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Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

What if anthing should I do in response to this backpeddle by my company?  Verbal and written?  Verbal only?

(4) people in my engr dept were to be given mid year reviews & compensation increases instead of the normal annual review only.  Reasons included new job responsibilities, going above and beyond (me), and equal pay for equal work.  We were setup to be reviewed in Sept. '03. The annual review is Apr '04.

In Aug of '03 our company 'reorganized' and eliminated the need for 30 people. This event, I honestly believe, was not known to my direct supervisor who set these mid year reviews up in Apr '03.

I received a very good review!  However, it was completed just before Turkey day.  Yes, it was that late. I only found out last week what the problem was after two requests as to why the increase had still not been made.

I was told that in fairness to the people eliminated the individual was sacraficed for the good of the company in this 'rare' situation.  Increases were only paid if the person was below the midpoint of their grade's salary range. This amounted to (1) of (4) persons.  I was also told that the money saved had to stay unchanged on the books until the end of 2003. "How could we possibly turn around and increase salaries right after such an event...?"

All I can say is BULL****!   What was promised was a very pleasing increase come Apr '04, taking into account the 6 months review together with the annual increase.  We will see...   I, for one, will not be holding my breath.

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

There is practically little you can do about this.  If you object or see a lawyer then your position could be in jeopardy.  If you make too much of a stink about it then not only could your position be in danger but your references for your next job could also be at risk.

In defence of your immediate supervisor, he may have been acting in good faith and have been as much in the dark as you were regarding the reorganization.  Typically these things are not discussed at the supervisor level until they happen for the obvious reasons.

I see three options for you.

1)    Quit this company and look for work elsewhere. (or at least start looking.)

2)    Wait until Apr 04 and see what happens then.

3)    Negotiate the raise now, to take effect in Apr. This will be more information for you to make a stay or quit decision and it will lock them into a commitment for Apr04.

I’d take option 3 just because it leaves open the other two options. You could also quietly start looking around as well. (It’s always a good idea to be aware of the job market conditions in any event.)

This is something only you can decide. Are the other working conditions good or bad? (Location, challenging work, relations with co-workers etc.)  If they are good then you might want to negotiate around this problem, if bad then you may want to move on anyway.

Good luck

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

I've read multiple articles about managing employees after downsizing.  All seemed to agree that it is best not to shortchange the "survivors".  If someone is kept because of their value, then that sense of value should be conveyed to the employee in the form of recognition AND pay.

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings."--C. D. Jackson

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

I was unfortunate enough to get caught in a similar situation not once but twice during the twilight of my career.  Being of an age where the job action was out of the question I let the first one slip by hoping that the so called frozen money would eventually be given to one of the younger members of the group. Never happened.

For the second incidence I was given any number of excuses that even though my review was outstanding they had lumped 4 engineering groups togather, 46 people considered instead of 6, and had prorated the monies according to where you were in your salary range.  Again this was the big one.  

Anytime I attempted to query supervision I would never get a straight answer from people, even those that I had aided during their career.  I came to the conclusion that supervision didn't mind the lying and actually relished and enjoyed it.  It was a big letdown as I had always worked for honest and straight shooting “tell like it is” supervision.  The change in management philosophy hurt worst than what little raise I might have received.  

Like RDK & TheTick state wait it out but keep your resume up to date and start looking around.  Keep your options open.  

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Dude -
I would start looking seriously [& confidentially].
If they're in the downsize mode, it's not gonna get better.
Plus the only way to get a better than average raise is to jump companies - otherwise you just drift up the cost-of-living line.  

Complaining will just get you the "not a team player" label [amazing how pointy-haired bosses stick together]. "Wait & see" or "sit & hope" is going to drive you nuts as you do a slow burn.  Undertaking an active search will give you a positive focus, rather than just being PO'd.

  When you find something better, ask the boss for a recommendation - since he knows you did a good job.  Maybe he'll even run to HR to get your raise! [Don't try this unless you're actually ready to go, though]

Even if you end up staying, you might be able to tip off one of your down-sized buddies about the other job opportunity.

