I Didn’t Get a Raise but Everyone Else Did

by Evil HR Lady on January 7, 2019

I’m a licensed mental health clinician. My company recently did a salary review and most of my co-workers, who have only 1-4 years of experience, received a salary increase and I did not.  I have been in the field for over 20 years. Four years ago, I decided to gracefully bow out of management, as my passion is in clinical work. 

I brought my concerns to my direct supervisor and then to the Department Administrator. I told him that I felt undervalued and not appreciated.  I seem to always be told, “you are paid at the higher end of the salary range.”  I am tired of hearing this and suggested that I should not be penalized because I have a significant amount of experience and do not want to advance to a management position again.  The administrator said they are working on a plan for bonuses for people like me, but that hasn’t happened.

I could quit, but I like the job. What can I do?

To read my answer, click here: I Didn’t Get a Raise but Everyone Else Did

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny January 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm

I would push management to implement the bonus plan. To me, that is the vehicle to provide additional cash incentives for those who have reached the top of their pay scales.

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Mr Snowbird watching the sea birds at sunrise January 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm

I fall in this category: I’ll never be a manager, and after decades I’m deemed top-notch. The scary part of of earning top-of-range is vulnerability to layoff (Some managers demonstrate their value by “empire building” hordes of hungry H1Bs, when the work could be done by a few competent coworkers. Also it’s easy to “cut costs” by laying me off and offshoring the work– effectiveness is of secondary importance in turbulent times).

I’ve dealt with this by moving into consulting. As an Information Technology specialist, I’ve been fortunate to land a telecommuting gig, and I’m presently watching the sunrise across St Joseph Bay as a still-employed snowbird!

As I understand it, the military has “warrant officers”: warrant officers are highly skilled, single-track specialists who are in the gap between Non-commissioned Officers and the Officer Corps. I figured that’s where I’d be, were I in the military.

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Chris Hogg January 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Dear Evil — Always appreciate your articles, learn from them, and recommend them to others.

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Evil HR Lady January 7, 2019 at 3:14 pm

Thank you!

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Karen January 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Dear Evil HR Lady – While it is disappointing to the writer, your response is in line with reality. There is only so much companies can give once a team member reaches the height of the salary band. Another commenter suggested a bonus – gresat idea – or perhaps extra PTO as an incentive to keep the writer on board.

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Bluey January 7, 2019 at 10:15 pm

Exactly. Employees need to understand that if they want more $$, they need to move up the ladder or find something, not necessarily lateral or up but a different job.

You can move lets say from customer service to sales, or even customer product training, or whatever.

Most likely those move will get you more $$ or at least another path to start moving up again.

Once you hit the top of the pay scale it is time to evaluate what you want. Only the employee can figure that out.

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Dorothy January 7, 2019 at 4:22 pm

I’m solidly with Suzanne on this. So many W2 employees have the attitude the LW has: I want … or I deserve … rather than doing some research and figuring out I’m worth …

Your work is worth what the market will pay. Experience, after a certain point, rarely has market value.

And attitude is important. As Mr. Snowbird said, older, more experienced workers are vulnerable to layoffs. Entitled, grumpy employees move themselves closer to the list.

So I suggest the LW do some research, look around and see if s/he’s paid at the market rate. Consider putting some if your energy into a side hustle to generate more income.

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TexanInExile January 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

The great thing is that it is really easy to find out what jobs pay. So we all know if we are being paid market rate.

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Ann January 7, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Evil HR Lady, I completely agree with your answer. In addition, in this instance, I think context of health care might also be important. Likely the rates that the company is able to charge for the work of the mental health clinician are dictated by insurance companies and/or Medicare and Medicaid. This employee may not just be at the top of the pay scale; he or she may be at the top of the mandated reimbursement rates.
Changing companies, in this scenario, may not lead to higher pay.

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MB January 7, 2019 at 8:45 pm

Great point, Ann. I also encourage the poster to assign some value to the comfort/familiarity/flexibility/whatever non-cash benefits they have at their current company. Even if more money could be had elsewhere, would it mean starting over at 2 weeks of vacation? Would it mean weekend hours? Try to think about each job as a cumulative of all comp and benefits, not just the raise on a paycheck.

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Kobayashi January 7, 2019 at 11:37 pm

If the employee is at the top of the pay scale, he or she may not be able to find another job, doing the exact same thing, for more money. As EvilHR Lady mentioned, the market is the market. So, if money is a significant consideration, it’s time to look at moving upward or even into something else (such as a lateral move) that might pay more.

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MariaRose January 8, 2019 at 12:14 am

Good article which points out what happens when jobs that have maximum salary levels. I faced something like this but it was making the choice between taking the higher level position with a minimum pay increase or saying at my position where I already did the same job without a title. ( I was considered for the title because of job performance I was doing). I turned down the title after being told that I would not receive a pay increase to assume more responsibility. A management position should always have a higher pay level as the title does pay bills. This employee should have realized that her job has a top salary level beyond which she would not get anything unless the company decides to increase salary levels across the board which in today’s world is very slim in expectation, and finding another job at a higher level. She should just appreciate having that job and do all to keep that job from being discontinued.

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old_engineer January 8, 2019 at 8:24 pm

I was a non-standard hire to begin with. Both an engineer and a writer, I was paid more like an engineer. With the boss who realized what I could do (and had done on several projects), he gave me a 30% raise. This immediately moved me out any normal salary bands and I was then “zeroed” on all future raises. It was then time to move on.

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