- 2 months ago
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Hey everyone! I’ve got a situation that I would LOVE your advice on. Please weigh in if you have any insight!!
TL:DR – I work for a small company (<10 employees) with two co-owners, have been here for 5.5 years, I do a great job. We are hiring someone new who will have the same position as me, but due to the nature of the job, it takes 6+months to really be able to manage projects in the way that I do, and literally years before you really understand everything well. I have my Master’s degree, he is finishing his so currently only has a BS. I overheard my bosses talking about what to offer the new hire, and it was $4/hr MORE than what they pay me, and $8/hr more than what they offered me 5.5 years ago. I sent a polite email last Tuesday requesting that we discuss compensation and/or they review wages to make sure that compensation between employees is equitable, without referencing what I had overheard specifically. Haven’t heard back. WHAT TO DO?!
Here’s more info on the background and the dilemma. THANK YOU in advance to anyone who can help advise me!
– I’m a wildlife biologist with a master’s degree, in the U.S.
– I’ve worked for 5.5 years for a small environmental consulting company doing wildlife and environmental policy work
– I manage several large project independently, doing wildlife surveys and working with clients (mainly oil and gas companies) and government agencies (BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service, etc)
– It takes quite a while to get enough familiarity with all of our protocols, all of the relevant regulations, establish ties with the clients and regulating agencies, etc – so long-time experience is very important here
– Company is co-owned by two people, and we have 4 permanent biologists on staff. We are hiring a 5th because business has picked up and we are overly busy.
– We are paid hourly and get 1.5x the hourly rate for anything more than 40 hours/week, of which there is quite a lot (the last two weeks, I worked 64 and 53 hours)
– I make $25/hr and in the past 5.5 years, I’ve gotten a $4/hr raise over time (started at $21/hr)
– I don’t know what my coworkers make, and my bosses make all pay-related decisions unilaterally and in secret
– The company has no performance review system or any codified way to have wage discussions
– I can’t switch jobs very easily – my field is very competitive, I live in a smallish town, and I own my home
– I really LIKE my job in general!
– I do a very good job and I’m a friendly, easy-going, flexible person. Basically I’m a great employee TBH.
So! We are really busy right now and are hiring another staff member who will have my same job. He is about my age, early to mid 30s, has a lot of work experience as a biologist, and is finishing his Master’s degree (so, currently just has a Bachelor’s). I overheard my two bosses talking relatively loudly about what to offer him, and they were talking about offering him $29/hr – $4 more than I make. I’m kind of pissed!! I bust my ass at this job and do an excellent job. I currently have a HIGHER degree than him (very important in the sciences). I know the ins and outs of our work. I’m committed to the company. This seems like total bullshit.
So, last Tuesday, I sent a VERY polite email requesting that they use this opportunity (hiring someone else) to review my compensation and make sure it’s equitable to other employees’ and new hires’, relative to our respective contributions to the company, experience, educational background, etc. I listed many of my contributions to the company in a quick but efficient way. It was really, really polite and reasonable. We communicate a lot by email because everyone is in and out of the office, and also I didn’t want to put them on the spot. After I sent the email, I was out of the office last week Wednesday through Friday working in the field, and I am back in the office today. I did not receive any response to my email and no one has brought it up in person.
This is all complicated by the fact that one of my bosses’ mom is dying, she is understandably stressed, and she was out of town most of the week. She (let’s call her Jane) can also be very passive aggressive and quick to irritability. She only sees the bottom line, and she is the one who handles the payroll. She is going to be out of town more this week. The other boss (let’s call him John) is much more committed to making sure employees are happy in their job. I am leaving early Wednesday for a wedding, and when I get back Monday, John will be gone for 2 weeks.
So – what should I do? I was thinking about talking to John tomorrow once Jane is out of town, as I think he may be more receptive. I was thinking about just being honest and telling him that I couldn’t help but overhear some discussion about the new hire (they were talking right outside my office!). That the possibility that a new hire – with no experience here and, for the time being, a less advanced degree – would paid substantially more than me makes me question my role here. And just kind of see what he says. Frankly I don’t think he even knows what my wage is, so I think if he were aware of the situation, he might feel motivated to remedy it. I would try my best to not be accusatory, but just interested in starting a conversation on the topic. IS THAT A GOOD IDEA???!?
I’m sorry this is so long but if anyone has any advice, I’d really appreciate it!! Thank you!!!