Good Luck!

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Thanks for all the suggestions and other points of view!  Sometimes it just begins to fester and you can't think or do much of anything else.  I need to quit being PO'd and get on with the tasks at hand, two of which will include updating the resume and discussing/negotiating the raise coming in April when I get the annual review here shortly.

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

You need to also check and verify that an increase in compensation was forthcoming with the last review -- everything changed at the reorganization: was a pay raise/other promised at the November review?   Not all reviews are tied to pay raises (many say that up front, although your review would need to be positive in order to qualify for the next pay raise) -- possibly your boss erred in not telling you the changes after setting up the original review schedule, but also, your boss may have promised something he couldn't deliver on (a major boo-boo that many bosses have fallen into)... you might ask your boss for an explanation of what happened, but take it with a grin and a thankyou...

We went through similar situations -- but every year, HR came up with new rules as to what was considered compensation (i.e. bonues took a partial place of pay increases -- trouble was that bonuses didn't count toward our pensions -- those of us paid above the medium got no pay raises, and maybe a small bonus, then worthless stock options were counted as part of our annual compenstion) ... and it get worse every year until the BIG layoff...

as mentioned before, complaining will put you on the wrong list --

and all big companies tend to follow the same management/compensation "flavor-of-the-month" thing, so have some comfort it has happened to others --

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

This happened to me the last time I was an employee at a Dilbert-type company.  The review was slipped by a few months, seemingly without consequence or care so I updated and sent out resumes.

I received a call on my resume, but the offer was for independent contractor, not employee (a big jump, since this means I'm my own business).  I wouldn't be able to make as much with this singular client and would have to find my own benefits and pay them myself, as well as a greater tax (social security) burden.  However, this was exactly the type of work I wanted, so I took it.

Starting this way with a large primary client allowed me to begin slowly building a client list and project portfolio to emerge into a competitive business.  This started in 1997 and has now grown into the current LLC.

Be careful, you'll need diverse skills and be willing to do stuff you wouldn't otherwise do (if you're considering going independent).  You really have to ask yourself how much sacrifice you're willing to make for how long to get it to work.  But it can be done under the right circumstances.  I was only a year out of college when I made the move.  I'll never look back.

Jeff Mowry
Industrial Designhaus, LLC

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

"I was told that in fairness to the people eliminated.."

Come on, please!  "You're fired, but don't feel bad.  The people who aren't getting fired won't be getting raises."  How is that fair, or even rational?

Its time to do a little investigating.  Talk to some of your company's suppliers, find out if your company has been paying the bills on time.  Suppliers are also a good source to pump for who is busy info.

If your company is on the rocks, and you are making contributions to a 401k plan, or any other similar deductions from your pay, you may want to stop them.

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Reorganising a company in order to downsize is so 1990s I'm surprised any company is doing it these days. Companies now synergise their employees to a flat structure that focuses on their core competences. It sounds much nicer, although it still amounts to pruning the dead wood off the tree, if you know what I mean.
I'd advise checking the toilet paper if you're worried about the company's future. In general it's the last thing the Hitler youth of the HR (or Personnel) department tend to look at for cost savings. If they've changed to the cheap stuff that says 'Now wash your hands please' on every sheet you can be sure the company only has a matter of weeks. It passes the time to read every page too.


RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Dear RDK:

Thanks for your insightful response to my post.  I wanted to ask you further about your suggestion #3 to negotiate the raise.  I believe that there are many reasons to stay here for the next few years.  I completely agree with another post that I should not complain and whine so as to get myself onto their list of undesirables, but at the same time I want to make a point and let them know exactly where I stand.

I thought that one approach to negotiation could be to say that if the raise is labeled SALARY and the 2003 SALARY numbers can not be changed, then why not calculate the raise for the period and give it to me labeled as something else, BONUS, say?  The other approach I have is to discuss the comment that I will be 'pleased' come April and determine if what 'pleased' means to them and what it means to me are in the same universe or not.

