I'm 18 years old and have no degree (Taking a gap year), I work as a back end web developer at an e-commerce company. I earn £7.50/hr and have shown to the Owner of the Company and my manager how much I benefit the company, I have saved them £90/Week, and have made many systems which generate extra income, greater than the amount I earn.

My manager has recently delegated his work load onto me so he can do other tasks, so it shows that I have the competence to do his work, which exceeds my coworkers in skill, and they earn £13.75.

I recently asked my manager and the owner for a raise, this was negotiated over Christmas, I asked for £10/hour which I felt was reasonable, considering that the owner was very impressed with the System I made. When I asked my boss for the raise, we discussed the reasons why I should get it briefly, and he replied that since I don't have a degree, I shouldn't get as high pay, to which I replied that I am doing work equal to that of someone higher pay, so I should get paid more- he agreed and said he would think about it.

When he got back to me, he said that because I was late and absent 2 times in the last 5 months, as well as me creating a bug once (Which never went live), that I would have to show improvements and he will consider it again in 2 months, he then doubled my current workload.

I believe this is totally unreasonable, because I'm going to University in September I believe he is betting on the fact that I won't quit because I won't be able to find a higher paid job for such a short duration without a degree, to which he is right. If I left the company, my work would have to be done by my boss again, which would cost twice as much- they know I won't leave, so they are trying to extort me.

The reasons why I don't want to quit is because it's difficult to find jobs nearby that are equal to or higher pay, I live in a remote town- and I have no degree and I'm only 18.

All my co-workers agree that I need a pay rise, and I have only received compliments whilst working here, I know and my manager knows that I am an asset to the company, however because they know that I won't quit, they are getting the best deal they can.

I don't know how to assess this situation, I'm losing £750 even if I get the pay rise in 2 months since my time here is limited (~8 months left), I feel cheated and I don't know how to argue my case.

closed as off-topic by AndreiROM, gnat, Dawny33, David K, Adam V Jan 8 '16 at 22:15

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jan 9 '16 at 3:30

You have already argued your case, and they have used superficial excuses to deny your very reasonable requests.

Your choices are to either quit, and try to find a new job, or simply hang on until your school starts in September.

At least now you know you're dealing with people who do not appreciate or value you, and don't deserve your hard work and dedication.

I wish I could say that this will be the last time you'll run into a situation like that.

  • 6
    You aren't paid what you can argue, and you aren't paid what you're worth. You're paid what you can negotiate. If you aren't willing/able to walk away from the job, why would they pay you more? They same work gets done for less money. Somewhat related reading: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1025/… – MackM Jan 8 '16 at 19:53
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    Work absense and tardiness are not superficial excuses. Also, most employees are not truly in a position to say that they outperform their peers. – corsiKa Jan 8 '16 at 21:45
  • @corsika (re absense) sort of depends. If it's illness it's a non issue, even bringing it up is horrifying. If it's just not bothering to come in that's a different matter, but surely not the case! – Richard Tingle Jan 8 '16 at 23:51
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    @RichardTingle If the manager brought up absences and tardiness related to medical issues in a performance review, he's probably violating basic commercial law. I naturally assume managers are moderately competent and are not criminals. If that assumption is in the wrong, then the entire scope of the question changes and everyone's commentary is irrelevant. – corsiKa Jan 9 '16 at 2:43

Not fair but you are just in a bad negotiating position and they know it.

Double the work and will review in 2 months when they know you are going back to University in 9 months is just plain negotiating in bad faith. I would not bank on a raise in 2 months.

Show improvement? If being late / absent twice and 1 bug was problem then why did they assign more responsibility to you? If you were not a proven performer then why would they risk doubling the workload?

No it is not fair but they are not negotiating in good faith and it is not likely to change.

The other factor is a reference. Is it worth gutting it out for 9 months (and possibly still not getting a raise) for a reference.

It would be very hard to find a 9 month gig so you are kind of stuck. Based on how they are acting they may just fire you out of spite if they discover you are even interviewing.

Live by the sword and die by the sword. When you do get a degree and your market value changes then don't go back to this company. If you are an above average performer then you want be with a company that rewards performance. Take advantage of the market over value added is good short term play for the company but not a good long term play.

  • Thanks for the input. I don't believe they would fire me out of spite though, I'm the 3rd best programmer in the office (We are undermanned), my raise would still be lower than whoever they could get to replace me, and I work well with my team and manager, when I asked for a reference earlier in the year my manager was quick to try get me to stay, to which I explained it was for University. – Ryan Ramsden Jan 8 '16 at 18:37
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    Then interview and see if can find better pay. – paparazzo Jan 8 '16 at 18:39

I would like to cast a different light on the matter: Don't argue it, do your job excellently, and go back to school in September. Other people have very succinctly argued that there are good reasons they cannot invest more in you. By perturbing the management, you're going to be potentially doing yourself a disservice, and here's why:

Later when you complete your university work, have a degree, and need a relevant job, what's your résumé going to look like? Maybe a relevant bachelors under education, but people look for good recommendations, and relevant skill-sets and experience. Despite not making so much in this moment, if your career goal is in development, programming, etc. then you are increasing your value now, rather than later, to potential future employers or graduate programs. It may be within your interest to weigh the benefit of slightly higher pay now with bolstering your repertoire for your future.

  • Agreed, getting relevant work experience as an unqualified 18 year old is great. Plenty of people are going to graduate without that advantage. While it sucks to feel that you have inferior co-workers earning more money than you, realistically, this job needs to be treated as an investment in your future rather than as a cash cow for the present. – Carson63000 Jan 8 '16 at 22:35
  • bad answer being a passive doormat not will not serve you well both at uni and in later working life – Pepone Jan 9 '16 at 15:22
  • @Pepone OP is free to do what he likes at both Uni and in later working life, and will be made easier by good references and documented performance. Most 18yr olds do not have those going into college, and many don't have those coming out, either. My stance remains: OP should be looking at this as opportunity, not exploitation, especially considering the ultimatum that other options are currently out of the question. – CKM Jan 9 '16 at 15:38
  • I would actually hope that this is a good exercise in steeling the nerves, because things can be much harder than feeling underpaid. – CKM Jan 9 '16 at 15:42
  • @Carson63000 "you have inferior co-workers earning more money than you" I advice to not understimate your coworkers and even more to not supersimate yourself. Also they probably already lost faith in (working hard for) this company – jean Feb 2 '18 at 15:27

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