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I have recently been offered a job extension from my company. My manager said it’s been a great moment to work for them due to growing business and because they have a lot of ongoing projects.

He gave me one day to accept or turn down the offer. That looks quite a short deadline to me, but I didn’t pay much attention because the manager looked optimistic and so was I. So I signed the offer, turning down other opportunities.

However, a couple weeks later, my colleagues and I started to see indicators that raise some concern about the actual financial situation of our company:

  1. some of the main activities have not secured funding yet. That news totally came out of the blue, from senior employees. It was never discussed before, until funding was not secured within the expected date.
  2. even worse, we came to know that new employees are being hired for lower salaries and reduced benefits.
  3. a series of other small things that taken alone would not bother me much, but which are coming together with all the above (e.g., the prices at the company’s canteen have suddenly increased).

Now, these indicators don’t seem to be really coherent with my manager claims of growing business, projects and opportunities. Management couldn’t NOT know already of these things. Looking back on it, even the fact that they wanted my answer straight after the extension offer, is making me think. If I was offered the same offer today, I would certainly want more information before accepting and turning down other places.

What I am worried in particular, is that a bad financial period could hurt my future chances of salary increase (and eventually promotion). They cannot cut my salary, by law of my country, but they can certainly offer lower or less frequent increases.

Given that my manager’s claims were a decisive factor in deciding to stay at this company, and given that some other opportunities could still be available, I would like to understand better what’s going on.

Considering that my manager may have already sweetened the pill once, do you have advice on how to approach him on the subject?

A note: they didn’t raise my salary with the extension offer because increases and promotions are determined at the end of the solar year. For the same reason, I will have to wait till December to see if and how much will I get.

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    What do you want to achieve by "confronting" him? I appreciate that may be an English issue, but that is a very confrontational word to use. Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 20:22
  • I have edited the original post. I just mean to talk and hopefully have clarifications. Nothing confrontational.
    – NearIR
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 22:35
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    You won’t get clarification from him. If your gut tells you that something is amiss, start looking for other opportunities and prepare to quit. Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 22:53
  • Could be a number of reasons, including a consultant making recommendations on where fat can be trimmed for even more profit. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 2:17
  • @Gregory Currie, the missing funding is from the taxpayer. I don’t think anyone can make any profit.
    – NearIR
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 9:00

2 Answers 2

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Considering that my manager may have already sweetened the pill once, do you have advice on how to approach him on the subject?

If you have a good relationship with your boss, just have a chat in a quiet time.

Express your concerns, and ask his opinion.

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If you feel like your job may be under threat, then find a new job. That's the easiest answer. As to whether or not your job is under threat, that's up to you to decide; you've pointed out a number of red flags, but there might be a lot of other things you haven't said that might mitigate those factors, so it's up to you to interpret your own situation.

Here's the thing about getting a raise: If you do not get a raise every year to match inflation, you are getting a pay cut. Here's a simple way to understand it:

Money has no value. It is completely valueless and useless, it's just numbers in a computer. The value money has is only in terms of how much you can convert that money into things which have value, use, or application, also known as "buying power". To understand buying power, let's say you want to buy a widget. Let's say the widget costs $10 today. Let's say you are making $100/day at your job, so you are making 10 widget-dollars per day (you can buy 10 widgets per day with the amount of money you get in salary).

Now, let's say the cost of a widget goes from $10 to $20 (this is a lot, but I'm choosing $20 only because it makes the math easy, this concept works with any value you use). Your salary is still $100. So you have received a pay cut in terms of widget-dollars, from 10 to 5, due to the inflation of the price of a widget. If you want to make the same number of widget-dollars, you would have to make $200 per day.

"But wait", you say. "I'm still making $100 per day, that's still a lot right?". To which I remind you of where I started: Money has no value, except in terms of the amount of goods or services that you can exchange them for. In our toy economic model of widgets, where the only thing of value you can buy is a widget, widget-dollars are much more important in terms of value than dollars; dollars have no value, only widgets have value.

What all this means is that, if your company is not going to cut your salary, but they are instead going to pay you below inflation for raises, then they are going to cut your salary. Don't work for a company that cuts your salary.

As for talking to other people in your company about their opinions, do so only with the greatest of hesitation. Anyone in the company can and will report you to HR or to your manager as a "flight risk", and that could get you fired. The worst thing is not wanting to quit, but being fired as a flight risk, then you're without a job and without any income at all. Don't do that. So, only talk to your manager or other coworkers about this if you believe you can trust them.

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  • I agree, I am observing, listening to other people talking, but never exposing myself. As to not having a salary increase at the end of the year (which is what worries me, rather then having a decrease), that will be the clear demonstration that they are cutting on me too.
    – NearIR
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 8:59

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