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I have been working at a software development company with ~10 colleagues for approximately 1 year now, and in the last couple of months I have decided that, for reasons relevant to my (lack of) personal growth within the company, along with the deficient development procedures that we work with, I would be better pursuing other desirable opportunities that have been "knocking my door" lately (as in, work somewhere else, doing something relatively different, learning new things).

Some important information:

  • I have enjoyed my job this far, although it has been a bit stale in the last few months (one of the primary reasons that contributed to my leaving, as I am seeking improvement and motivation).
  • I am new to the profession, have graduated less than 5 years ago, and only have a couple of years of software development experience (as in, I am a junior developer).
  • Everybody in my company has been very friendly, helpful and supporting, one of the main counter-reasons for my leaving.
  • I have been getting along with my boss fairly well, we have had relatively good understanding and he has never done me wrong so far, except for certain mismanagement issues that are mostly "human" (and which having actual processes in place obviously compensates for, a thing we are in desperate lack of in the company).
  • The company is relatively new, but does not have any financial issues that I know of. Even though I have never gotten any pay rise so far, some of my colleagues that have been in the company for more years than me did get increases in the past year that I have been working with them.
  • I have valued my work as much as possible, to the best of my capabilities, and have worked overtime to establish my great interest for the company activities, as well as to do my best for them.
  • My team leader has actually been very understanding and supportive in my considerations and throughout my struggle in deciding to leave, and seems to acknowledge my good performance with absolutely no reservations, having even offered to provide me with a reference letter, and even encouraged me to actually write this question (thereby introducing me to the workplace SE).

In the last couple of months, pay rises have been promised to all of us working at the company, depending on the outcome of some favourable business developments that were pretty much certain, but we were just waiting to culminate. Long story short, after I brought forward the subject of my forthcoming departure, and working through it after a couple of discussions with my boss, my pay rise has been revoked, with a justification that is, more or less, along the lines that its "motivational" effect is no longer relevant and that money would be better spent for the pay rises of my other colleagues (it was even implied that I was really trying to get more money for one month before I leave, which really hadn't even remotely struck my mind as an idea).

The uncomfortable position this leaves me in is that I will actually be taking less money than what the job I am moving over to offers me (with the pay rise, I would have been getting slightly more), and that I promised to stay 1 month longer, to make sure I don't leave any open holes in my work. I feel I have been forced to stay longer, which no written contract is actually forcing me to, but I am definitely trying to preserve a bridge here, so I am putting my best efforts to be as professional as possible.

I certainly don't hold any grudge, I don't really despair, and I am really content with my choice to leave. I just wish to know whether I am justified in having this slightly bitter and tangy "aftertaste". It really came out of the blue for me, as I was feeling that I really deserved this pay rise, in retrospect even if only symbolically, for all I have given to the company so far (together with all my colleagues that actually did get it), even more so as it has been announced and constantly reminded to us for at least 3 months now.

My direct question is, should I have been expecting this? I am asking as I am pretty inexperienced with workplace ethics and I am probably still learning to control my emotions. I apologise for the long question, but I wanted to provide as much information as possible, in order to get some much needed experience and advice on the matter.

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    " Even though I have never gotten any pay rise so far, some of my colleagues that have been in the company for more years than me did get increases in the past year that I have been working with them." - side comment/ reality check: having a raise within a year or less is rare, so I wouldn't expect getting one being aprox 1 year on the company
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 23:39
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    Another reality check: raises were "promised" (mentioned) on day X. On day X + 1.5 months you notify that you are leaving (within another 1.5 months). Raises are still not in place, so realistically, if/when raises are in place, you will be leaving in a month or less... you will not "have time to enjoy such raise"... or well, only for a month or fraction... it's evident that the raise was offered to everyone as a motivator to stay and as reward for work done, but you are leaving so (not what I'd say) "why give you a raise if you are leaving in a month or less"... some thoughts on employer side
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 23:49
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    Pay raises are often use as a “carrot on a stick” to keep employees from leaving. Since you are leaving that carrot is no longer required. Honestly if you knew the pay raise was coming you probably should have waited until after the effective date before you gave notice
    – Donald
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 1:29
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    Questions asking to validate your emotions are inherently subjective and should be closed.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 1:35
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    Yes. You should edit your question and focus on either facts - “is this common practice?” Or advice - “what are my options in this situation?” But one of the close reasons is “opinion-based”; feelings are feelings, this isn’t the same lace for validation for them.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 1:40

