I keep my LinkedIn (professional social media platform; sort of like a glorified online resume/CV) and my CV current every month (just a minor change if needed, make sure I didn't miss any typos), just in case I ever find myself out of work (paranoid about being laid off due to surviving 8+ rounds of layoffs at various companies over the past 10 years). I've been pressing for a promotion at work because I've been working a couple levels higher than my pay grade (i.e. doing the work of much more senior engineers), and even do a fair bit of management and planning work for my boss (claims to be extremely busy these days, but he seems burnt out, and often borderline drunk/slurring during Zoom meetings).

I got an e-mail last Friday indicating that I just earned two significant promotions. Normally these would each equate to a 10% - 15% pay raise (a 21% - 32% raise overall). When I finally get to do my annual checkin with my boss, I'm told it will just be a 5% raise "due to COVID" (our company is doing great, and is an essential service; I don't believe him). I raise my concerns, they are dismissed as me "not knowing a good thing when it crosses my desk", and my boss "lets me off easy" by giving my the 5% raise and not escalating the issue any further. After work, I polish up my LinkedIn profile to show all the awards I've received the past 2 years, make it very obvious I received multiple promotions in "one shot", and update my job titles, experience, technologies I've worked with or mastered, etc. Because I changed job titles, it triggers LinkedIn to announce my "new job" to all of my contacts/friends.

I'm called into my boss's office Monday morning, and get chewed out for "exaggerating my skills" and "disclosing new/strategic technology and initiatives" (giving competitors a hint about what direction our company is taking by highlighting new/important tech we're researching for use in products). I respond with:

If that info is wrong, please e-mail me a list of the "exaggerated" items, and I'll consider modifying the entries. As far as I see, that's an appropriate summary of my skills and responsibilities. Also, I'm just listing technologies I learned in my spare time to be good at my job (TerraForm, Kubernetes, AWS), for which the company wouldn't pay for my training, but required the skills. Those stay up! Also, why does it matter what my CV says? I don't plan to leave any time soon: is the company worries a competitor will make me an offer or something?

My boss warned me again (at another meeting 2 hours later) to take it down, so I recorded the meeting (not uncommon), and asked if he could please e-mail me specifics, or if I should just go on his "advice" in the meeting recording? Now he's being quite rude in his meetings with me, and keeps trying to call me to remind me I should take down the "offending content", but won't put anything in writing.

What should I do at this point? Do I bring in HR, or is it likely they just fire me because it's less paperwork?

Admittedly I WOULD like to take a new job offer, but I earn a fair bit more than what most companies offer in my locale (especially during a pandemic). Canada has notoriously low tech sector wages unless you're working for a large US-based company like Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.; and even then, you still need to work your way up the ranks before you can get a "real wage" (i.e. afford to buy somewhere to live rather than renting for the rest of your life).

ALSO, every "pay raise" I've earned has been a new job offer I receive via LinkedIn to work with another company, so it's VERY important to me that I keep it accurate and current.


My goals:

  • Keep my personal life personal (employer has no right to demand changes to social media profile if it's ethical, non-abusive, etc.).
  • Keep my current job (though, my severance agreement is great, so if they try and dismiss me for a BS reason, it's easy to bleed them at least 18 months of pay).
  • Keep my LinkedIn profile current (has helped me make a lot of $$$, connections, etc.).
  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Nov 19 '20 at 12:46

Learn to pick your battles. Except for the new job title, revert your changes to your LinkedIn profile.

In the scheme of things, LinkedIn is not that critical for you right now. Update your resume. That's what really matters. And send it out confidentially to different companies.

I know you said you're not interested in looking for a new job, but I do think it's in your financial best interest to see what offers you might be able to get in this current climate.

And ideally, I think you should look for another job when you're still employed. That's why I think you should stop butting heads with your boss. There is no winning that game. The best way for you to win is to revert some of those LinkedIn changes and it's to find a higher paying job elsewhere.

Because I changed job titles, it triggers LinkedIn to announce my "new job" to all of my contacts/friends.

You're probably aware of this already, but just in case you aren't, there is an option on LinkedIn not to notify everyone in your network when there is a title/job change.

I'm told it will just be a 5% raise "due to COVID" (our company is doing great, and is an essential service; I don't believe him)

Not me. I do believe him. Pay raises are not just factored on the profits of a company, but they're often based on the amount of money an employee could get elsewhere. Hence, during this time of Covid-19, it may be more difficult for you to find an equivalent or better job elsewhere.

My goals:

You're angry right now. Anger can be a very good thing. Anger can help us leave bad situations.

However, don't let your anger shortcircuit careful planning. Take a deep breath. Don't do anything you'll regret in a few days. Make sure you leave your company on your own timetable, and not because you fought your boss so overtly.

Keep my current job (though my severance agreement is great, so if they try and dismiss me for a BS reason, it's easy to bleed them at least 18 months of pay).

I know it's easy in Canada, but is it really going to be fun? Or even good for your career? No, it's not. Your career will be stagnating some of that time. And because of Covid-19, traveling on a nice long vacation right now may not be the best idea.

