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I love my job but I've been looking at other opportunities because I know I'm underpaid.

A few months ago, my manager had a very open conversation with me about how much the company values me & that they want to promote me & bring me up to market-value salary range, but they can't until December because of a strong company policy not to give raises outside of December. (This manager wasn't the same one I had when I initially started, and he seems to understand the competitive market for software developers a lot more than my old boss).

I asked for a one-time bonus to help improve my current year compensation package but was turned down.

This week (completely out of the blue) my manager told me he got me approved me for a decently significant raise, effective immediately beginning next month. This (supposedly) won't affect the raise they have planned for me in December. I expressed a thank you but I was pretty thrown off by it.

  • Do I need to be concerned that my manager somehow knew I was looking to leave? The timing is way too on-the-mark with my job search, as I only seriously started looking a couple of weeks ago.

  • If they really value me so much, WHY would a company risk having me leave because of this "Dec-only policy" (which is pretty real, as I've heard about multiple times), only to change their mind & break their own rules two months later?

  • Now that my salary concerns have been mainly resolved, I'm (happily) stopping my job search. In theory I'd love to tell my manager that he literally just stopped me from leaving, but I imagine that's a taboo thing to ever say to your boss. Is there any other way I can give him a hint to that, or just to express gratitude beyond the small, surprised "thank you" that I gave when he told me? (This question is related but his question was only for future situations. Mine is for how to express further gratitude beyond what I already said.)

  • At least for the second point, they probably realized that their "Dec-only policy" could backfire and they really did value you enough to change their minds. – thursdaysgeek Jul 17 at 0:13
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Do I need to be concerned that my manager somehow knew I was looking to leave?

No you need not.

At this point it's not relevant if they somehow found out about that, as you already got the raise. It could have been, perhaps, that they felt you a bit demotivated and that inspired them to give you a raise.

If they really value me so much, WHY would a company risk having me leave because of this "Dec-only policy" (which is pretty real, as I've heard about multiple times), only to change their mind & break their own rules two months later?

The real reasons only they know, however, seems to me that your question answers itself: because they value you, they changed their mind on the Dec-only policy, and decided not to follow it.

In theory I'd love to tell my manager that he literally just stopped me from leaving, but I imagine that's a taboo thing to ever say to your boss. Is there any other way I can give him a hint to that, or just to express gratitude beyond the small, surprised "thank you" that I gave when he told me?

Don't say that to your boss, nor try to hint it. You have nothing to gain from saying that at this point.

However, expressing gratitude can be done, and if you feel like giving it, go for it.

I would suggest you approach your boss at their office, and ask for a brief private time. There you can say something on the lines of (no need to elaborate much, feel free to tailor to your style/context):

Hello, boss. Last day I was a bit surprised by the news you gave me, and I feel I wasn't able to thank you for that. So... thank you for the raise, I appreciate it, and am looking forward to continue to contribute to this great company.

4

It sounds to me like your manager values your work, recognises you were underpaid (as he's already spoken to you about an upcoming pay rise), and realised that you are not happy with it (otherwise he wouldn't have spoken to you about a planned pay rise that's months away, and he'll certainly recognise the effect on your morale of the bonus being turned down).

If they really value me so much, WHY would a company risk having me leave because of this "Dec-only policy" (which is pretty real, as I've heard about multiple times), only to change their mind & break their own rules two months later?

I expect your manager has gone and fought behind the scenes to make this happen. He was initially turned down, but since he values your work he kept pushing, and two months later he succeeded in getting your pay rise approved.

Remember that "the company" isn't some hive mind of managers. It's a collection of people, all with their own goals, targets, and internal politics. They won't all be of the same opinion all the time.

I'd love to tell my manager that he literally just stopped me from leaving, but I imagine that's a taboo thing to ever say to your boss.

Sure is. Nothing good can come of it. You can find some time for a one on one with him though, and tell him that you appreciate the work he did in getting your raise approved and that you expect it can't have been easy.

That's further than most people would go, and he'll probably be happy with it - everyone likes being told they're appreciated for hard work.

  • great answer - what about the 2nd part of the question for how to express gratitude for that? – giraffe36 Jul 17 at 0:21
  • @giraffe36 I realised after I posted that I'd missed that part out, so I edited it in – Player One Jul 17 at 0:28
  • gotcha thank you – giraffe36 Jul 17 at 0:43
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Do I need to be concerned that my manager somehow knew I was looking to leave? The timing is way too on-the-mark with my job search, as I only seriously started looking a couple of weeks ago.

Why would you be concerned about whether or not they know you've been looking around? If you feel that their knowing puts you in a position of power then let them think whatever they want so long as it motivates them to address your salary issues

If they really value me so much, WHY would a company risk having me leave because of this "Dec-only policy" (which is pretty real, as I've heard about multiple times), only to change their mind & break their own rules two months later?

Companies are only going to pay you what they can get away with paying you, which is to say that they'll only pay you what you're willing to accept. It sounds like your new manager realizes that you were underpaid related to the value you bring, didn't want to risk losing that, and pushed to get you this "out of policy" raise.

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