I’ve been happily employed with the same company for the past 16 years. My salary has always been under market. I didn’t mind for the first few years because I needed to have a job in this area while my wife went to grad school. After she was done with school I was still happy with my low salary because the bonuses were going up. A few years later the bonuses reached a really nice level and I was very happy with my total pay.
Recently my boss has decided to retire and they are promoting me to head R&D. Great right? No. My boss is retiring because he doesn’t want to put up with shit from the head of sales anymore. The head of sales is also one of the 4 owners. So the board in their infinite wisdom has decided to give oversight of R&D to this bitch.
She smiles to my face and tells me she’s giving me a fifteen thousand dollar raise (turned out to actually be 14,800). I say “that’s great but what’s happening with the R&D bonus?” Her response is they are terminating it. The R&D bonus has been worth about 30 grand to me for the last few years. I also just learned that since R&D is over paid, we have been excluded from the most recent corporate bonus. I haven’t found out yet if that’s a permanent change or a one time exclusion. I have to assume its permanent because her MO is to try to pay the least she can get away with. The corporate bonus has been worth about fifteen grand to me. So, with my promotion, I got a fifteen thousand dollar raise and a 45,000 dollar bonus cut for a net loss of 30 thousand.
When I joined the company 16 years ago, the company was barely surviving. Bank auditors were in every month going over the books. The plant was generally operating at 20-30 percent. The bonus plan was an incentive to try to build the business. We’ve done that and in the process we made a good amount of money and we made the owners millionaires. The head of sales makes a salary of 300 grand and that’s just salary. She probably makes another 2 or 3 hundred grand in owner dividends yet we’re the ones who are making too much.
I’ve also recently learned they’re pulling the same shit on production. Production employees have worked tons of overtime. Remember, capacity is maxed out so a lot of people are having to pull double shifts. So, their bonuses are getting cut so their pay is more in line with what they think ‘production’ workers should make.
In the last month I’ve gone from believing my company was interested in rewarding success to believing they want to pay us the least amount they can get away with. I really hate the idea of having to uproot my family and move across the country. I also hate the thought that I have to make a power play. They would be fucked if I quit, but to make such a move I have to have a job lined up and be prepared to move in case my play fails. Even if my power play succeeded I’d still be with a company that I now believe wants to pay me as little as possible. Fuck. That’s really the bottom line, regardless of the actual dollar figure I make, a company that wants to reward success makes me happy, a company that wants to cap pay makes me want to quit.