I started out at my company as an intern and moved into an entry level position. As an intern I familiarized myself with their major products. I was asked to take on some tasks using my company's products that no one else knew how to do (The original developers left).

The tasks were originally assigned to a couple of senior level individuals, but none of them could complete the assignment. When the management got desperate (after 4 months) they asked if anyone could do it. I was verbally told I would be signed up for a training class I wanted to take if I was able to complete the assignment.

The day before I finished the assignment the people that verbally said I would be rewarded for my work were let go. Now the management wants me to do it again.

I know I'm currently be paid less than a third of what my peers who failed the assignment are making. I have already asked for a raise, but I haven't received a response in over three weeks. Is okay to demand a bonus/raise before finishing my work?

  • 2
    You're in a near-identical situation to this: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1268/… – lambshaanxy Nov 20 '14 at 3:07
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    Remember that unless you're willing to walk out the door -- or be kicked out -- you can't demand anything. You can certainly say that you're feeling like the company doesn't respect or appreciate the work you've been doing... but before doing so, you need to know what you're going to do if they say no. – keshlam Nov 20 '14 at 5:47
  • Rule #1: Get it in writing. Rule #2: Get it in writing. – Joel Etherton Nov 20 '14 at 16:06
  • My answer to this would depend on what country you're in. If you are in a place which has good employee rights (aka anywhere outside of the US) I would definitely give them an ultimatum "pay me more or I leave" since you know they won't be able to fire you after the project and since the place seems toxic (why are all these people being let go??) I would be looking to leave as soon as I landed a job elsewhere anyways. – pi31415 Nov 20 '14 at 21:10

If you are thinking of holding the work hostage until you get a raise, then it is possible they would give you the raise to get the work out but would immediately fire you afterwards. That is a totally unacceptable way to behave.

You agreed to your current salary. You were assigned to do the work. You have an obligation to deliver it.

Holding your manager hostage for a raise by ensuring the failure of a project is one of the worst possible actions you can take. You change from someone who has helped us overcome great obstacles and who has delived something of value to the business and who may deserve to be rewarded for that to someone who is unreliable and who will stop progress every time he is not happy about something. That is the kind of person most companies do not want to continue to employ. And the kind of person they tell their friends at other companies about so that no one wants him after he is fired.

At work there will be plenty of times when you are not completely happy with everything. You can't just decide not to do yourj ob because of that.

The last time I asked for a raise it took 4 months of negotiations not three weeks as they had to find the money in a tight budget and get approvals from many different people. And that was when everyone along the line was in agreement about actually giving the raise and there was no one who had to be convinced that I deserved it. The work world doesn't always move as quickly as we would like. Sometimes approvers are on vacation and somtimes they are busy with other things and take their time to get to the request. Sometimes a new company may not even have a process set up to know who has to approve. There are other things that affect a choice to give a raise and other roadblocks that need to be cleared. The money has to come from somewhere and sometimes when money is tight, it is hard to find.

I don't know if they will give you the raise you want. They may say yes and they may say no. You may have to be prepared to move on to another job that places more value on what you bring to the table. However at no time should you try to force a raise through failure to do your job.

As far as the verbal agreement, I guess you should consider this a lesson learned. Never rely on a verbal agreement for a monetary reward.

  • Well said. If you use an important project as a hostage to pressure your employer, you should expect (a) to be fired as soon as it is safe for them to do so, and (b) to get an extremely bad reference from them if anyone enquires. – Carson63000 Nov 24 '14 at 4:58

My advice would be to treat it as a complete new set of managers and thus a new set of negotiations. I don't think it would hurt to mention that the managers did promise you a "reward" but that can't be your only reason to justify a raise. It wasn't it writing, so I am afraid it doesn't mean much.

I wouldn't demand a raise before any work. I would continue to work and negotiate simultaneously. You need to realize if you are going to "demand" a raise, negotiations could still fail and you have to be prepared to leave.

A similar question was asked here, and I would recommend similar action.


In short,

1) Quantify your worth to managers - How much value(in money) does your work add to the company?

2) Have a back up plan - They could react any number of ways, including firing you, doing nothing, or giving you the raise. If you are going to demand a raise, you have to be prepared to walk away.

3) Get it in writing - The same thing could happen again. Be covered if it does.

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