Forums

Has anyone ever "dealt" with this situation before. I use quotes because I am not sure if I should even bring this up to my manager.

The only reason I am considering it is that I think it may come up at review time ( i'm pretty sure he is not aware of it ) and I would rather address it now. I guess the other reason I would consider bringing it up is that I would like to hear the rationalization for it.

Thanks for listening,
Chuck

LouFlorence's picture

Chuck-

This isn't that unusual and there really isn't an issue to deal with.

I assume you agreed to the compensation package when you accepted the offer for your current position. It may be that some of your directs have higher compensation than you, reflecting the length of their service, value to the company, special skills, how much the company needed to fill the position at the time or any number of factors.

When someone comes to me and says "why don't I make as much as X", I always go back to 1) you liked it OK when I offered you this position 2) our compensation is equitable, but not equal 3) you have the opportunity to increase your compensation (as we have discussed) by exceeding your goals and expanding your role.

I don't share with my directs when they earn more than I do and I don't complain about it to my boss. Neither is an effective activity. I focus on what I have to do and whether my compensation is fair for the role and the value I am contributing.

regards,
Lou

jhack's picture

Sure. Been there. Price is determined by supply and demand. Your salary (the price of labor) is determined by the market. So is your direct's. I've had directs with extraordinary skills, but they weren't management material. We, as a team, could not have performed nearly as well without them.

So this direct was very well paid, and fairly paid. I was well paid, and fairly paid.

There are industries where this is common: sports, movie production, touring popular musical acts, pretty much any "star" driven business.

Is there a specific reason this bothers you?

John

jezmund's picture

It actually was bothering me less than I thought it would. Again, the main reason that I would bring this up would be to let my boss know so that there are no surprises during review time ( for him ). He will have to calibrate pay across our organization and I feel like this would be an awkward situation for him also.

As to the comments on skillset, market based pay etc... I will say that I have not recently joined the organization and neither has this person, we both came up through the organization via the same career path essentially.

I suppose that it may be affecting me more than I let on though. It is a little hard to swallow that someone in my organization for whom I am directly accountable for the results of their work ( along with many others ) and with which I share a technical background would get compensated at a higher rate than me for less responsibility.

terrih's picture

[quote]When someone comes to me and says "why don't I make as much as X", I always go back to 1) you liked it OK when I offered you this position 2) our compensation is equitable, but not equal 3) you have the opportunity to increase your compensation (as we have discussed) by exceeding your goals and expanding your role. [/quote]

I wish I'd seen this a couple of months ago, oh well. Although the person I was talking to had pretty much made up their mind that it was some kind of discrimination... including "this company likes Rockford people better than Wichita people." (the company moved up here from Wichita a little over a year ago and naturally had to hire local people to fill the jobs vacated by people who elected not to relocate)

I did mention the fact that overall wage scales in Illinois are higher than they are in Kansas; I'm sure the company offered no more than they had to to get the people with the skills. *sigh*

Sometimes people get it in their heads they're being hard done by, and you can't convince them otherwise. :roll:

Terri

tcomeau's picture

I've often had direct reports that make more than me, and I think I have three who currently make more than I do. Often these are senior people (in their 50s, so maybe ten more years in the workforce than me) who have specialized, valuable engineering skills.

I've made an offer to an engineer for more than I was making, but she turned me down.

tc>

jhack's picture

Companies pay people to do many things. Responsibility is only one of the many skills which create value.

And, sometimes, through a series of random events, things just aren't equitable. You will be much happier in life if you don't compare yourself to others, but to your own internal standards.

And, kudos for facing this issue openly and not just letting it eat away at you.

jezmund's picture

Thanks for the replies and helping me decide to just let this pass and focus on the things that I can control, like doing my own job well.

WillDuke's picture

You could always try giving yourself the talk that you'd give your other directs. They don't all get paid the same, and sometimes that chafes.

