Where to begin…
I got into the office a bit late today because I stayed fairly late yesterday evening to support new student orientation activities. After getting through my inbox, I noticed an email roughly entitled “FYI.” This correspondence was from my boss and the Outlook preview gave me reason to assume it was about compensation…so I procrastinated reading it. Finally, around noon I could take it no longer and opened it. The email itself was gracious but brief and directed me to open the attached letter. The letter, also from my boss but copying his boss and human resources, very briefly stated that as a result of my hard work on several projects, my boss, his boss, and the division had decided to award me a bonus of $1,500.00. Additionally, my salary would also increase by 2.5%. After rereading the letter several times, the overwhelming feeling that accosted me was…disappointment.
Hours later, I realize the disappointment arises from three distinct places… Firstly, is the actual amounts themselves. As a result of having a friend in the same division, whose boss is a lot more upfront in discussions about compensation, I know the spot bonus range and know that my bonus is the lower end. Secondly, where the letter states the reasons I am receiving the bonus, it does not mention a significant amount of non-role specific departmental labor I have performed over the past year and a half. Work that was the responsibility of another staff member who did not complete it before leaving our department. Work that was essential to our department’s performance. From my perspective, not only am I not being compensated for this labor that no one else wanted to perform (we are talking about weeks of work for an assignment that had university presidential level visibility) but I also feel like my boss probably isn’t giving me credit for the work outside of our office. That is, I think he is still allowing people (i.e. his boss) to assume that my departing colleague completed the work. Because, if they didn’t complete that work, what did they do? As I shared previously, my boss is incredibly inspiring and a visionary but he is also a bad manager of people.
And thirdly, and I feel this is most significant, I am disappointed that my boss tried to present the pitiful 2.5% increase as a salary adjustment. The same departmental friend also let me know that everyone in the division (including my lovely new colleague who earns $7K more than I do) is being awarded the 2.5% increase. The increase wasn’t tied to my individual work but was awarded by the division head to everyone for the rough year. Framing it as an increase that was tied to my work seemed…dishonest and a bit disrespectful. I would much rather have had my boss just tell me that he couldn’t get me a salary adjustment. But he hates confrontation, and delivering bad news, so I am not entirely shocked he decided to frame the increase in this manner.
Ultimately, I am in a place where there are a lots of questions, including the title of this post, running through my mind even if not very much has actually changed.