  • 1
    FWIW I wanted it to be announced (i.e. "light a fire under their ass"). If they think I'm only worth a 5% raise, let's see what their competitors think of such a promotion (after all, they don't know how much my raise was). – Bass Nov 17 '20 at 22:59
  • ut they're often based on the amount of money an employee could get elsewhere. That's depressing. – Bass Nov 17 '20 at 23:18
  • 1
    @Bass, I didn't mean to give you depressing news. However, I still think you should look for a job elsewhere. Personally, I actually have no idea how the market is for your skills right now. And it's best not to speculate, but just to give it a try. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 17 '20 at 23:23
  • @Bass You could just remove your boss from your contact list. You obviously don't have a good working relationship with your boss. – Donald Nov 18 '20 at 21:25
  • @Donald, Maybe later, but I don't think that would be a good idea right now when his boss currently has his LinkedIn profile on his mind. Besides, even if he removed his boss, his boss is probably a second-degree contact. And even if his boss wasn't a second-degree contact, I doubt the OP would want to make his profile private to the public, that would defeat his purpose of having other employers potentially discover his full profile with his latest full job description. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 19 '20 at 4:23

Here's the thing about staying at your current job or searching for a new one: At the end of the day, it's your choice, not your boss's. Your boss can influence your choice by treating you well and making you want to stay, or treating you poorly and giving you incentive to leave. It sounds like his reaction to seeing that you may be thinking of leaving is the latter, which does not bode well (for him, or for you if you intend to not actually leave).

Regarding the pay increase, you stated that the company is paying you above market; it is possible that the company realized during covid that they can't continue paying their staff above market and they're "only" giving you a 5% raise instead of the 15-20% that you are "entitled to" because that would bring you in line with market price. However, for you, you are taking a lot more responsibility with very little additional pay, and that's not good for you. It's possible they're being reasonable; it's also possible they're screwing you. But once again, the facts don't really matter; what matters is how you see them and whether or not that, subjectively, makes you want to leave the company or not. It would certainly make me think about wanting to maybe leave anyway; whether I would or not I'm not sure but it would at least ramp up the probability a nonzero amount.

Regarding the LinkedIn thing, without seeing what you wrote, it's hard to tell. In general, don't put confidential information anywhere online. If you said "I am building a specialized XYZ widget to do cutting edge research in ABC technology to release a product in summer 2021", that's probably no bueno and you should take it down. If you are saying "I managed a system using Kubernetes", that's probably OK and your boss is overreacting. What you actually wrote is probably somewhere in the middle. You should not ask your boss what the problem is though; you should know what the problem is, if there is one. Realize though that if you put something that's too public on your profile, future employers might see you as untrustworthy with their IP and that might hurt you, so err on the side of general where possible (plus, most recruiters, who are the ones actually looking at your profile, are nontechnical people; they don't know the difference between a Docker container and a VirtualBox machine, so putting in too much detail is pretty useless anyway, stay general).

Keeping a LinkedIn profile and keeping it up to date is important. In case you get fired or laid off, you don't want to suddenly have to remember 5 years of contributions to back-edit your profile. Editing your profile periodically so you know what you did is important, so that's good, and should not be strange at all. Let your boss know this is just your standard habit and doesn't mean you're leaving the company; if he trusts you then he should accept that, and if he doesn't believe you then you have bigger problems and should probably reconsider staying at this company in the first place.

As for the more detailed information, if you insist on having it, put it on your "paper" resume (not linkedIn profile). Most job applications, as I'm sure you're aware, give you the option (if not requirement) of attaching a proper resume instead of or in addition to a LinkedIn profile. In addition to your resume being private and not seen by your boss, your resume is also more likely to get read by a technical person who knows and can be impressed by your technical contributions anyway; that's where that stuff should live. As a caveat though, even on your private resume, don't put down anything that could be considered a breach of your NDA; even if you don't think your company will ever see it or know about it, the fact is they could and that could land you in a lot of hot water. So even on your resume, keep it general where possible.

  1. Social media is for preteens. As you can see it leads to nonsensical situations. As an adult professional, never use social media again.

  2. Regarding the recent tribulations at your current job. Unfortunately, as an employee the one and only choice one has is to stay or leave. If they suck, leave today.

  • 17
    This is social media, goofy. – mxyzplk Nov 18 '20 at 1:44
  • Hmm, appreciate the humour but not in the usual industry definition, no. – Fattie Nov 18 '20 at 2:05
  • 7
    @Fattie, What industry definition? This one? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media And according to your own definition, is LinkedIn even considered social media instead of a professional network? – Stephan Branczyk Nov 18 '20 at 6:17
  • 3
    This answer might not directly answer the question but it is correct about social media being a waste for adult professionals. – sf02 Nov 18 '20 at 14:26
  • @sf02 LinkedIn is the only reason I'm in my job right now. I'm making almost double what I was. I don't treat LinkedIn as social media though. I treat it as my online resume. – MiniRagnarok Nov 20 '20 at 16:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .