Our typical annual review process is coming up in which we get to meet with our supervisors and discuss our performance.

I am at a point in my current job where I have received nothing but positive feedback for several years however I feel like my career may be suffering since I am the opposite of your "squeaky wheel".

Getting to my question, I would like to discuss salary increases and career paths with my manager however I am unsure of when the most ideal time to do this would be.

I have consistently gotten yearly increases and bonuses during the review (as has most of the company to my knowledge), I am concerned that if i try to address my concerns around the same time any increases would get "bundled" and thus I would end up losing out of the full potential. A good portion of my salary (>25%) is from bonus which I have yet to been informed of. I don't want my negotiations to just come out of my potential bonus.

I don't however want to annoy my supervisors with coming to them with this discussions right after this yearly process has taken place.

One of the primers for this was that i was recently moved to a different role within the company (they explained that this was meant to be a positive reflection of my skills). However this new role is not as beneficial for my career outside of the company as it is what i would consider non-transferable skills that i am now learning, where previously i was learning things that would be widely used by many companies. I am concerned about investing my time in this position without the possibility of growth within the company.

Two things I hope to have addressed with my discussion:

  1. Define a career path that may have possibility for promotions / growth
  2. Increased salary related to performance / flexibility / value to the company

Any suggestions on how to handle this?

  • Why not just tell your supervisor that you'd like to have a discussion about salary and career path, but you're unsure about when would be the best time in the review cycle, so could they suggest something?
    – Kathy
    Dec 22, 2015 at 16:44
  • I'm worried they may use that to their advantage and not mine...
    – BlueBird
    Dec 22, 2015 at 16:45
  • @BlueBird Is it comfortable for you to disclose that new position?
    – user12374
    Dec 22, 2015 at 17:22
  • I will point out that you should under no circumstances consider that any portion of your salary is in bonuses. Bonuses are extras that can be done away with,. It is foolish to consider them in determining your salary especially when you take a new job.and to have more than 25% of your total income in bonus is a potential disaster if you don't get one. Never count on a bonus for income.
    – HLGEM
    Dec 23, 2015 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


You bring up 3 concerns:

When to discuss pay

By the time the company tells you the amount of your bonus, it's too late to try to negotiate additional compensation. The company has (probably) already determined how much people are going to be paid, and management has just finished the (not easy) task of determining who should be paid how much.

Look at it from the management point of view - doing reviews and determining pay changes and bonuses is difficult and time consuming. If you can add input to that process before it is complete, your manager might be able to use that information to justify more pay.

As for the trust issue, that's something you'll have to work out for yourself.

Non transferable skills

People with non transferable skills tend to have more job security because the company cannot hire replacements as easily. Often these jobs are "mission critical" - they are usually tied directly to the company's core business. That gives you the potential later on to make the case that you're valuable and should be paid more.

As you've noted, there is the down side - it may be harder for you to find an outside job. "How hard" depends on how long you've had the non transferable skill set, and what else you've been doing. In your case it's probably not that big a deal.


This one's enormous. If you can't trust management to treat you fairly, you're going to be unhappy no matter what outcome occurs.

All I can suggest is to attempt to know and understand both your supervisors and upper management as best as you can. If they're trustworthy then listen to them and don't worry too much. If they're not trustworthy, you'll need to both find a new company with better management and find a way to bring yourself to trust them.


No matter when you have this discussion it will be before the next bonus. This is an appropriate discussion for your annual review. I suggest you not try and manipulate timing.

If bonus is also tied to profit and this is a high profit year then maybe delay to a lower profit year. If you are really concerned about the possibility of growth then you need to have that discussion now. Decide to push on salary or not based on that discussion.

For the company they review your performance for the bonus so it is natural to have performance discussions in the same time frame. Go with the flow.

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