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I'm working as a developer for a company for almost 2 years. I have been an intern for 1 full year, and then got an official offer from them. It was a full time development offer but with lead responsibilities, to lead a small team and the main product of the company.

I did the mistake of accepting the offer straight away without negotiating, and now it has been 3 months with this position. I've realized that the work I'm doing is much more worth than what I'm getting paid, so I feel very bad in my current position. I basically feel that I'm being underpaid, and my coworkers have the impression that I get paid much more due to the amount of work I do.

I want to get paid more but I can't lower my current level and workload because that would be unprofessional. I like my current position but if I continue like this I won't be happy for longer and my motivation will decrease. I would be able to also look for a different job, but I think this position is a good opportunity since I have freedom and a team I can get along with. I've mentioned to my boss about having a performance review, but date has not been decided until now and I feel like I should push for it. For context, it's a growing startup in a big city in Europe.

Taking the above into account, how can I renegotiate my current contract to a better pay that is according to my position? Is it too late for me right now to consider this option?

Is it a good option to be honest in a meeting with my boss and just say "I feel underpaid"?

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    Does this answer your question? How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – gnat
    Sep 28 at 18:55
  • "I've realized that the work I'm doing is much more worth than what I'm getting paid" Are you being asked to do significantly more work than what was part of the offer you accepted?
    – sf02
    Sep 28 at 19:31
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    Never ask for more compensation because you "feel like you deserve more" or even that you need more. Companies are not in the business of being charitable, they are in the business of business. Build a case for why you are worth more by showcasing your accomplishments and also referencing industry data on salaries or even job postings looking for people with your skills and experience. If they still balk at that, move on.
    – jwh20
    Sep 28 at 20:07
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    3 months in is not renegotiating an offer, it's asking for a raise.
    – Theodore
    Sep 29 at 20:58
  • A performance review would be the time to discuss this. You mention one but seem very vague about it. Have they definitely said you're not getting one, or have they agreed in principle, but are just being slow? Pushing for this would seem to make sense.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 1 at 13:24
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Is it a good option to be honest in a meeting with my boss and just say "I feel underpaid"?

No, don't say that. You need to be more strategic about this.

Edit your resume and start putting some feelers out there. That is the first step. It doesn't matter if you don't want to move on. Doing this kind of research will inform your bargaining position.

I'm not suggesting you tell him you're doing this. I'm only just suggesting you do it. This is extremely important you do this, even if you have no intention of leaving.

Is it too late for me right now to consider this option?

It's never too late! You can just say you made a mistake accepting such a low offer. With that said, you can only control what you say, not how they respond.

So if you're looking for reassurances of an assured outcome, we can't give you any of that. If there is anything we can tell you for sure is that they'll try to weasel out of giving you a raise and that they'll probably use every trick in the book to do so.

But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't ask. Nor does it mean that you shouldn't put some feelers out there either. The more employers are interested in hiring you, the more confidence you'll have in negotiating a better situation for yourself.

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    Editing your résumé is also good psychological exercise for the conversation because it forces you to reflect on your accomplishments and the value you add to your current position. It will be a lot easier to have the difficult conversation with the boss when those thoughts have had a chance to take a more solid form.
    – Theodore
    Sep 29 at 21:02
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In my view its highly likely you will be put down.

This is mainly because your manager has to justify the raise with the management. Which will keep him in un-comfortable position. So mostlikely he will avoid.

The best way is to show your work with high quality and then get into discussion with your manager like --"by the way I see that I am underpaid. Can we normalize the compensation as per industry standurds"

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It sounds like interesting work in a small startup where you have autonomy. I have been in this situation. You could explain that you enjoy the work and would like to grow with the company, but you are missing out on opportunities that pay alot more. You could tell them that in two months time you would like to double your wage/ hourly rate, or halve your hours, so you can work part time on a higher paid opportunity.

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You are supposed to be a good developer, not a good negotiator. Take full advantage of this fact. Go to your manager. Tell him straight away that you were awfully bad at negotiating a salary, that you are not getting a fair salary, and that you see no reason to stay when you are absolutely underpaid. And that if he wants you to stay, you expect a different, fair offer.

At the same time you spend as much time as you can looking for another job. If that reduces your work output, as long as you work according to your pay, that’s fine.

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  • +1: this is absolutely terrible advice for anyone with any sort of tenure, but it's great advice for a converted intern in a growing startup. You're expected to be naive, that's how you ended up being underpaid. You're now in a situation where you're leading a team of people paid markedly more than you are - that's a strong argument for a raise.
    – scrwtp
    Oct 1 at 17:56

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