Should you threaten to quit to get a raise?

by Evil HR Lady on November 21, 2018

I work in as an Executive Assistant and a Human Resource Officer (kinda). I am just about to graduate with a BS in Psych with an emphasis in HR. I have been gunning for an early promotion because I have cleared my career ladder (completed/accomplished all requirements at top of my career ladder) and I have taken on two other roles, HR and Office Manager. I thought this would be something that would get me promoted early on, especially with the fact that I only received positive feedback about my work from my boss.

There is another person in my office that was given an early promotion but not for any reason other than she said she was given another job offer and was going to leave if she couldn’t get more here. Note that she doesn’t have additional experience, it’s minimal, and she has no degree. She also has not taken on any other work; she sticks to what she was given when she first started.

I have since presented my boss with my case for early promotion; I’m graduating, I’ve taken on two additional job titles, and I have been giving great work to her and the company. She has since told me that I will need to wait until I graduate before I can see anything similar to the promotion that my coworker received. This to me is unfair, and it’s really weighing on me to a point where I’m not sure if I should stick around.

I’d like to question her on this, but I’m not sure as to how to approach her about this… Why can my coworker get an early promotion with having taken on no extra work, no additional experience or education but I cannot no matter how hard I work? Her approach to things like this (many things) is very inconsistent. The rules and getting away with things are very different for everyone.

To read my answer, click here: Should you threaten to quit to get a raise?

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl November 21, 2018 at 2:23 pm

I have seen managers give raises/promotions when faced with similar situations. In the long run it has never paid off. When an employee starts to make this type of motion, they typically are already somewhat disengaged in their role. If as an organization your salary structure is low and you need to evaluate your pay scales, then holistically, you should take that step. In the times of pay equity, Human Resources needs to always keep the big picture in mind. Have you ensured that the organization has the best possible employees to deliver for the organization and are they receiving equitable compensation for the types of work being conducted. Treat your employees well in the first place.
Cheryl Berger
HR Professional


Amy November 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Thank you! Agreed and well said!


Jenny Boxer November 21, 2018 at 3:01 pm

This appears to have written by an immature teenager. She is obviously young and immature, working as an HR admin. Big whoop — that is a clerical-admin role. Most small firms don’t have salary ranges or definite promotion requirements, particularly at junior levels.


Anonymous November 21, 2018 at 3:43 pm

I don’t disagree that the person who is writing this comes across as younger and inexperienced, though I would argue that calling her an immature teenager is a little extreme. She’s asking valid questions on why her colleague doesn’t appear to have to meet the same promotional requirements and how to approach that with her manager. If the answer truly is that “we’re a small firm and we don’t have definite promotion requirements for junior level staff”, then it would be helpful for her to have this conversation to determine how much she will continue to fit the company. Perhaps she needs to find a larger firm that is willing to make more upward movement for junior level staff.


GreenDoor November 21, 2018 at 10:41 pm

“working as an HR admin. Big whoop” Wow! Is that ever condescending.

She’s also working on a degree and clearly has career goals that she’s working on so please don’t look down your nose as though people who work in support roles don’t deserve a promotion. It’s a legitimate frustration to follow all the “rules” (going back to school, taking on new tasks, etc.,…and to be passed over for someone that’s lazy and issues threats to get what they want.


charles November 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Everything you said Suzanne! And, I’d add if you feel like “threatening to quit” I doubt that a raise or promotion is going to change that feeling much.

You hit the nail on the head with: “Because counter offers generally simply delay a termination. They don’t stop them.”

Even with a great promotion/raise, the OP could still end up feeling bitter that it took a threat to get them to compensate fairly.

So, yep, time to update that resume and look elsewhere.

P.S. Love the artwork on that article – you truly do look “Evil”!


Mr Money November 22, 2018 at 1:00 am

Counteroffers? I’ve accepted two. I stayed 6 years after the first, and 8 after the second (different companies). Long delays, eh?


Semi-Evil Tech Manager November 24, 2018 at 4:15 pm

You are the exception. In the vast majority of situations like this I’ve seen people stick around for no more than a year or so. I don’t ever counter a “threat” to leave.

The graveyard is full of people who couldn’t be replaced.


BethRA November 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm

I agree with EHRL that this is most likely a case of bad management, that it’s not likely to change, and that the letter writer should focus on finishing their degree and then start looking for other jobs.

But I would also like to point out that “not having a degree” is not the same as not having experience and/or not having marketable skills (and if she’s been working while you’ve been in school, she likely has more experience than you do).

It’s also possible that there are other factors involved that the letter writer doesn’t know about – the manager is still doing a terrible job of communicating, and I’m still not a fan of making “counter offers” but there may be more going on than you know.


Jennifer November 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm

I agree with Jenny Boxer , As I was reading this is appeared to be written by an entitled teenager. The ” I have taken on more , and “I’m getting my degree.” sounds immature and bratty. Stop comparing yourself to others. Honestly degrees are a dime a dozen now a days and smart companies look for experience over them. ( obviously there are exceptions in certain job fields that require them). Threatening to quit to get a raise sounds so immature, If you dont feel you are being paid your worth – start a new job search. You have your degree and some experience. However most Admin HR make a modest hourly rate ( Degree or Not ).


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