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I work for a small professional firm, with three partners, one of which holds more weight than the others; however, the "senior partner" is recuperating from significant health issues; therefore, I have only seen him in passing at random times. As a result, I brought my raise request to the next person in the chain of command a month ago (he does have the authority to adjust salary).

After I explained why I deserve the pay increase, I asked my boss to consider my request and we can revisit the topic the following week. The next week my boss and I did not cross paths, the week after, he told me that he had not reviewed my request; but would do so and get back to me this week. Yesterday, when asked, my boss told me "there is nothing to tell" because the senior partner, who has not been in the office, "wasn't in the mood" to hear anything.

This seems very disrespectful to wait until the last minute, after having a month to review my request. This is my first experience negotiating a pay increase, and I thought the worst was behind me after giving my pitch, I was so wrong.

Is it safe to assume that I’m not valued?

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    Your boss is not handling this well. But tread lightly as if you demand an answer the answer is more likely to be no. I agree with the answer from RualStorage that you should have another job lined up before you demand an answer. – paparazzo Mar 4 '15 at 19:02
  • @Blam Always have a plan B :) I've learned from watching and surviving many a layoff you never see it coming so you always want something to fall back on just in case. – RualStorge Mar 6 '15 at 17:11
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Your value

I will say there is an issue here where you're potentially not being taken as seriously as you should, but it may not be an issue of not being valued. In partnerships often most matters must be agreed upon unless it's an emergency.

In this case the senior partner who's approval is important is having health issues that are really limiting his effectiveness at work, unfortunately your raise request is not the most important thing on his plate right now.

Company Health

With that said this does bring up a concern of company health. Based on what I'm hearing the senior partner is effectively your company's leader / CEO, the other two act more so as Senior Executives below him. They need to be effective in their work even when the senior is incapacitated, however; they're struggling with something that should be as trivial as approve or deny.

This to me says when the time comes the senior partner steps down the company is likely not in good hands to keep running effectively. I'm assuming in this case the senior partner's health issues are very serious. With this in mind it's probably a good idea to at least have feelers out there for new opportunities if not actually pursuing.

Call the bluff

It's also possible that they intend to not honor the raise and are just trying to drag things out to retain you as long as possible. A pretty shady thing to do, but also pretty common... The best way to deal with that is get an offer on the table, then you can call their bluff.

If you have a job opportunity ready to go you can approach them with the intentions of putting in your two week notice and see if they'll make a counter offer. Otherwise it's time to move on (even if they do counter moving on might not be a bad idea, I've found employees retained through counter offers tend to be the first let go if things get ugly)

Summary

Sounds to me like regardless of why things are where they are you should start looking, just in case.

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    Your response is very clear and accurate. I wasn't able to see through the emotional haze. Thank you for taking the time to respond, I sincerely appreciate it. – winorlose Mar 4 '15 at 19:38
  • I have found that small companies, especially small partnerships (law, medical, accounting, etc.) are terrible at management and leadership. Often they care little about the underlings and those matters are beneath them. If you enjoy the work and the people and benefits then you are doing good. If you don't, then look at leaving. Most people don't leave jobs, they leave their boss. – MikeP Aug 24 '16 at 15:50
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Don't do anything silly like up and quit without a new job in hand. But if you are dissatisfied with your salary, and you are not getting a positive response to your efforts to negotiate a raise, then you absolutely owe it to yourself to test the market and see what opportunities might be available elsewhere.

You may be making incorrect assumptions in feeling that you are not valued. For instance it may be that the company is in some financial strife and not able to hand out raises at the moment.

Ultimately, though, the reasons don't matter. This is business, and if you find another opportunity which fits your career goals, appears to be an enjoyable environment, and offers a better salary, then it would be foolish not to pursue it.

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You need to bail and find a new position pronto before they fire you.

Since you are now "disgruntled", you are living on borrowed time. If you wait until they fire you, then when you are interviewing they will call up your ex employer who will give you a bad review. If you interview while you are still employed, they cannot call up your current employer.

  • Well, thats discouraging. I don't know if it matters, but since the "senior partner" is ill, i've been given additional assignments that are way above my pay grade, but have shown that I can successfully do those things too. I thought that would make me more valuable to the firm. – winorlose Mar 5 '15 at 0:36
  • @winorlose Maybe it does, but if you are not a partner you fall into the category of "completely expendable". If they ignored your pay increase request, that is very bad. Remember the key fact: as long as you are employed, when you do an interview they will not call up your current employer, but if you are not currently employed, then they WILL call up your previous employer. – Socrates Mar 5 '15 at 1:18
  • Why do you conclude that winorlose is perceived as disgruntled at work? I think it's safe to assume that the boss hasn't been told "it's disrespectful to wait so long to give me an answer", since saying that would probably elicit an immediate "ok, the answer is no" and there'd be no need to post this question. – Esoteric Screen Name Mar 6 '15 at 4:17
  • Thank you all for your input. I do not feel as though I'm "disgruntled," however, my feelings are hurt, and I'm disappointed. I like my job, and hoped it would have gone differently. – winorlose Mar 9 '15 at 21:05
  • I know you are not disgruntled, that's why I put it in quotation marks. "Disgruntled" is what your EMPLOYER now thinks you are. – Socrates Mar 9 '15 at 21:08

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