I am not sure whether to ask for the BONUS first and then, if refused, continue with the discussion of 'pleased' and try to get a commitment OR go straight to the latter not even messing with the BONUS discussion.  The BONUS, were it to come, would back pay me what I will forever not get with the raise only in April.  Also, should this be something that I discuss only in person?  I think putting this into company emails could be a double edged sword:  yes, there is a record of it now, but that record could be what ends up being used against me...

Just looking for some follow up advice regarding a first time situation for me.

Very best regards,

Nathan Dyer

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!


Definately your initial discussions should be person-to-person.  If/when you reach an agreement in that forum you should document it in the form of a memo to whomever you had the discussions with ("To confirm our discussions on such date ....")

You might begin the discussion with something along the lines of (from your post) "I believe that there are many reasons to stay here for the next few years."  Then go on to "But I am concerrned about the recent layoffs and how that reflects the overall condition of the company.  I have a responsibility to myself/my family to ensure that my employment is stable.  I need to understand what plans the company has for the next few years, and where I stand within those plans.  How can I best help the company succeed... blah blah blah...."

I once got a raise without asking for one out of a very similar conversation by entering the boss's office with an empty envelope in my hand.  Of course he didn't know it was empty, he simply assumed that it was my letter of resignation.  

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

The carrot and stick in corporate America?!?!  Oh please, can we be expected to really believe that???

All cynicism aside, this is SOP at many companies.  What I've done in the past is put on my pair of walking shoes.  This is really the only solution, although it's a damned tough one, in many places, because this BS is ingrained right into the top mgmt.  You're either a person or property to them, and their actions will ultimately show which one they refer to you as.

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

Any negotiation involves finding a common ground. Sometimes what we want can be available in a slightly different package. Your idea of calling it a bonus instead of a salary is an example of this. They cannot give more salary but perhaps they could give more bonus.

At the end of the day all you really want is more money in your pocket, it can be salary or bonus, the end result is the same.

The only real difference is that the bonus is not part of your base for next year. That may or may not matter to you. You may be comfortable working at a lower base salary and getting higher bonuses. (You can also put on your resume that bonus was x% of salary with x% being quite high for your industry.)

I also agree with MintJulep that you should reach an agreement face to face and then follow up with a written communication to confirm the discussion. Often a lot of what is communicated is not verbal and would never be put in writing.

Negotiating in writing with an honest person is a waste of time, verbal followed by confirmation is the best. Negotiating with a dishonest person is a waste of time no matter how you do it.

Whatever you do it’s a tough call. I always try to achieve my aims in the least disruptive method possible. That would be to first negotiate for either a bonus or at least a commitment to a raise before I’d quit. (Provided that the company was an overall good place to work.)

Good luck

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion

RE: Carrot hung out in front of me only to be taken away!

I was in a similar situation.   You're on the road to partnership.....Never materialized.  I left and started my own practice.  

I left my previous employ about 2 weeks before X-Mas after nearly 12 years there.  No severance pay...no X-Mas bonus....just un-used vaction time.  I had no insurance...no projects lined up...not a whole lot of money in the bank to use....a wife, two kids (1 and 2 yrs) and a mortgage.  That was over two years ago.  Ever since then, I haven't slowed down at all. The kids have always been fed....I haven't missed any payments on the mortgage, utiliites, credit cards, etc.   

I have made several good contacts, several old clients came along with me, and referrals from local steel fabricators, contractor, etc. I do alot of Lally column removal but I am also getting some other intersting work.

The only regret I have is that I should have done it sooner.

I am working twice (if not more) as much now than I did, but I am enjoying myself much more than I did.

Bottom line....If you are not happy or you feel you are being taken advantage of.  Your work will suffer.  Leave start your own firm if you can or go elsewhere at least look around.  You might be surprised at what you find out.

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