move? It sounds like you're moving from admin to something different, in which case, you're making a decision to change your career path, not move up the same ladder in which the next step may require more compensation.

When you get a chance to speak with your boss, I would bring up some questions about what the compensation calendar looks like, what your goals are and how it affects your salary as you achieve those goals. Also what your career path looks like going forward.
posted by xingcat at 6:41 AM on June 6, 2016

Are you female? I have often been in don't-care situations w/r/t the amount I've gotten paid and people have made the argument (which I'm not sure I agree with but I present it here) that part of what you're doing is setting the going rate for people like you and so it's worth actually trying to negotiate somewhat because men usually do and women often don't and it's one of the (many) things that can lead to women being paid less than men for the same work. So I'm with xingcat, maybe roll it into a "moving forward" plan so you don't have to be like "RAISE, NOW" but you can also feel like you are being a good advocate for yourself. And yeah not every move requires a raise but if there's an increasing level of responsibility it should come with a raise and it's okay to point that out even if their response is "That won't be possible right now"
posted by jessamyn at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]

It is hard to say without knowing the culture of the industry you are in and perhaps even what country you are based in since there is a wide spectrum of what is typical. Plus you need to take all of what is typical with a grain of salt since you are at a small company and small companies can be quite idiosyncratic about such things.

Without knowing more details, I'd probably chill out about a lack of raise since you just got one a few month ago. Rather I'd focus on doing a great job in your new role and feel out raises at your next review or career check in with your manager which should happen in 6 months or sooner. If you don't have those either formally or informally then that is something I'd suggest your advocate for.
posted by mmascolino at 7:34 AM on June 6, 2016

The (lack of) higher salary isn't surprising -- there are many fields where the supply of people qualified for entry level professional positions is much higher than the supply of people able to carry out key support roles. You pay your dues and get promoted and you leave the support people way behind (in pay terms).
posted by MattD at 7:46 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

So as mentioned there's a lot of nuance here.

I'd raise the point that this seems like an increase in responsibilities, it seems there should be a corresponding increase in compensation?

It seems like if they said they couldn't that you'd be okay with it, but at least you've planted the seed, and still can come back later to ask for more without it surprising anyone. Note this is also a good time to negotiate title, which is "free" for the organization and helps your resume...
posted by bitdamaged at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2016

Always try to get more money even if you're happy with your current salary.

In this case it's ok to ask "is that the best you can do?" before signing. It shows you take yourself seriously are ambitious - so they don't overlook you when it does come to salary negotiations later on.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:32 AM on June 6, 2016

Not saying this is true of you, but most admin assistants are notoriously underpaid. If your company is promoting you to a new role with different responsibilities, if you don't push for a salary increase now, or at least get it on record that you'd like future consideration for a salary adjustment that matches your new job responsibilities, you've set yourself up to be underpaid for your new job not just right now, but down the road for your career as well.

It's much easier to discuss pay raises when some notable change is being made to your title, as opposed to having to step to your boss with a printout from Glassdoor.com and a list of things you've been doing really well lately. Recent pay raise or no, this is the best time to have a conversation about a raise, not two years from now when your new role is status quo.

You say you're fine with your salary now, but think about how big your company pay raises tend to be and how frequently they occur. Will you be happy with it five years from now, when you're deep in your new role with only the usual annual cost of living/merit adjustments made to your salary? If you change companies somewhere down the road, is that number what you want to quote them if they ask about your salary history? (Not that you should give them your salary history anyway, that seems pretty weird.)

You're getting a promotion. Promotions should come with raises, or at least the promise of one in some fixed future time frame. I wouldn't sign anything before asking about benefits/compensation. Even if their hands are tied on salary, you might be able to swing some extra benefit like occasional flex time or extra paid vacation days or something.
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:25 AM on June 6, 2016

I am a hiring manager. I am not your hiring manager.

(on preview - I'll second the idea of looking around at what comp salaries are)

So I take it that you were promoted from position A to position B at the same company. I think it's less than perfect on their part to NOT specifically discuss salary, even if it's to say "we'd like to offer you %new_position at the same salary you're making now. However, it's a REALLY common mistake, one I will admit to making in the past, and it's kind of part of small company culture.