When I get presented with this, I first ask myself if the structure is in fact fair. If it's not, I fix it. If it is, review excellent notes above. :)

US41's picture

Some of my reports make more than me. I am currently converting a contract employee to regular full-time salary and having to offer 5K more than I make right now to bring them on.

I've been with the company a decade, and this person will have been with the company ten minutes and will be making more than me.

That's life in a company. Salaries are like car prices: They are negotiated in secret. An offer is made, and the strong know how to get what they want, while those of us not as strong pay sticker price.

Here's an example: I bought my current car at 50% of the MSRP. A guy sitting with a sales guy a few feet from me could not believe his ears as I drove the price down, down, down, beyond invoice, beyond dealer holdback, and beyond all limits of reason until it was a virtual bloodletting. We spoke in the lobby while they brought my car around, and he had tried the tactics he heard me using and they just laughed at him.

Life isn't fair.

I have two children, and a common refrain in my house from "Big Daddy" is "Life isn't fair, nothing is fair, there is no such thing as fair. Everyone gets what they have the ability and willingness to take through influence or force, and the rest is good fortune."

Read Machiavelli, and read The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. The second is better than the first, since it is based on it and basically provides an overview of power politics and the tactics you would need to use to drive your income up.

You can always job shop and advance your career by changing companies. In fact, that is probably much more effective than staying with one company long-term. However, long-term employment offers more security to those who establish wide-ranging and deep networks of quality.

It's a trade off. The risk takers go farther, make more, and reap the rewards for their edgy behaviors. Those of us who are conservative must accept that we traded speed of advancement and amazing success for risk avoidance.

ipoipo's picture

I started 9 months ago as a software developer/architect to design an application. Staffing at that time didn't know what side was up and I took over. Now managing 2 originals and 2 new. New guys all negotiated in secret and making much higher salaries than I am.

I have discussed this with my manager and it has fallen on deaf ears, even though I am daily loaded with more work and responsibility.

Have posted my resume on Monster today...

jhack's picture

Contracting can yield higher hourly wages.

If they negotiated in secret, how do you know what they're making? People are notoriously, um, inaccurate, reporters of income.

The real question is, what do you enjoy doing?

John

ipoipo's picture

I took this position after consulting internationally for 20 years. Will be returning to that world now.

Income info re. my direct reports from a very reliable source.

I actually enjoy mentoring and leading just as much as complex software/hardware design. Pity, this co. would have had a highly qualified hardware & software manager had they not been this intractable.

US41's picture

Before I believe "A very reliable source," I try to imagine what possible benefit they could get if I took the course of action they are inspiring me to take. Some people spread information/disinformation as a tactic to upset, up-end, and psych out people who they feel are competing with them.

Assuming you truly believe this person is totally noble in informing you of something they know will upset you and you cannot control (yeah, right), then I would have to say I would expect your complaints to fall on deaf ears.

You took the job at your salary. Complaining about what other people make is not going to get you anywhere with management.

Instead, I would justify a raise. Write it up, make a presentation, present your case, ask for your salary increase, and leave behind your report showing what you do and how it was above and beyond. MT podcasts about preparing your own annual review and the associated materials should work wonders for you.

It worked for me.

I have directs that make more than I do. I go into the HR tool and see it for myself. I consider it a mark of my professionalism that I discuss the fact that I am aware of it with my boss, and I let him know that I am not concerned and will work to increase my salary myself based on merit and value, not whatever "fairness" is supposed to mean.

I would remain open to the possibility that your source is not reliable and instead has an agenda.

ipoipo's picture

Hi,
thanks for all the responses. I am hiring another person now. the budgeted figure is 11% higher than my salary.

Remember, I came on board to develop an application. Since then I have taken over the entire architecture and design, and am now running 4 developers. I take the flak if someone messes up or we don't make milestones.

madamos's picture

ipoipo,

I agree with US41. I will add to his comments that there is no rule that says an employee can't make more then their boss. Someone with a very specific skill set may in fact make more than their manager. Market demands for the skill set creates the salary, not a corporate hirearchy. Look at the market for Network Security personnel, then look at the market for Network Managers.

