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19 replies to this topic

#1 Maddie

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:34 AM

I found out I was under paid (by a lot) considering that I'm a PhD with 15 years of experience behind me.
I also found out that the regulations dealing with salaries here are very fuzy and can end up being very unfair. For exemple, a person hired now for a position X in my team would earn the same amount as a person who's been here for 5 years in this position. I asked the supervisors to raise my salary but it's not happening. The mentality lately is "be happy you have a job and don't complain". I know this is true but I can't help feeling angry and frustated. I take this attitute as a huge lack of respect, especially considering the fact that I do a pretty good job here.
I used to consider this place almost like a second family where people helped and supported each other. Now I am getting bitter and I can't help it. I try to remind myself that my salaray isn't bad. It just kills me to earn less than a colleague with no PhD and 5 years of lab experience. Also, I am a foreigner and can't help feeling that there wouldn't be such problem with an American employee.
What would you do? I guess I should write a letter but I'm not sure I would do a good job at being diplomatic.
I don't want to sound "demanding" as it would backfire, but I also don't want to go on doing nothing.
HELP.
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

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#2 pcrman

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:47 PM

It does sound unfair to you. You should really talk to your boss and ask a pay hike. Many institutes in the US have strict policy regarding equal pay.

#3 leelee

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:22 PM

The very first thing I would do is have a look at your institute/university's pay regulations, and then the regulations of the state you are living in also. Is there some union or employee services that you can contact for help with this?
Find out exactly what your rights are so that you have the information to back you up.

Then I would have another (non-emotional, non-angry) chat with your employer about your concerns, be firm but not agressive. Ask for what you want and then give him/her time to think about it. Have evidence for why you think you are worth this pay rise (ie experience, work successes, work ethic etc), as well as evidence for why it is unfair to continue to pay you less (ie regulations, people with less qual doing same job for more etc). Don't demand an answer straight away. Try not to play the blame game.

You don't say what country you are in, but is there some kind of organisation that deals with employee rights etc that you could talk to? You may need to take it further and they could advise you as to the best avenues to go down.

Of course, if the pay is within the rules and regulations- and there is no chance of a raise, then you need to have a good think about what to do next. If your resentment and bitterness is going to build, you will end up miserable and you don't want to be in a job that you hate going to everyday. You may need to look elsewhere.

And most of all try not to take it personally!

Edit: oh sorry, I see you are from the US in your info now ;) , I don't know much about pay scales and employee rights in the US, but I wish you good luck in getting what you feel you deserve!

Edited by leelee, 02 March 2010 - 08:24 PM.


#4 casandra

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:45 PM

Allez, courage Maddie :P...but haven't you mentioned before that you're working for the US gov't, therefore one would think that the rule regarding equal pay is strictly enforced where you are. Besides, you're probably paid from "hard" funds, hence, the more reason why you shld be paid what is fair and what you deserve. Dispensing salaries from "soft" funds sometimes has the potential for exploitation but that's another story.

As both pcrman and leelee advised, it's better to have another go at negotiating with your supervisors for a pay increase and as pointed out too- do your homework first so you'd have a good position at the bargaining table. If this still doesn't work out then you decide if you want to take it a step further- thru the grievance/arbitration committees but this would be a big official step so be ready with all your documentations as well as for all the hassles this would generate. But whatever you decide--bonne chance...

casandra

ps

it's funny how some people (esp those in THE position) can think or say that we shld be happy to have a job and that we shld just take whatever unfair salary they want to give...ppfftt...I just wonder if they themselves can accept a cut in their salaries?

Edited by casandra, 03 March 2010 - 04:53 AM.

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#5 gebirgsziege

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 11:20 PM

Came across this last week: salery negotiation. Sounds quite good to me, so probably this helps you setting up your letter.

For everything else I can just agree with my previous posters: you should go for another round of negotiations, as this should not happen esp. in governmental institues....I do not know the american system myself, but I would go to our equal-rights-office (or anti-discrimination-office whatever is the right term in English) and ask them for advice, and as last way out ask them to help me officially.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#6 Maddie

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 08:25 AM

Thank you all, very much. Venting is healthy :lol: .
My employer is a contractor for the Army, so I'm not a federal employee with clear GS status unfortunately.
I went to my employer's web page and there is nothing about salary. I just asked info to our HR lady. We'll see if she responds. :(
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

A. Einstein

#7 labrat612

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 12:52 PM

Hi Maddie,

I know exactly how you feel. I had the same feelings--and the comments from the other posters are completely true. One way I dealt with it was to bring it up at my performance review. It is very important to have a rational argument (and non-emotional) and present why you deserve a pay raise (other than it being fair).
Be careful not to use 'I" a lot or "me" as in "I kept your lab functioning" or "My lack of having a life allowed this work to continue". It sounds whiny and makes those listening think that you are defensive.


Hope that helps. Good luck!

#8 Maddie

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:20 AM

My performance reviews are always really good. I have "outstanding" in almost every category.
You're right, I should say I need the raise because of my work and not because I earn less than others with less experience. Thanks a lot. Without your words of advise, I would have totally whined and I should know better.
Strange of stategy. Let's see if it pays...
You guys rock. I'm so glad I found this forum.
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

A. Einstein

#9 Maddie

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 05:51 AM

Hi everyone,

An update on this issue. Answer I got " everybody wants a raise" :P .
Looks like they don't want to understand...what a surprise.
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

A. Einstein

#10 casandra

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:33 AM

c'est pas juste, eh Maddie.....but you'd never know until you ask. At least you were assertive in letting them know what you want. Perhaps, when things get better economically, i.e., they'd give you that salary you deserve. Meanwhile, try not to feel demoralised and focus on doing your job the same way as before (I know, I know- easier said than done :))....goodluck...
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#11 labrat612

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:43 AM

Sorry to hear that Maddie.

But I totally agree with Cassandra- you tried and told them your thoughts.

I don't know your bosses' financial situation, but perhaps money for them is tight at the moment. And all you can do is keep your head up, work hard, and try to the best that you can.
I'm a firm believer in that.

All the best....

#12 Maddie

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:37 AM

Thanks guys. I keep telling myself " be happy you have a job you love".
It's very hard for me to move on if I think something is not fair, but I'm working on it.
Theory is when we know everything and nothing is working. Practice is when everything is working and nobody knows why. Here, we combine theory and practice. Nothing is working and nobody knows why.

A. Einstein

#13 Ameya P

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:37 AM

Hey Maddie,

Its been over an year now. Got a raise yet? Or has the situation gone worse?

Am thinking, if I should ask for a raise :P

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#14 Adrian K

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 03:25 AM

Ameya, if you don't get a raise, what will you do?
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

..."best of our knowledge, as far as we know this had never been reported before, though I can't possible read all the published journals on earth, but by perform thorough search in google, the keywords did not match any documents"...

"what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"---Goddess Casandra reminds me to be strong

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#15 Ameya P

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 09:07 PM

I cant really do anything.... its just been about 6 months into my job (its also my first one).
So I can do nothing about it. But yes, I would like to know and learn how to negotiate salaries for my future. I cant accept (or afford) low wages throughout my life. :D

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