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I work in publishing, as a team coordinator. We are short staffed right now so in addition to my duties that are mostly admin-related, I've been helping the developmental editors with smaller projects. I've been in this role 2 years and so far it's been good, because moving into a full-time editor role is my goal. However, lately I've been doing more than just assisting, I've handled several projects completely on my own, as the point-person editor.

During my last review, which was overwhelmingly positive, I mentioned working out compensation that would more adequately reflect the fact that I am essentially doing two jobs, and my manager said that he could ask, but it's unlikely to go through because he thinks the higher-ups will say that since I want to move up, so I'm being "paid in experience, and that part of my job description is 'assisting the rest of the team' so these projects fall under that heading". He never asked them, and I've been too scared to bring it up again.

BUT- they've now restructured the positions at my company so that the job of a traditional editor no longer exists, so there is no position I could even move up into now.

With those two things in mind - should I ask more pointedly about a raise? I checked with HR and I'm not quite at the median salary for my position.

Thanks in advance for any input!

  • When I was in your position I found an offer from another company. Then told them. They offered me more, but didn't match the offer, so I left. – d'alar'cop Jun 5 '14 at 15:29
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    @Traci - If you feel your compensation isn't high enough that isn't something you should accept. Be prepared to be told something you don't want to hear, come up with a plan if that happens, and decide what you will and will not do if that turns out to be what happens. – Donald Jun 5 '14 at 15:59
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    Don't just use the offer from another company to get a counter from the current one. Take the other offer. Accepting a counter offer is generally a poor decision. You will be right back here again in another year or two. – Bill Leeper Jun 5 '14 at 16:22
  • Getting paid in experience won't help much when you go to the bank to get a mortgage. They tend to prefer money. Short term vs. long term is one thing, but you've been at this two years. – Spehro Pefhany Jun 5 '14 at 21:46
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    Any job you work will "pay you in experience". An equivalent job somewhere else would provide you with roughly the equivalent amount of experience. So if your employer thinks being 'paid in experience' is a substitute for being paid in money, it's time to either correct their understanding of the situation or take your services elsewhere. – aroth Jun 6 '14 at 1:38
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I'd start looking about to see what else might be out there. It sounds like your company is on a very tight budget; that isn't likely to change in the near future. The fact that you are "short staffed" is probably another symptom of the fact that your company is hurting for money.

It is possible that they will decide to pony up if you get a better offer, but it sounds like if you want the job of "traditional editor" you will have to go elsewhere.

I know that the publishing world is in flux right now. People are moving away from traditional paper reading material to electronic media. Amazon is trying to put the squeeze on publishers. Things are tough in the industry.

You have to ask yourself...if I accept that I'm not going to be getting a raise, is the experience worth it? Is the job still challenging you, or do you need more? If the latter, that just reinforces the need to start the job search process. At the very least, it will give you a better idea of your options.

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To me, "you're getting paid in experience" means "I don't care how hard you've worked; we're not going to give you any raise". That's pretty clear. They've killed any incentive to work hard and do a good job.

Given that you're looking to develop your career, and from what you've said you can't move into the role you're expecting, you should probably look for a job that fulfills your expectations. Lack of career prospects and appropriate compensation is a pretty bleak landscape in my opinion.

But while you remain at your current job, since they've given you a clear signal that hard work is not rewarded, then don't work hard. Do what you're paid to do, but don't go out of your way (e.g. extra hours).

This whole review process works both ways. They've given you a signal. Give them one of your own.

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