US41 has good advice. If your responsibilities are greater that the salary that your are getting, bring the data to your boss. Sites like [url]http://www.salary.com[/url] can help you determine what you should be making based on the market. Look at other job postings and see if you can get a sense of the salary range.

MadAmos

ipoipo's picture

I'm trying to get the point across that my direct reports don't have nearly the skill set I have. I am in a mentoring position to them.

I was hired to develop an application under one of the people who now reports to me. the project was in shambles and I took over. I am now managing the group and have hired and will hire people who do not have my level of expertise.

US41's picture

[quote="ipoipo"]Hi,
thanks for all the responses. I am hiring another person now. the budgeted figure is 11% higher than my salary.

Remember, I came on board to develop an application. Since then I have taken over the entire architecture and design, and am now running 4 developers. I take the flak if someone messes up or we don't make milestones.[/quote]

11% isn't too bad. I just hired someone who works for me and is less valuable to the operation as a whole who is going to make more than me as well by about the same amount.

Welcome to management.

If you want a pay increase, you are probably going to have to put together a document and a presentation, and you are going to have to have your manager's undivided attention and express exactly why you deserve more money based on your own responsibilities increasing and your own exemplary performance.

If you bring up that others make more than you as justification for your raise, it is potentially a major political blunder. You will possibly be seen as being petty and jealous, and they may leave you at your current pay grade and salary thinking that your behavior nullifies your skills and knowledge.

We get the pay that we negotiate when we are hired. Years of service and expertise don't count for much in getting a pay increase when you are in management. Productivity increases, creative improvements to operations, excellent planning, good hiring, good training, good coaching, better results, professional development, and doing a good job of presenting and documenting these sorts of things do.

ipoipo's picture

Well, guess my bridges are burnt. I have received quite a number of responses to my Monster post, so it might be time to knot my belongings in a spotted hanky and move on.
Thanks everybody.

terrih's picture

[quote="US41"]If you bring up that others make more than you as justification for your raise, it is potentially a major political blunder. You will possibly be seen as being petty and jealous, and they may leave you at your current pay grade and salary thinking that your behavior nullifies your skills and knowledge.[/quote]

I can vouch for that, having been on the receiving end of such a complaint. Still gets my back up just thinking about it. :?

ipoipo's picture

My salary should have been adjusted the moment I took over the team and the project. I waited three months and then my latest report told me over a beer what he was making. That was the last straw.

I have always paid on merit. I can see no justification for their actions.

terrih's picture

You are right that they have been taking advantage of you. I was only agreeing with US41 on the approach to take and not to take.

It should not be about comparisons between you and other employees. Your negotiation should be solely about the change in your role and responsibilities, and how well you've been handling them.

TPTB don't apparently think of you as a manager or you would have been TOLD what your DRs make. At least that's been my experience.

Why did you wait three months? (Not saying I might not have done the same, because I often have more faith in others than perhaps I should.)

ipoipo's picture

I waited 3 months because of an ill-founded trust in people. I had a meeting with my director the very first day I took over the team and waited for him to get back to me.

I love the job, but I also have to face myself in the mirror in the mornings.

cwcollin's picture

Is it possible that he is expecting to resolve this for you in the next pay cycle but that the two of you have not discussed it?

US41's picture

My experience is that if you don't have access to the salaries of the people on your team, you are not their manager. You are a "team lead" or "technical lead" and are not considered management.

As a result, they may expect you to show them your management ability and impress them over the period of about a year before they make your role official and actually push the people under you in the HR tool your company uses.

I know what all of my folks make. I set the pay of the people I hire. The team leads in our group do not, and are not considered management. They are considered as being given an opportunity to prove themselves and grow into managers.

ipoipo's picture

I have "come in from the cold" so to speak. Ever since leaving grad school and the military, I have been a self-employed manufacturing consultant. I have taught in academia, have been published and am a field-commissioned military officer. I have, however, not really held corporate management positions, except in rare occasions when I have attempted to enter corporate life.

