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Thursday, August 5, 2010

my manager refuses to give me better pay or better hours

A reader writes:

I have been working at the same job going on four years and I am still part-time. This would not really bother me other than the fact that there are a few guys, younger than myself, who get better hours and better pay and haven't been there nearly as long as I have.

It's not that I don't work, I bust my butt every single day and my manager sees this, but still refuses to put me on full-time or give me a better wage. The only reason I can think of why these other guys are getting everything over me is because they are just like my manager, they drink, party, etc. I do not do any of these things.

I've approached him a few times about a better wage or full-time, every time it's the same about the wage, "the company can't afford it." This I understand. The thing that gets me with this is when I ask about being put on full-time, he tells me there is a "hiring freeze" and he cannot. Then a week or so later there is a new guy/lady working full-time making better money than myself and they are not worth a cuss. They won't work and they are all ARROGANT! I'm at my wits end!

What should I do? Should I stick it out here or quit? I'm in college and barely making it right now, money-wise, but I have time to work more, but as I said my manager refuses to help me out!

Something's going on here, but I don't know what it is. Your manager clearly isn't being straight with you -- telling you there's a hiring freeze and then hiring someone else a week later, and not even bothering to come back to you to explain. The fact that he doesn't circle back to you to provide some sort of context sends a pretty disrespectful message.

If you want to give it one final shot, you can say to your manager: "I'm confused. When we've talked in the past about the possibility of me going full-time, you've told me there's a hiring freeze, but each time someone new has been hired soon after that. This makes me think that something else is going on -- is it something about my performance or something that you'd like to see me doing differently? I'd really like feedback if it is." And if he denies there are any performance problems, then say, "Can you tell me what I can do to work toward full-time hours?"

It's possible that you'll learn something you didn't know, about something he doesn't like about your work. But I wouldn't count on it -- it sounds like this guy is either (a) a wimp who can't bring himself to tell you that the quality of your work isn't good enough or (b) a jerk who just doesn't like you and is setting your hours and pay based on that.

At some point, you need to assume that nothing will change, since all signs are screaming that pretty loudly and really, it's been four years. And so you need to answer this question for yourself: Assuming that nothing is ever going to change, do you want to stay or leave? For all I know, maybe you want to stay anyway. Maybe you like the work well enough, despite these aggravations, that the answer is to accept that nothing is going to change but that you're going to continue working there anyway. 

But if not, then why on earth wouldn't you look elsewhere? After all, you can't make your manager do what you want, but you do have power in this situation -- the power to decide whether or not to accept what he's offering you. 

Often in these situations where people feel angry and feel mistreated, they lose sight of the fact that they do (usually) have options, and I think that's happening here. If you don't like what's being offered, go out there and see what other offers the world has for you. You might find one you like a lot better -- or you might decide that you'd rather stay put, despite the current terms. But you'll be picking it deliberately, rather than just accepting it by default and feeling frustrated.


Surya said...

Do you spend more hours to do the same work that your colleagues finish in lesser hours?

Are you someone who helps colleagues out always - even if the help is time consuming and not really value adding - as in, you cannot say you did such and such project with so and so but you did help out so and so here and there?

Do you spend a lot of time with your colleagues where you brain storm with them on their projects?

Do they ever give you credit for all the work you do with them?

If you answered No to all of the above, then seems like your manager is a jerk.... sometimes headcount get approved and may be if he moves you to full time position he cannot hire someone to work part-time, but he can still have and hire for full-time positions? He is then looking out for the head count in his department than for yourself.

Start looking... I know it is tough but even the act of trying to find a work place that values you would make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would you stay? I am sure that your good work ethic and lack of vices would be attractive to a lot of employers. Look elsewhere! You may be surprised!

Anonymous said...

We had a similar situation at our company.Sometimes it has nothing to do with the manager not being straight-forward. We were under what was supposed to be a company-wide hiring freeze and despite having an open position and a need to fill it, our manager was told that we could not fill it. Meanwhile, other depsrtments were allowed to fill their open positions. Our manager asked, but was never given an explanation for why this was happening.

The duties covered that position were divided among the rest of the department, including a part-time team member. This person had asked about being brought on full-time, and that would have been a great solution. This person worked really hard and did a good job but had a problem getting to work for the part-time hours scheduled for them. Both me and my manager counseled this person on their attendance, because when they were there, they were an excellent employee.

At each quarterly review, this person would ask about being brought on full time. This brought on the discussion on attendance and one very frank conversation about being able to work the shift scheduled before adding any additional hours. By the second or third meeting like this, the employee's performance began to suffer considerably and we had to let them go.

This, coupled with the unexplained hiring going on in other departments,I'm sure looks less than straight forward.

The original poster might not be giving you the full picturs.

Kerri said...

It seems to me that this person has a bit of an attitude/maturity problem: "Then a week or so later there is a new guy/lady working full-time making better money than myself and they are not worth a cuss. They won't work and they are all ARROGANT!"

It's not the fault of the new hires that the boss is not being direct with this person. The fact that they are practically shouting about how horrible everyone is but them leads me to believe that they are the problem.

That being the case, though, the manager should say something and not string the employee along.

R.B. said...

I'm curious as to how the OP knows other people make more money. Is that something discussed when you're new in a job?

Either way, the boss is definitely not giving good feedback.

Anonymous said...

I don't know necessarily if it's a maturity problem. It sounds like frustration, and in frustration/anger, the OP chose harsh tones. But of course, neither one of us knows the real deal and can only interpret different ways.

However, that being said, I'm curious as to how often this has happened. Was this a one time incident or has this happened on numerous occasions? And how well does the OP know about the hiring process and how long a position is advertised for? There are so many factors here, it's hard to determine. But the manager should be clearer in his answers to the OP; the OP deserves that much.

Street Philosopher said...

Could be the case that part-time vs. full-time is dependent on a college degree. This would not necessarily be the fault of the OP...I know many very intelligent people who haven't been able to finish their degrees for many reasons. That still precludes them from certain positions de-facto. This should be a pretty obvious and easy fix for a supervisor to answer and speak to, however.

Anonymous said...

It's called 'managing out.'

Anonymous said...

A couple ideas:
The "new guy/lady working full-time making better money than myself and they are not worth a cuss": how long do these new hires stay there at full-time? The company may be simply trying to avoid paying benefits. They hire temp workers that they don't have to give benefits to, either dismissing them or bumping down their hours if they stay on too long. Whereas if your hours get bumped up, since you've already been there so long, they'd have to pay out benefits immediately.

Or, could it have something to do with your student status? Either as Street Philosopher said above, but also possible paradoxically the opposite: maybe your manager may feel that your coursework would interfere with the job, and they want someone with undivided priorities at full-time? (Regardless of whether or not they have some prior specific cause in your case -- it could just as easily be their own preconceived notions about students rather than anything specific you've done.)

IMHO in any case I'd at least look into alternatives. (Discreetly!)

Anonymous said...

At my organization we have different budget lines for different types of positions, so it could (and does) happen that there is no money for extra part-time persons (or extra hours) but there is money to hire someone full-time.

That said, if this is the case, it certainly needs to be explained as clearly as possible whenever the issue comes up.

Anonymous said...

You've been there for four years??

You're a masochist. Go and find another job where you will be treated better.