I was recruited last November in a young company. The CEO promised to give me a raise as soon as I could demonstrate that I can add value.

He also promised to give me the difference between the base salary and the new salary, as if I started with the new salary. Example: If I worked for $100 and after 2 months I got a raise to $120, I would be given $40 as a bonus.

After 4 months of work, I became a reference in my team. I asked the CEO about what he promised, and he told me that usually they do that after 6 months of employment. He was also surprised about the bonus. I waited until the 7th month without getting anything.

I asked why he didn't respect his promise, and he said that he has financial issues. I don't trust this argument much, especially when I see that the company is hiring senior consultants and offering costly training to the employees.

What should I do if he doesn't do what he said that after the 8th month? How should I tell him that I am fed up with his hide & seek game, especially in a culture where direct confrontation is not advised?

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    do you have any of this in writing?
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 20:43
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    Indeed always try to get these things down in a written agreement that you both sign. It doesn't have to be all that formal, but it is a remainder to them what you agreed upon. Keeping track of various promises as a boss is pretty hard, they may simply forget them over time. If it is just your memory versus theirs, then you are lucky if you get that raise.
    – Amarth
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 20:50
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    Man, this reminded me of that quote from the Recruit. "You're making a mistake, son. Let me remedy it. I was on semicongenial terms with you during your recruitment for that reason: I was recruiting you. I'm not your friend. I'm not your ally. I'm your instructor - period.".
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 20:57
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    Did you sign a contract? If not, that's actually good for you. Without a contract, you would be considered a partner. I would consult with a lawyer if I were you. This could prove far more expensive to the CEO than what he originally promised you. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 22:19

5 Answers 5


It may be a long time before you see that money, if you even see it at all.

Because you are already an employee and doing work, the CEO has little incentive to pay you what was promised, and you are seeing that fact play out right now.

Your best opportunity to negotiate was before you joined the company. Promises of bonuses are only as good as the character and reliability of the person making those promises.

How should I tell him that I am fed up with his hide & seek game specially in a culture where direct confrontation is not advised?

The CEO has already given you an answer -- it is unlikely that you will get the money even if you ratchet up the rhetoric.

There are no magic words you can say that will make the CEO change his mind. If he already made you a promise and broken it, there's no reasonable expectation that he will all of a sudden start to act ethically.

You really have two choices:

  1. Continue to work in your current position, and periodically remind the CEO of the money you are owed. It's possible that the CEO will give you the money just to stop the constant reminders.

  2. Look for a new job and negotiate up front exactly the salary and bonus you expect, and get those numbers in writing.

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    Well, there are a few magic words that potentially can change his mind in particular if OP truly has grown to be an important team component: "I've found another job that pays more and hereby I quit", but whether OP wants to stay should CEO change his mind in that case, is another question ;) Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 9:10

What should I do if he doesn't do what he said that after the 8th month?

You should find a new job and move on. At that point it will be clear that he doesn't intend to live up to his promises. That's not someone worth continuing to work for.

How should I tell him that I am fed up with his hide & seek game, especially in a culture where direct confrontation is not advised?

You shouldn't bother. It would be a waste of time.


As soon as he doesn't pay because of "financial issues", your number one priority should be to find a different employer with no "financial issues".

There is no need for "direct confrontation". You find a new job, sign the contract, then you give the legally required notice. No need to tell them anything at all before you give notice. If you're on the phone a lot and your employer complains, you can say "I have motivational issues at the moment because of the financial issues".


You should probably start looking for a new job with equal/greater pay than what you were promised.

To be honest and frank, his argument seems to be BS and he probably just doesn't want to give you the promised raise. There's really no way to tell why, but it seems like you are a motivated individual who can overcome this.


I think the only way you are going to see the money, in a case like this, is if you find a new job (with the level of pay you are looking for) and get an offer. Then, threaten to leave your current company unless they respect the verbal agreement that your boss made when you were hired and back-pay you the money immediately.

Often finding a new job and threatening to leave is the only way that an employee can exert any real pressure on their company. If the new position is good and willing to pay well, then it's really win-win for you - there's nothing to lose. Doing this will also show your boss that you're not a wet blanket and you are able and willing to stand up for yourself.

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    Up to "and get an offer..." this is fine. The continuation isn't. Having a better offer, why would you consider staying with a company with a CEO that has been lying to you and has broken his promises, and which is in financial difficulties? Even if these things were not the case, as soon as you mention a better offer, even if your pay actually increases, your card is marked. You will never go anywhere with that company.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 22:42
  • @gnasher729 the OP might otherwise like the company/coworkers, or think they will gain valuable experience there. No job is perfect, after all. Re. your other point, I've seen people not only threaten to leave, but actually leave a company and then come back 1-2 years later and do very well. I find it hard to reconcile that with your 'card is marked' comment.
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 9:46
  • Besides, even if they don't want to work there, they could still use the 'threatening to leave' leverage to get the company to pay the money, then leave straight afterwards anyway. Sneaky games can be played two ways ;-)
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 9:49

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