Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the pay raise dilemma.
Danny: I am not nearly as convinced that this was a mistake, I don’t think
Nicole: Nor am I!
And certainly I would feel no obligation to draw it to anyone’s attention
If it is in your signed contract, they cannot claw it back
Unlike when you just get two paychecks at once as a mistake
Nicole: Why borrow trouble?
Take the money
Danny: if anything, I think your husband should go back and say “I know other employees received a greater-than-2% raise, so I’d like to revisit my raise in light of this”
Nicole: Ooh, I wouldn’t
That’s setting himself up for conflict with a new director who has already turned him down
Danny: i think it would be worth going into conflict for!
like, you don’t have to say it angrily or anything
Nicole: I definitely would not
It implies the new director lied
Danny: they maybe did lie, though!
Nicole: Like it’s a very aggressive move
Well, not if it actually WAS a mistake, which they would then fix, to your family’s detriment
Danny: oh yeah i don’t want to encourage any sort of “i accuse you of misleading me”
i was just thinking of it like, if a coworker shares their salary with you and you use it to negotiate a better deal for yourself
Nicole: You’re already coming out ahead as a pair, I would just wait until the next round of raises
yeah, but doing that is a) tricky as heck and b) rarely done after contracts for the year are done and dusted
It’s good info for next raise season for sure
Danny: yeah, if your husband decides it’s too aggressive to revisit the money thing right now, i think he does still have a right to go back and say “I need a timeline for when we can hire a replacement, because I can’t keep doing two jobs at basically my old salary”
and I don’t think your own (pretty modest!) raise is an ethical dilemma
Nicole: Looking at the letter, if he hasn’t signed his contract yet (she has) he might be better off pushing for a new title, etc.
Because again, if it WAS a mistake, they may fix it once it is brought to their attention
I just think that you’ve come out ahead as a family, POSSIBLY by mistake, and to go two rounds with the new director is not ideal. It’s also not clear he’s working two jobs
He COULD have, or he could have just moved into the supervisor position and left his old tasks behind
Which is just info we do not have
Danny: that’s true! in my mind he’s doing two full-time jobs
but it could just be a matter of finishing up a couple of projects
Nicole: That would be definitely a different matter for me
AND would make it seem more likely he was supposed to get the bump to 5% and she the 2%
(I’m not a contract lawyer, it’s entirely likely that they can’t change her signed contract at this point)
Which would be great
Danny: it would!
Nicole: So, I guess my bottom line is:
Danny: it’s just not self-evidently a mistake to me! a 5% raise isn’t so much bigger than 2% that I’d see that and assume “someone messed up”
Nicole: If your husband is working two jobs, and has not signed his contract yet, politely ask for more/a title change, a timeline for assistance, etc
And if he has just moved into the supervisory role, keep your head down and enjoy the extra money
Danny: that seems sound to me!
Nicole: Next raise season, GO IN SWINGIN’
Danny: how exciting though, that we briefly disagreed on the approach
So true, so rare!!