I work in the IT/software department of a small company. When I was hired there was no formal performance, salary review process within the company, so I requested in my offer letter to have a formal review scheduled for the end of my 3 month probation period to make sure I was meeting expectations and to discuss a salary increase. Prior to accepting the offer the hiring manager emphasized that the offer salary was temporary and that an increase would be assessed during this review.

My review came and went, actually almost a month late and some painful scheduling with my supervisor, and although I had very little constructive criticism and demonstrated progress and deliverables my salary increase conversation was delayed 3 months. This, according to my supervisor, was to allow for him to complete his budget for the upcoming year and better gauge how much he can afford to allot to salary. He made it clear that an increase was on the horizon due to my contributions being more in line with another team member with a higher salary. For all that my supervisor is good for, his weakness is directly comparing team members and their performance.

At this same time as this review we onboarded a new team member with almost a decade more experience than myself in software development This new hire is great, but he is vastly out performing myself in every metric. I can understand his application of a stronger, more experienced skillset than I have, but he also works outside of office hours regularly, often working on projects throughout the weekends and into the night. I'm a good worker, but I value my life outside of work and generally stick to my 9-5 hours unless otherwise scheduled.

This discrepancy in work hours has contributed to my coworker taking on and delivering more projects that I can keep up with, and this has made a considerable and understandable impression on the management team and my supervisor. Work items that I was previously responsible for now informally pass through him now.

My fear through this is that my chances at advancement in responsibilities and salary are going to be stifled by this coworkers immense contributions during his short tenure. I really don't have the desire or energy to keep up with the hours my coworker works but still want to keep up and stay on track for the increase that was tabled before his hire.

My open ended question here is how can I manage expectations and contributions to make sure I don't get lost in the dust as my coworker continues to outperform and out contribute me as he has been?

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    Is he the same “level” as you? If his title is more senior or he’s getting paid a lot more then outperforming should be expected, if not then you may have a real problem.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 28 '21 at 16:05
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    "almost a decade more experience than myself" ... factoring out the difference in hours, and commenting on his longer experience: I'd say try to learn from him as much as you can
    – Pete W
    Mar 28 '21 at 16:48
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    @acpilot I totally agree with your comment, it was also neutral, why don't you make this comment an answer? I will upvote. Thanks! Mar 28 '21 at 21:30
  • The fool who works over 8 hours is a non-issue. OP should, and we all should, feel only one thing for him: total pity. All he is, and all he will ever be, until the day he dies, is a tool of "the Man".
    – Fattie
    Mar 28 '21 at 23:15
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    @TomTom - I generally agree with you, but you surely know that there are also those who do the hours, but don't get the multiple houses or the sports cars, or anything close to it.
    – Pete W
    Mar 29 '21 at 1:46

Just carry on doing your work. You have already been promised a pay rise, I see no reason here that you won't get it. Comparing people with such a vast experience gap would be stupid.

Your manager is probably watching the new hire for signs of burnout. It's pretty common for people to work extremely hard when they first get a new job and it's a novel experience where they want to impress everyone. It's also pretty common for them to burn out. So managers don't automatically assume the pace will continue and they can neglect others. The trick is to judge whether their burnout leads to a more normal pace or leads to other issues.

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    "I see no reason here that you won't get it." Actually, I do see a reason. He was promised that raise 7+ months ago when he was hired. He should have gotten that raise 4 months ago if they had kept to their word. There is no reason to believe that they will honor their word now, or that they will retroactively pay him the missing raise they haven't paid him for the last 4 months. And since they've hired a more senior engineer, it's not like their budget is shrinking, on the contrary. It's just that his salary is clearly not a priority for them right now. Mar 29 '21 at 1:02
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    @StephanBranczyk thats a possibility as well, that they were just stringing him along, but best to be more positive until you know what is happening. Conjecture of this sort can only lead to frustration or other nastiness and may have no basis in reality.
    – Kilisi
    Mar 29 '21 at 1:26
  • @Killisi, are you implying that they're going to retroactively reimburse him for the promised raise he hasn't been given for the past four months? Because that's a conjecture too, and that's a conjecture that's very unlikely to happen (as I'm sure you already know). Mar 29 '21 at 6:06
  • @StephanBranczyk no I didn't mean that at all. I cannot see that happening.
    – Kilisi
    Mar 29 '21 at 10:51

The next time you negotiate any kind of probation period (assuming you're willing to accept one at all), demand that the raise is written into the contract and that the raise is automatic.

If they don't like your performance after three months, tell them that they can just let you go. That can be their escape clause. If they balk at such a proposal, then you know what their plans were all along.

Disclaimer: With that said, only make this proposal if you're confident in your technical abilities for that job, or confident enough that if you were let go after three months, that you could find another equivalent job without much trouble.

The thing is, they never intended to give you that raise (or if they were going to give you one, it would have been a tiny one). Proof of that is in the way they treated you before they hired that other team member.

This, according to my supervisor, was to allow for him to complete his budget for the upcoming year and better gauge how much he can afford to allot to salary.

You know that's bullshit. Right? He knew about your upcoming raise the day he hired you. If I did the math correctly, that's already 7+ months ago! Do I have that figure correct?

Also, that other team member has 10 years of experience, he's probably already making multiple times the amount of money you're making since you're much more junior than he is and you're still working at your probation-level salary. Somehow, your boss found the money for him, but not you. Yeah, that's bullshit. All of it.

So learn what you can from that senior team member, and frame his arrival as a huge learning opportunity for you, but do look for a job elsewhere. If you want to work at your true market rate without needing to sacrifice your nights and weekends, you're most likely going to need to change employer entirely.

  • 1
    This assumes that the OP would rather be redundant than on their current salary. Unless jobs are very common, that's a dangerous position to take. Far better to remain in work and look for a job on the side, than get laid off for failing your probation and then expect to walk into something better.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 29 '21 at 10:12
  • @StuartF, That's a good point. I've added it to my answer. Mar 30 '21 at 2:30

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