I was recently asking my current boss for a raise. I work hard, I have an excellent attitude, & I have improved the overall quality of the product being released. I have verifiable proof through the reports in JIRA that I do 20% more tickets then the rest of the team. Things are going in the right direction with the project since I’ve joined the team. I figured now was as good of a time as any to ask for a raise. So I did the right thing, I ask my boss for a few minutes of his time and we discussed things. I told him I was seeing recruiter emails that had figures that were up to 18% then what I was making. I wasn’t asking for 18%, but I figured they should make this right, right? I waited for about 3 weeks and my annual review came and they gave me 2% for my annual raise. Yes that is not a typo. 2% – Needless to say I was shocked, & disappointed. I went to my boss and asked him about this and he said that HR has done the compensation analysis and my salary falls in line with the compensation they have for my position. I can understand that, but that doesn’t take into the account of me working through lunches, working at home on tasks (after work and sometimes very late into the morning hours) as well as working on the weekends. To be fair, they never asked for that, I just did it because I wanted to. However, when I received the 2% after reviewing all the extras I have done over the last couple of years I started to feel very under appreciated.
When I got to the project it was chaotic, after the product was pushed to production, it would come back with major errors. The teams reputation was pretty much trash. Our burn down chart never went down on each sprint and we worked until the last minute on tickets and bugs without ever really testing them. I don’t want to state that it was because of me that things started to turn around, but I will take some credit for it. Our team got a project coach who helped us in our Agile process and our BA/QA person really started to organize the work. I guess my role was to really adopt this new process and help bring my boss and the other devs to see how this could work for us. I also busted my hump on my tickets and worked with other team members to get things done. The business owners started to recognize my efforts as now specific project tasks are assigned to me at their request. Now after 6ish months, our burn down charts are appropriately going in the right direction, our tickets are more clear and production issues are almost non-existent.
My bosses boss came to me the other day and re-explained the companies position. He told me that if I find another position that pays more then I should take it. Which basically tells me that they are willing to let me go. I feel that is short sided on their part, but it is their right to do. I know I’m expendable, I also know this is a tight market. It would take them awhile to find my replacement and it would also take that replacement awhile to get up to speed. I’ve been told throughout my career that I am different than other developers. I can talk to people, & I believe in relationships – maybe I’m more unique in this case and any replacement will not be me. I suppose, just like anyone I have pro’s and con’s. It is my hope that my pro’s outweigh my con’s and that any replacement might not have my good qualities. During my conversation with my bosses boss, he said I should go to training events. Go to Las Vegas or Orlando and do one of the big conferences. I didn’t mention that one of the applications that I support is a 15 year old beast. It is VERY out of date and the company has no patience to re-write it or even upgrade it appropriately. When he told me about going to conferences, I responded, “if we don’t get to utilize what is available then what is the point?” Why go to a conference when I’ll never get to use any of the technology? I think all he was saying was that I should utilize every bit of money in the budget allocated to me as a way of compensating me for the discrepancy of pay.
I know I’m painting a bleak picture of this company & my position. They have an old application that I can’t update/upgrade. They have process problems and MOST IMPORTANTLY they don’t appear to recognize my hard work. I guess, it feels like the answer is staring me at the face. But… I can do this job with a blind fold on. I actually like working on the application as ancient as it is (mostly because it allows me to be creative). I have built a reputation as the go-to guy for new tasks. And to be fair, I’m not dumpster diving for food or taking a 2nd job to make ends meet. I’m paid about 7k under the lowest market rate that I’ve seen and 17k at the highest. With that being said the benefits are pretty good at this company. What I’m battling with is that I probably don’t have much of a future here and working as hard as I have been was not recognized. This decision should be binary. It should be either go and find another opportunity that pays you more or stay where you are at. However, like everything in life it isn’t that easy. If I leave, I have to rebuild my reputation (if possible) at the new place. There is nothing saying that the new place won’t have it’s own set of warts. Not to mention that there is always the possibility of just not liking the next gig. However, if I stay, do I work as hard as I have been? That answer isn’t that easy either. Yeah I would like to say NO, but the extra effort is just who I am. But if I do stay then my skillset gets further and further behind and I’m just not sure I can get over the feeling of not being appreciated.
As you can see, I’m waffling. The fact is that I’m not being forced out. Maybe I spend the time to look for my next position rather than jumping into my next job without really evaluating if it is the right fit. Or maybe I should ride it out because things change. Maybe someone retires or quits and another opportunity comes along. I will say the one fact that I can’t escape is that, if I stay my skills are becoming more and more out of date. There is only so much that I can do to battle that (local meetups, conferences and working on side projects), all of which I’m doing again. I think if I asked 100 people their opinion I might get the same thoughts that I currently have. This is a very personal decision and there isn’t necessary a right answer. It really just depends… But man it would be so much easier if they just gave me that damn raise!