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Last week, I came into my boss's office and found him playing a game (NES Play Action Football) on his computer. I made a casual joke about it, since this is the 3rd time I had seen him play it.

He then admitted that he had a problem with addiction and played it 6 hours a day at the office. He begged me not to tell his boss. I assured that I didn't care, and that I wouldn't tell him.

Today, my boss brought me into his office and told me that he was giving me a $10k raise, because I am a "very good and faithful employee". I was very surprised (especially since raises are usually given out at the end of the year), but thanked him.

After I got home, I realized that this raise might have something to do with that stupid game he's playing and my agreeing to be quiet about it. I can really use the money, but I am now getting nervous that this is somehow going to look like I'm blackmailing him. I really don't care that he plays that game.

Is it appropriate to just take this raise without asking any further questions? Is this something that needs to be discussed with HR?

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    I've heard of people obtaining raises in worse ways.. accept it and move on. Talk to him about his addiction though, sounds unhealthy – pm1391 Apr 26 '18 at 4:52
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    @pm1391 agree, although I am not sure if approaching such personal subjects would be recommended... or at least not lightly (surely worthy of another question, if not one out there already) – DarkCygnus Apr 26 '18 at 4:58
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    You could also just take the raise and leave it at that... The addiction to the games is the boss' boss problem not yours imo – L_Church Apr 26 '18 at 7:46
  • It's not like you blackmailed him. If he wants to offer you a bribe to keep silent about something you were going to keep silent about anyway, then it's a win:win situation. If giving such a raise is within his authority, justifying it isn't your concern. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Apr 26 '18 at 13:13
  • Accept the raise. Ask him if there's something you can do to help him minimize 6 hours of gaming WHILE in the office. Perhaps cut it down slowly and actually be productive. – Isaiah3015 Apr 26 '18 at 14:53
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Is it appropriate to just take this raise without asking any further questions? Is this something that needs to be discussed with HR?

Although I must admit this is a really strange coincidence, there are fewer chances that you were offered a 10K raise just because this incident.

I don't know the specifics of your company, but usually bosses can't just give away 10k raises without having to go throughout some procedure: inform HR about the decision, inform Finances about the change in salary, inform his boss about the raise, etc.. Thus, it is unlikely he is doing this to ensure you don't tell about this situation.

I don't see why not accept the raise.

However, it would be wise to ask if this raise includes new/more responsibilities than the ones you currently have, so you are aware of any adaptations you must take.

  • Playing 6 hours in the office is not okay at all, and 10k for the boss means nothing as compared to his own salary. – Ali786 Apr 26 '18 at 6:58
  • @Ali786 you are right, 6 hours could be quite much time to play. It could be an exaggeration, but if not this is serious game addiction. However, you don't know that boss's salary for sure, and still doesn't necessarily mean that the raise was offered to cover for that situation. The boss's addiction, if any, and it's treatment is on a different scope than the one this question has. – DarkCygnus Apr 26 '18 at 7:07
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Is this something that needs to be discussed with HR?

What is the impact on your job if you do so? Think of your reputation at colleagues, think what happens if your boss can stay - then you are no longer the faithful employee but the next one to leave.

The first step is to talk to this boss, ask him why you got the raise, explain you don't feel good about it if it's to keep you silent. Obviously you have a good relation to him to talk about those things, as he told you about his addiction.

Then suggest him to find some help with his addiction. Tell him you don't want him to get into trouble because of this game if somebody else finds out (if you really don't want that) and you don't want another boss.
Make clear it's not YOU who tells someone but you caught him playing and this could and will happen again with anybody else at any time including boss's boss.
Depending on his level of addiction it could help to simply remove the game from his computer.

Another thing to make clear is, could it be suspicious to get a raise in this amount at this time? If bosses notice it, what would they do? Use this as a second argument. Maybe you can agree to some lower raise at appropriate time?

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If your manager wastes his time, but it doesn’t affect you in your enjoyment of the workplace and in your reputation, then it is the companies problem, not yours.

If you go to HR, it won’t end well for you. If you got a huge raise out of it, then going to HR could mean you lose the raise on top of that.

Ask your partner what they think about it. Or your bank manager. Or the shop owners in your area where you can spend your raise. But mostly ask your partner. My wife would slap me silly if I didn’t take that raise.

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