5 Answers 5

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Long story short, after I brought forward the subject of my forthcoming departure, and working through it after a couple of discussions with my boss, my pay rise has been revoked, with a justification that is, more or less, along the lines that its "motivational" effect is no longer relevant and that money would be better spent for the pay rises of my other colleagues

Of course. Pay raises aren't for short timers. And in general, raises aren't for what you have done in the past, but for what you can do in the future.

My direct question is, should I have been expecting this?

Yes, you should have been expecting this.

You have only been there about a year, and have announced your departure. Your boss did exactly what I would have done, and what every manager I know would have done - save the raises for people who are going to be around.

Next time don't announce your departure until it is necessary.

I just wish to know whether I am justified in having this slightly bitter and tangy "aftertaste".

Your feelings are personal, and you are justified in feeling however you choose to feel.

If it makes you feel any better, you wouldn't have been around long enough to take advantage of any raise, anyway.

Time to move on to your new job, put this one behind you, and concentrate your energies and emotions on your new role.

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    Great answer and it should be the top answer. The likely amount we are talking about here is probably less than .5% of annual salary. If such a small amount why make a fuss?
    – Pete B.
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 19:37
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Realistically at this point, you have two choices:

  1. Suck it up and leave for your new job without burning bridges.
  2. Kick up a fuss. Leave your job with bad feelings on both sides.

Yeah, you've been screwed here and in many ways you'd be justified in choosing path 2. Personally, I'd try and swallow my pride and walk out the door without causing a fuss - but I'd remember this and know not to work with the people who did this to you again.

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It could possibly be an accounting issue; e.g. the department gets x amount in salary increases to allocate as they see fit to their own employees at the managers' discretion. This is what my company does and if someone leaves, it is not a matter of "ok now we can take the money we allocated to ForeverNoob and spread it around to the rest of the team"; that money is gone. The implication that you were trying to milk the pay raise for a bit before you left may be unsavory, but I think most managers would feel a duty to give their team a bit of extra compensation rather than throw 10.5 months of it down the drain to sweeten the deal for someone already on their way out.

Edit: also remember if it's not in writing, it doesn't exist.

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Justified? Yes. You were promised a pay raise. Now you aren't getting one, you are justified in being unhappy about that situation.

Is the company justified in not giving you a pay raise because you are leaving in a month? Yes.

Look at it from their side, Why do companies give pay raises?

Answer: Employee Retention.

If a company could get away with paying you $0, they would (see all of the no pay internships in futureless degrees). The only reason why companies give pay raises is to keep their skilled employees from jumping ship to better pay. If you are going away, then giving you more money so that you feel inclined to stay with the company doesn't make sense from a business perspective. Because it won't make you stay with the company. And now your former employer will spend somewhere between .5X to 2X, sometimes as much as 3X your salary to replace you (position advertising costs, lost revenue for a while finding a replacement, time wasted sifting thru resumes, time wasted interviewing bad candidates, time spent on interviewing candidates, time spent waiting for new hire to get up to speed, time spent recovering lost institutional knowledge), this is not counting the money that they will then give as a salary to the new hire.

TLDR: OP is justified in being mad... But OPs employers are justified in their decision as well. Not much to do but suck it up and remember that you only need to give your contract mandated notice period in the future.

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I am not surprised that your pay rise would be revoked, if you are leaving shortly. What benefit does the Company receive in giving you a pay rise now? I wouldn't even be bitter, is just a the harsh reality.

And I would never leave a workplace with harsh words. But, equally, I wouldnt forget anything that has happened.

My advice would to be harden up, there is more coming your way.

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