Which is often: Higher level manager sees something that needs doing or a vacancy suddenly emerges (because someone quits and there was no backup plan - sometimes even with 2 weeks notice), and tags the most likely candidate (you) to do it. Without communicating well with the candidate, co-workers, or anything. Not saying they're trying to do this to you, but people have wound up with TWO jobs this way, without realizing it (at the same pay, of course).

It's not necessarily stupid to be satisfied with your pay, esp. if you like the job better, you recently got a raise, and you feel your compensation is reasonably high, but I think what I'd be doing is more of a negotiation to make sure this position is set in stone, is not interim, and that you have more than someone's handshake on it.

So here's what I'd be talking about with HR, if they have such a person/department, or your manager if not:

- what do I need to do to help transition my replacement on my old job? (signal to them that you don't expect to be doing your old job any more - may be obvious that someone else has stepped in, but I have seen too much of this undeclared interim// he/she is "sorta" the new person in charge of ...// stuff to feel comfortable in this situation until you have something declared on this.

- "Wow, last week was kind of sudden. I really like doing (new thing) -- going forward, what exactly is my new job title and description, and what is the salary for that position?"

-- title
-- job description
-- salary

If the answer to salary is "Well, we are currently paying you $X, and you were kind of topped out in admin, but now we're moving you into an entry level position in (thing you want to be doing)," that may be an acceptable answer, but it puts them on notice that you are aware that you're now adding more value to the company. It sets the stage for raises down the line, if nothing else.

I've seen it happen too many times -- many/most small business owners do not offer raises until pressed, and sleep very well at night with salary disparities of up to 50% for people doing the same job (along with sexist, horrible, no-good ideas like "well she (at least it's usually she) can get by with $X because her spouse has a good job" while "he (it's usually a he) needs to make more because he's the breadwinner". Not saying it's happening here, nor do I want to make you discontent with what you think is a good pay scale - it may be, in fact, a good pay scale. But be aware that they gave you the job because they think you're the best fit for it, so use that to your advantage.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:38 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's definitely worth it to ask. I'm also a hiring manager. And so I have run into this kind of thing at least a few times. Larger corporations especially will be sticky about giving raises for promotions if you got a raise within the last three or six or 12 months. It's really pretty stupid but it's true.

One thing to keep in mind is that companies typically have salary bands for each role in each level up in a roll with the minimum a maximum in the median of my experiences been that larger corporations want to pay towards the median. One thing that's good about these bands even though it forces a trend towards the median is that it's easier to understand if different people in the organization are paid out of whack to each other. I went on at one time had a number of employees, who coincidentally were women, who had both been at their jobs for more than six or seven years, and so they were pretty underpaid as a result. Typically people will make more money if if they change jobs to a new company every for five years. People to stay within a single company and get promoted within what typically be paid less over time.

Companies typically will not disclose the salary bands to employees. And the trend towards keeping salaries a secret and for people to be threatened with getting in trouble if they share them only works in the company's favor. However, it's totally fair for you to ask if your company does have salary bands and if you fall appropriately within it.

Another thing to know about is that some companies may have rules about how large of a salary jump any one person can get at any one time. One of my employees was promoted from another department to my department, she had been more like an admin type person and came onto my team as an associate product manager. She was not paid well in her prior roll and affectively should have at least doubled her salary when she came to my team but the maximum salary jumper it was like 20% and I really had to fight with HR about it.

So, I would do the research and find out what job salaries are like for your field, check out salary.com and glass door. And it's totally fair for you to ask if the salary is negotiable at all. But quality-of-life it's also really important, and as I grow older I value that increasingly. So it's not dumb to not care as much about your salary as long as you're making as much as you think you need and you're able to put away enough money into savings and retirement and pay off any debt. You also want to make sure that you can save towards any longer term goals you have for buying house or whatever.

Good luck, I hope you love your new job.
posted by reddot at 5:17 AM on June 14, 2016

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