I'm going to use fake names to make this easier to follow. John = CEO of the startup company I work for. Brad = former CTO and the person who interviewed me. Lucy = current CTO.
I've been working for a startup company for a couple of months, after shifting away from a stable job that I had been at for 7 years. The startup environment has been exhilarating, and I really resonated well with Brad, who hired me. At the interview, he said this:
"We can be competitive, we can offer you something in the $X to $Y range."
When he came back with the formal offer, it was for $X. At the time, he said "we'll start you at $X, and if you prove yourself to productive, then we can bump that up to $Y."
I was very productive. Brad absolutely loved the quality of the work I was doing. I exceeded his expectations. John, the CEO, seemed to like me too, or at least appreciated the feedback he was hearing from my colleagues. So, a month and a half later, I approached Brad again, and reminded him of what he promised in terms of salary. Brad agreed, and said he would bump me up to $Y, but asked that I wait until he and John finished up their Series A round of fundraising. I said that'd be fine, as it was supposed to finish up in no more than two months at most. I never got anything in writing (dumb of me, I know), but I took this as a verbal commitment (like I had taken the original promise in the interview).
Fast forward a bit. Brad replaced himself with Lucy, because Brad became the CEO of his own company. He still is an investor in our startup, but his day-to-day decision making role has ended. Lucy and I haven't hit things off nearly as well. She seems to have very little confidence in my abilities, in fact, for reasons I won't get into. She has even been vocal to John about her doubts about me, which is annoying since that makes her an outlier. I cannot think of a single other person in the company who shares her concerns in the least. Nevertheless, suffice it to say, I have been continually trying to show her my value.
I approached John about the raise. He had been out of the loop since he wasn't the one who interviewed me, and my telling him about the promise Brad made of $Y was the first time he'd heard of it. He said that he'd speak with Brad directly and get back to me. Two weeks later, I emailed John asking if we could meet for a quick follow-up, at which point I saw in the corner of my eye he quickly flagged down Lucy for an impromptu, closed-door meeting.
Two things were apparent: John forgot to talk to Brad, and Lucy didn't think I deserved any kind of raise. John said that compensation is really up to Lucy now, and that he'd schedule a meeting for the three of us, to be held two weeks from now. I asked if he could please talk to Brad this time, to which he agreed. But I'm a little frustrated.
The difference between $X and $Y is $5,000, which is fairly significant for me. But on the other hand, $X is already a comfortable salary and I enjoy the work. So even if I stay at $X, I know I can still be grateful. However, the setup of it all just doesn't sit right with me, and it would be extremely disappointed if Brad's promise is ignored and swept under the rug. I also have not enjoyed Lucy's obvious lack of confidence in me, and am continually trying to find constructive ways to work through it and demonstrate value.
What's the best thing to do in this situation? I've got two weeks to prepare for my meeting with John and Lucy; any advice for what I should talk about then?