I previously started a conversation with my boss about a promotion and pay raises (becoming a team lead that we need). From my perspective I am the best on our team doing the work of 2-3 other team members. I have stepped up and taken responsibility's off my managers plate. I've built tools and processes that make the entire team better.

When talking to him today he expressed disappoinment that I haven't gone more "above and beyond". He used examples of when he first joined such as working 10 hours extra consistently or programming tools for the company in his off time. He is very happy with my work but considers everything I have done to be part of the job I was hired to do.

Am I right to have the perspective that being the absolute best at my job is above and beyond? If so, how can I explain/ defend that what I have done is above and beyond, or at least that what I've done qualifies me for the promotion and raise.

  • 6
    Do you have offers from outside for more money?
    – Aida Paul
    Jun 8, 2020 at 23:58
  • 1
    I do not: I've passively looked for other jobs for the past while. I intend to seriously start looking after this conversation.
    – Jason Bobo
    Jun 9, 2020 at 0:08
  • 9
    I've once been told "You are expected to exceed expectations". There's no reasoning with some people. Consider getting an offer.
    – bytepusher
    Jun 9, 2020 at 1:01
  • Is it your contention that doing your job well is equivalent to going "above and beyond"?
    – joeqwerty
    Jun 9, 2020 at 3:36
  • 2
    Extra hours can be done for a lot of things, like being too slow to do it in normal time, being overloaded, being badly organized and so on. So either you're really lacking something, but then your boss should be able to tell what you're lacking, or your boss has the old view that your works is supposed to win over your private life to get promoted. But we can't read mind, you're in a better place than us to guess that.
    – Walfrat
    Jun 9, 2020 at 8:58

6 Answers 6


You can't force your boss to increase your pay, and your boss can't force you to stay with the company. On the other hand, a good boss will try to keep good people, and a pay rise is a very good motivation - no pay rise is "above and beyond" bad motivation for you to stay.

So either your boss genuinely feels that you don't deserve a raise (and since you feel you do, you should be able to find a better job elsewhere), or it is a misguided attempt of your boss to save some money (in which cause you must find a better job elsewhere).

Look for something better, without telling anyone. Once you've signed a contract, you give your notice and then you leave. How your boss reacts to this doesn't really matter except to satisfy your curiosity. If he suddenly offers more money then (a) you absolutely don't accept it, and (b) you now know that you were played and he just tried to save money at your expense. Which means your decision to leave was absolutely correct.


I am not sure that any of this is relevant

Pay is a function of market demand and I speak of pay broadly, whether it be in prestige, power, or money.

You can get into convoluted arguments trying to explain your worth to your boss or you can just go grab an alternative evaluation of your worth from the open market and present him with that.

If you have no particularly special attachment to this company, you might be better off doing the job search bit first so you can determine what your salary should be. An alternative job offer states in concrete terms what your worth is.

  • 2
    Pay is equally a function of power and what people can get away with in an asymmetrical relationship. I think if one is going to go through the trouble of getting "a better offer", it's counterproductive to try to use that as leverage to renegotiate your current job. To a machiavellian boss such a move would be a signal to start looking for your [cheaper] replacement even if they counter-offer successfully. Better to just take the new job offer and say goodbye-- especially if it really is all about compensation.
    – teego1967
    Jun 9, 2020 at 14:48

2 things:

  1. Do you have an agreed set of targets with your boss to meet before your appraisal? If the targets don't quantify what is considered 'above and beyond' then it would be worth setting some time aside with your boss to do that.

  2. If there are similar roles out there, start documenting what you are doing above and beyond. Not only will this help you build a case for your promotion, this will be good material for the cv if you do choose to apply elsewhere.

Also, in my opinion, I don't agree with the bell curve approach of colleagues setting the bar for everyone else. For all we know you could be working half the time as your boss and still being productive.


I'm gonna take another approach than the other: Working overtime and "going above and beyond" (basically, working on holiday, not paid overtime, etc) are not things that should make you better at your work.

I'm not saying "just leave" but you should have a talk with that person to understand why that person think that kind of practice is "acceptable".


I am the best on our team


I haven't gone more "above and beyond"

The two statements are not mutually exclusive. Being the best in your team evaluates you compared to your colleagues. Going "above and beyond" is relative more to what the boss wants.

"Silly" example: one can be the best child in the kinder garden. But that does not make one suitable to be a car driver.

The professional solution: talk to your manager and don't talk about what is behind you. Talk about what lays ahead.

Ask him what are his expectations. Decide on S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Make a plan, what to achieve and when.

Only when things are decided clearly and measurable, claims can be made objectively. Otherwise, it is your feelings against your boss's feelings.


I agree with those who ask if you have a specific set of targets or goals for your position. Anything you've done in addition to those targets and goals is "above and beyond". That being stated, there are still too many bosses out there that think they must see your body in the chair or anything you do doesn't exist. In my experience, most overtime is done by people who didn't or couldn't get their work done in the time allotted. If, however, you are meeting your targets and goals (getting the job done), start tracking the other things that you do that improve your, the company's, and other's work and environment. i.e. Assisted Employee x with abc - Saved company time/$ by implementing new ZYX, weekend computer work alleviating the problem of blah blah. You get the picture. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes with solutions to ongoing problems. While I don't put that specifically in a log, I present the idea and log what I came up with, how to implement, and did it work. If not, how can I make it work? Make sure your boss knows what your efforts and contributions are and do not think he/she should "notice".

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