I will never be considered a diplomat, and I am direct to the point of subordination. I have found corporate management more precarious than an Angolan minefield....

Guess it is time to go back to being a business/manufacturing consultant, eh?
:D

jhack's picture

Whatever you do, the question remains: what do you want to be when you grow up?

If you want to be a manager, you have to do what the job requires, not what you'd like to do. Being a good manager means being diplomatic at times, along with a host of other activities. If you don't want to do the things the job requires, that's fine. But it's your choice, and the problem is not with management.

John

US41's picture

[quote="ipoipo"]I will never be considered a diplomat[/quote]

I have said this about myself many thousands of times, and others have said it about me many thousands of times. And sometimes I could be more diplomatic.

However, by learning the DISC and pushing down my D behaviors and pushing up my I and S behaviors, I am now considered a top pick to manage escalations with irate internal and external customers.

There was a time when assigning me to calm down an irate customer would have been considered a firing offense. Now I am sought after for these sorts of activities and my reputation is changing.

You need three things to change that self-image:

* Skill
* Knowledge
* Desire

You need to know how to do it. You need to practice doing it until you are good enough to pull it off. And, you need to want to do it.

If you have all three, you will be able to do it, no matter how you would behave when you are not thinking about it. People tell me now that the transformation I undergo is very dramatic as my voice softens, speech slows, and I bring my hands in and raise my eyebrows while saying things like Mark recommends, "I am so very sorry. We want you to be happy, and we know you are in charge here and you're going to get your way. But if I may make some suggestions to protect your investment..."

You can do it. Anyone can. That is the power of DISC.

[quote]I am direct to the point of subordination.[/quote]

That is a choice you make, not a permanent condition.

[quote]I have found corporate management more precarious than an Angolan minefield....[/quote]

If it wasn't really hard, it wouldn't pay so much money.

[quote]Guess it is time to go back to being a business/manufacturing consultant, eh?
:D[/quote]

What, and walk away from a puzzle without even finding out if you are capable of solving it?

Surely not.

Mark's picture

I don't think ipoipo was being taken advantage of, though there's not enough information here to be sure.

And, the idea that a company "should" pay more based on a specific incident is incorrect. Notwithstanding that "should" is a very dangerous word in management.

Pay is pretty subjective. It's best to stay frosty about compensation. It's not as personal as it seems.

Mark

Mark's picture

And it sure does sound like we need some casts on compensation, and maybe even on how to get a raise... (for which, a good start below)

"If you want a pay increase, you are probably going to have to put together a document and a presentation, and you are going to have to have your manager's undivided attention and express exactly why you deserve more money based on your own responsibilities increasing and your own exemplary performance."

True story: when I was working for Mike as a consultant, an individual contributor came to me and said he wanted a raise, and was going to go talk to his boss.  I could see the trainwreck coming, so I told him how to get a raise...the right way.  [Look, a bad ask is DANGEROUS.]

He went to his boss with my presentation, and his boss was WOWed.

With the presentation.

He didn't give the guy the raise.. and, it wasn't deserved.  The boss later came to me and said, look at what this guy DID!  And I said, uhhhhh, I did that.

And he said, "AHA!"  It was a great moment for all of us. :-))))

SO: you sure as heck aren't going to get a raise if someone who got a WOW for his effort at presenting didn't get one, while you DON'T have a good presentation.

More soon.

Mark

DPWade's picture

The presentation method worked for me under this circumstance, and fortunately I planned it for a month prior in detail, waited for my VP's best mood to occur and after putting it on a whiteboard in his office, erased it and handed him a paper copy as support to go upstairs with.  I got a promotion and a 28% hike that day (I was way underpaid before it).

On the other hand,

I know of No NFL Head Coach that doesnt have the salaries and endorsement deals of most of his players (directs) yet he gets to scream and belittle them on National TV after a fumble.  Coaches have no problem with that fairness tradition, why should we?

Mark's picture

Because we're professionals, through and through, and many of them are not.

Mark

DPWade's picture

Good answer. ;)